Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Inspirational Books

I was asked to give a lecture at my old Alma Mater to some undergraduates to encourage them to consider doing an industrial placement year (rather than race through their degrees as quickly as possible - but that temptation is understandable in the current climate of student debt), to also pick up PRINCE 2 Project Management skills and learn (or rather practise) an Agile/SCRUM approach to product development. At the end of this by way of a light relief I offered them a reading list of work related books that changed the way I think. So here goes (see below - related specifically to the talk's content):

  • Covey's - "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"
  • Sutherland's - "SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time"
  • PRINCE2 Manual

This book (and the YouTube video of the lecture) is inspirational (see below, my personal battered copy):

You simply have to listen to someone has been an Astronaut and wants to teach you some lessons on perspective as in what is important and if it is important "how to sweat it like an astronaut" (see below):

This is a classic - not a light read but at the same time not that heavy given the importance of understanding "Black Swans" (see below, a key take away is that sometimes scrutinising every piece of information to the [n]th degree becomes counter productive, there is the powerful notion of "good enough"):

I cannot get away from Axelrod and "Tit-for-Tat" - it is such a powerful concept and proof that when you mix a Political Scientist with a Computer Scientist you get something novel and interesting (see below, his classic book and its lesser known follow on):

Lastly a general readers introduction to the Game Theory classic of the Prisoner's Dilemma (see below, and along the way Poundstone opens up some interesting nooks and crannies): 

There are more but these would keep me busy for a while on my desert island until a rescue ship came by!


Duc de Gobin said...

These are excellent choices.
In today's climate, I would tend to add Griffin and Tyrrell's 'The Human Givens' - especially so for the next generation.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks for the recommendation I will definitely look this one up!

Martin Rapier said...

A couple of my goto books are "The Lean Enterprise" and "The Phoenix Project" which cover, respectively, a coherent framework for agile working in an enterprise context, and DevOps.

I do a lot of recruitment and I would strongly recommend that students do some sort of work, and ideally an industrial placement. It is a real differentiator.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers Martin
I totally agree that a placement experience is generally worth its weight in gold