Michiel Overeem

Best tech books in 2012

The year 2012 is almost done, and while enjoying my holiday I thought it would be nice to take a look back and see what books I have read and which of them I still would recommend. On looking at the list of books that I have read in 2012 (yes, I do keep a list) I saw that it weren’t that much tech books. I read more then 45 books in 2012, but only seven of them I can call tech or tech-related books.

On the tech side, the book reading was a bit quiet this year. It was my first full year at AFAS Software as a Software Architect, but that did not really drive my into more book reading. I also became a dad for the second time, so reading time is heavily cut down :)

So on to the books that I did manage to read, and after that, maybe a little bit of a wish list.

Thomas Myer - Beginning PhoneGap

A book that I reviewed for the O’Reilly blogger program. I was mildly positive about the book. Pure tech books are becoming less relevant, because stuff is moving hard. Jeff Atwood said it better:

Do highly technical books tied to a specific technology have any reason to exist in an era of ubiquitous, high speed Internet access? I wonder. I think they’re increasingly irrelevant, and almost by definition out of date by the time they manage to hit bookshelves.

But I did like to book as an entry into PhoneGap. And PhoneGap still looks very cool. I should make it a goal for 2013, to finally get something into the App Store…. I should, really…

Clay Johnson - The information diet

This book was a gift from the O’Reilly blogger program and not really technical. But it did touch on something that I recognized in my life. There is so much information coming from Twitter, Blogs and other sources that it is becoming more important to actively decide on what to read and what to ignore. Important stuff!

Jordan Mechner - The making of Prince of Persia

This book read more like a biography then a tech book, but the topic of course being very much tech. I remember playing Prince Of Persia when I was a kid, so it was really fun to read about the creative process behind it. And being a programmer in current modern times, it is really useful to read about problems like memory management and CPU limitations.

Nicholas Zakas - Maintainable Javascript

My first six months at AFAS mostly consisted of working on JavaScript and the architecture of a JavaScript application. Nicholas Zakas was a big source of inspiration, so this book was a must have. It is a nice overview and summary of knowledge.

Marty Cagan - Inspired

This book was a little disappointing because it did not talk about inspiration, but more about the job of a Product Manager. It was nice read, but it was not what I was looking for…

Donald Norman - Living with complexity

Donald Norman is well known for his books on design. And this book is no exception. This one really goes into the problems around complexity and complicated software. There is in fact a difference between complex and complicated software. Something that I was not aware of.

Sander Hoogendoorn - Dit is agile

Last but not least is a dutch book about agile software development. At my previous job I was a scrum master and implemented agile with a colleague of mine. Agile stuff is still very interesting, but often it is used more like a religion then a useful way of developing software. Sander Hoogendoorn is very pragmatic in his thinking about agile, and therefore this book is highly recommended! A German translation is already finished, and an English version is planned. Visit the website for more information!

So far for the books that I have read. What is next? What will follow next year? … I hope to continue diving into the world of JavaScript, HTML5 and front-end architecture and design. Maybe some UX. And for books? The list keeps growing, but on it are

Which books should I add? Let me know on twitter!

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