Book Reviews

These are book reviews. Books are on a variety of topics: technical, business, personal growth, and some are just plain fun.
The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a must-read book for anyone who works in technology. If you have ever worked in a larger company you will immediately identify with the situation described at the beginning of the book. You have an overworked IT department that seems disorganized and is always behind on
3 min read
Technical Debt In Practice

Technical Debt In Practice

I met Julien Delange a few months ago. He runs a company called codiga.io It is a support tool to help developers write better code. It is a web based tool that acts kind of like VI analyzer and will analyze your code and flag problems and make suggestions.
3 min read
Bug Bounty BootCamp Book Review

Bug Bounty BootCamp Book Review

Being a programmer, cybersecurity is an important topic. I’ve been interested in it for a while. I listen to Security Now and Darknet Diaries and have been to various hackathons. I even signed up for HackerOne. I felt like I’ve just been dabbling in it though. This book
3 min read
Simplicity of Design

Simplicity of Design

I recently read XP Explained. It had a section on page 109 where it talked about simplicity. I often talk about the importance of simplicity. In fact, it’s on my list of fundamental assumptions about coding. In XP Explained, Kent Beck lists 4 criteria to evaluate how simple a
6 min read
Sandworm

Sandworm

Given all the stuff going on in Ukraine right now, this is a highly relevant book. The author tracks down a group of Russian Hackers called Sandworm (a reference to Dune). They are part of the GRU. They were responsible for a variety of attacks, mostly centered around Ukraine and
1 min read
XP Explained

XP Explained

This book is considered a classic for a reason. It’s inspired a lot of coders over the years. I think the first time I had heard about it was from Stephen Loftus Mercer talking about pair programming. I’ve heard a lot about XP over the years since then
2 min read
The Object Oriented Thought Process

The Object Oriented Thought Process

This book was recommended to me by 2 different people. Several years ago Nancy recommended this book to me when I was first learning OOP. I generally trust Nancy’s recommendations (she has made some very good recommendations in the past such as XUnit Test Patterns and Continuous Delivery) and
7 min read
Re-Humanizing The Workplace

Re-Humanizing The Workplace

I’ve known Chuck Blakeman for many years. He runs a group for business owners that I participate in called 3to5 Club. There is an educational component, but it’s really just a business owner’s support group. It’s a place to get together and talk about all the
2 min read
Fierce Conversations

Fierce Conversations

I have a friend named John. Often when you talk to people there is a lot of small talk. How’s the weather? How’s the local sports team doing? etc. If we are honest half the time we ask these questions without even listening or caring about the answer.
1 min read
Practical SQL

Practical SQL

I recently worked on a project where I did a bunch of database work. It had been a while since I had done any database work. I was feeling a little rusty. A while ago I had picked up a copy of Practical SQL. It was staring at me from
2 min read

The New Jim Crow

So what does a book about racism and criminal justice have to do with LabVIEW? Well on the surface, not a whole lot. Until you realize that all code is written by and for humans. Anything that helps us better understand ourselves and the human condition will make us a
1 min read
Working Effectively With Legacy Code

Working Effectively With Legacy Code

Several people have recommended this book to me over the years. I only recently got around to reading it. Software developers continue to recommend this 15-year-old book for good reason. It is quite useful because we all encounter legacy code and all of its techniques are still highly relevant. Thesis
2 min read
Legacy Code First Aid Kit

Legacy Code First Aid Kit

In general I hate digital only books. I much prefer physical books, but this one, like Dive into Design Patterns is worth making an exception for. Nicolas did a great job with this book. It covers 14 different tools to help get you started working with legacy code. If you
2 min read
Peopleware

Peopleware

This book was recommended to me many years ago by a friend, but for some reason it took me a while to get around to reading it. I read it immediately after reading “Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea” and a lot of the ideas seemed the same. Tom
1 min read
Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea

Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea

Dilbert has been poking fun at corporate America for quite some time now. It wouldn’t be so funny if it did not contain some truth. Corporate America is broken and we all know it. “Why Employees are always a bad idea” explains why Dilbert resonates so much and what
2 min read
Fab and Richard's Book

Fab and Richard's Book

As many of you know, last year Fab co-authored a book on LabVIEW with Richard Jennings. I was fortunate enough that she asked me to review a few chapters for her. As a way of saying thanks for that, she sent me a free copy. I’ve had it for
3 min read
Introduction to LabVIEW FPGA

Introduction to LabVIEW FPGA

I will start this review off by saying I am not much of an FPGA programmer. I took the NI class over a decade ago and I have an sbRIO dev kit sitting at home that I have played around with, but that is about it. On some previous cRIO
2 min read
Foundations of Information Security

Foundations of Information Security

I’ve always had an interest in cybersecurity. By listening to Security Now and the Darknet Diaries podcasts, I’ve learned a lot. But I’ve never had any real formal security education. This book is a great introduction and overview of information security. Foundations of Information Security reads like
1 min read
How Clients Buy

How Clients Buy

I am a programmer not a sales and marketing guy. I struggle with it, yet it is vital to running your own business. I spend a lot of time studying both sales and marketing. So much of what is out there is geared towards retail and not professional services. It
1 min read
Selling the Wheel

Selling the Wheel

If you’ve done any sales training you know that a lot of it sounds the same: ABC – always be closing. Pick up the phone and make cold calls. Aggressively qualify leads. They all spout a lot of the same things, as if sales was this one monolithic thing. As
2 min read
Permanent Record

Permanent Record

If you haven’t heard of Edward Snowden, you probably haven’t been paying much attention. He definitely made the news a few years ago by exposing the extent to which the NSA was spying on American Citizens. His revelations really made American’s re-think online security and privacy. He
2 min read
Start with Why

Start with Why

Simon Sinek rocked the business world several years age with a Tedx talk called Start with Why. He introduced the idea called the Golden Circle which talks about What we do, How we do it, and Why we do it. His thesis is that most people talk about what they
1 min read