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What are your soft skill/non technical book recommendations?

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Software Engineer at Governmenta month ago

Maybe try to limit to one recommendation to fuel the discussion

I'll kick it off.

The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba

Audiobook: Yes (Audible)

Like a video game character, each of us have innate advantages and disadvantages and this book is about how those can be leveraged to stick out from the competition or how your mindset can be shifted to flip what you think is just a disadvantage into a secret advantage!



  • 15
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    Senior Software Engineer at Intuit (Ex-Netflix)
    a month ago

    Love this!

    "The One Thing" by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

    Audiobook: Yes (Audible)
    Synopsis: I always hated multitasking, so I wanted to see how can I use focused effort.

    “The One Thing" provides a simple yet powerful approach to achieving success by identifying and focusing on the most important task that can make a significant impact in your life or work.

  • 14
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    Supportive Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    I would go with 'PsychoCybernetics' -> its a very powerful guide on shifting identity. Really helped me perform my best at work when i started thinking from a resilient Senior engineer's perspective.

  • 21
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    Deep Work by Cal Newport

    Audiobook: Yes
    Synopsis: The ability to focus on a task for a meaningful amount of time is increasingly rare, and therefore, increasingly valuable. The book argues that the recipe for success is surprisingly easy: can you create a system around you to do deep work on a regular basis?

  • 19
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Audiobook: Yes, I found it for free on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dto27y_Xf50

    Synopsis: This book will teach you:

    • Six ways to make people like you
    • Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
    • Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

    In other words, it teaches you how to play nice with others and build trust, which is something engineers in particular underrate all the time.

  • 7
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    Eng @ Taro
    a month ago

    The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

    Audiobook: Yes (Audible)


    The author does a deep dive into how certain geographic locations produce successful athletes (Brazil with soccer or the Caribbean with baseball) or musicians. It goes into how you should be practicing on the edge of your abilities to get better at a skill (deliberate practice).

  • 11
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    a month ago

    "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon

    Audiobook: Yes (I would recommend Physical or digital version more. It's a very short read)

    Synopsis: Embracing the idea that nothing is completely original, "Steal Like an Artist" encourages us to gather inspiration from the world around us. It's about discovering your own creative path by understanding and reworking the influences that shape you. This book is a manifesto for creativity in the modern world, showing that it's more about remixing and rethinking existing ideas than trying to create something entirely new from nothing.

  • 9
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    Senior Software Engineer at Financial Company
    a month ago

    How Google Works by Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg

    Audiobook: Yes (Audible)

    What I like about the book: Not only it is an extremely-insightful deep-dive peek into the "cult" of Google, it is also incredibly entertaining to read!

    Some of my favorite examples:

    1. ... The brainteasers also became a lightning rod for criticism as an elitist tool. To those critics, let us say once and for all: You are right. We want to hire the best minds available, because we believe there is a big difference between people who are great and those who are good, and we will do everything we can to separate the two.

      And if you, our critics, still persist in believing that elitism in hiring is wrong, well, we have just one question for you: If you have twelve coins, one of which is counterfeit and a different weight than the others, and a balance, how do you identify the counterfeit coin in just three weighings?

    2. fun, not Fun

      Every week, at Google’s TGIF all-hands meeting, all the new hires are seated in one section and provided with multicolored propeller hats to identify them. Sergey warmly welcomes them, everyone applauds, then he says “Now get back to work.” It’s not the greatest joke, but delivered in Sergey’s deadpan tone and slightly Russian accent it always gets a hearty laugh. Among his other great talents, one of Sergey’s strengths as a leader of smart creatives is his sense of humor. When he hosts TGIF, his constant ad-libbed one-liners generate a lot of laughs—not laugh-at-the-founder’s-jokes-or-else laughs, but real laughs.

      A great start-up, a great project—a great job, for that matter—should be fun, and if you’re working your butt off without deriving any enjoyment, something’s probably wrong. Part of the fun comes from inhaling the fumes of future success. But a lot of it comes from laughing and joking and enjoying the company of your coworkers.

    3. Jonathan once made a bet with head of marketing Cindy McCaffrey on whose team would have higher participation in the company’s annual employee feedback survey, Googlegeist. The loser had to wash the winner’s car.

      When Jonathan lost, Cindy rented a stretch Hummer, caked it in as much mud as possible (to this day we don’t know how), and then gathered her team so they could watch Jonathan wash the behemoth SUV and pelt him with water balloons while he was at it.