Reading List of a Random Software Developer Dude

Reading List of a Random Software Developer Dude
Your dance partners.
Table of Contents
In: Learning

Reading is a constant dance. I rarely ever dance for real but I imagine it like this for avid dancers. Choosing your dance partners may be a tough process. They are all lined up there, waiting for you to dance with them. But with some dance partners, you may see that you both woke up on the left foot, so probably best to skip this one for now. With others, you skim them with a couple of quick moves and see that it doesn't make any sense at all. Others again, you observe each other for years and years and don't dare to ask for a dance. And then there are some dance partners who you enjoy dancing with so much and when it's over you are sad. Like happy sad, being thirsty to dance again ASAP.

Not easy to keep all of them in your head, in which case I like to create a list.

I used to have this list in Goodreads, but I'm not up anymore for yet another social network. More importantly, Goodreads does not show many of the beautiful self-published dancers who produce such incredible content in the tech industry. Nor beautiful gigantic blog posts that pit themselves easily in value and length against some short "books". What's a book anyway nowadays?

The list

I'm tracking this for myself, so I'm trying to organize it. And me being me, I'm using my most powerful org weapon: emojis.

Disclaimer: That's not (yet) a comprehensive list of my life's reading. I'm adding stuff here that I found important since I'm doing the tracking (started this somewhere in Q4 2022, I think)


👀 - currently reading (obviously, this rarely be up-to-date, but it's a hint for me if I started reading something, for example)

📝 - TODO

🔄 - TO-REVISIT, meaning: I've already read it, so skimming from the book and/or extracting some nuggets or specific information that I need right now

🚮 - stopped reading for now

✅ - Done, from start to finish (more or less)

🎧 - audio format

🏃‍♂️- speed read (might include jumping some sections and generally going through quickly, potentially slowing down in interesting spots)

💡- idea (not sure yet if I really need to tackle it)

🤔 - topic, needs books


I'm working with and teaching about quite a bit of Ruby and Rails, so digging into the experiences of others is one of the major targets. Most of all, I'd like to see how evolvable production applications are to be built and which architectural decisions will be most beneficial.

✅ [May 2022] Rebuilding Rails

✅ [November 2022] Sustainable Rails by Copeland

📝 Playbook Thirty-Nine

📝 Painless Rails

👀 Rails tailblazer, a frequently mentioned layer on top of Rails, whatever it is, starting here:

💡 Domain-Driven Rails


🚮 [November 2022] Ruby Under A Microscope - I'm probably not yet ready for it :D

📝 Polished Ruby Programming

Code Architecture & Design


📝 99 Bottles of OOP

📝 A Philosophy of Software Design

📝 Designing Data-Intensive Applications

Coding Classics

Back when coding still was called programming.

📝 [started in 2016] - Clean Code

📝 Code Complete

📝 Seven Languages in Seven Months

🔄 [2021] - Pragmatic Programmer 🎧

Testing & TDD

Finalizing the creation of my Le Wagon Testing workshop into a more tangible resource is still on my list. My other list :D

✅ [2022] The Complete Rails Guide To Testing by Jason Swett

💡 Testing Rails by Joël Quinneville

💡 Testing Prescriptions by Rappin

📝 Minitest Cookbook (

✅ [2021] Effective Testing With RSpec

🔄 [originally read in 2017] TDD by Example by Kent Beck

📝 Growing Object-Oriented Software Guided By Tests

🚮 [February 2022] Test-Driven Development in Ruby - Couldn't finish this one. There are some good spots I guess, but the structure is quite difficult to ingest. Maybe some other day, when I'm out of books on the topic.


I'm mister REST API so far.

✅ (Revisiting) API on Rails by Rousseau

📝 [started end of 2021] API Design Patterns by JJ Geewax

💡 Continuous API Management

💡 Developing Rails API Applications


Extreme Programming

Whether it's a discipline or a framework I've been exploring XP methods quite a bit. I've been practicing TDD for a while. I'm trying to get people in software teams and beyond to co-create more. I've been creating apps with CI/CD in production and at home. But. I've never come to discover where these practices come from and how they tie together within a framework. Inspired by this Fireside Chat podcast episode: Fireside Chat #30: How relevant is Extreme Programming today?

📝 [started end 2022] Extreme Programming Explained

EDIT: It's a discipline.


I masochistically love fiddling with infrastructure and servers running stuff on my own terms but got pretty hung up on Heroku lately. Time to go back to the roots and learn more about infrastructure fundamentals.

📝 Deployment from Scratch

Project Management & Team Workflows

👀 37signal's Shape Up method:

📝 37signal's Rework

📝 mythical man month

Visuals & Teaching

Some inspiration for explaining technical concepts visually. I'm also generally interested in teaching and how others do it, so there are a couple of books purely for doing this here.

✅ The Back of the Napkin

🚮 why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby - an interesting didactic approach (lots of comics and mnemonics) historical witness of Ruby 1.8, but most of the time, I didn't get the humor, most probably because of my unknowingness of the world and non-native English skills 😅

📝 Head First Design Patterns

📝 Creating Software with Modern Diagramming Techniques (

📝 (Skim) Head First Ruby

📝 (Skim) Learn to Program by Chris Pine

📝 (Skim) Programmieren supereasy: Einfacher Einstieg in SCRATCH und PYTHON

📝 Unfolding The Napkin by Dan Roam (After giving a talk at the RailsConf 2023 about Visual Thinking I don't need more of it for now 😁)

Content creation

✅ [March 2022] Your First 100 by Meera Kothand

✅ [April 2022] On Writing by Stephen King 🎧

✅ [March 2022] Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

✅ [April 2022] 1 Hour Content Plan

💡 Life Changing Workshops

💡 Non-Fiction Writing (


I usually read non-fiction. More specifically, non-fiction that fits my current doings, most of the time self-improvement in different areas, like productivity, business, finance, marketing... Here's some non-fiction that I just dig for entertainment or understanding the world.

✅ [14/01/2023 => 21/01/2023] - ... trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager by Victor Frankl

📝 [started autumn 2022] - Moonwalking With Einstein


I caught up a bit on fiction mid of last year.

✅ [July 2022] Billy Summers by Steven King 🎧 After I read his On Writing, I figured this would be a good thing to see his teachings in action. It was.

✅ [August 2022] Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 🎧

✅ [September 2022] The Hobbit

Business & finance

✅ [June 2022] The Great Rat Race Escape by MJ DeMarco 🎧

Productivity and discipline

💡 A World Without Email 🎧

✅ [April 2023] Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

✅ [April 2023] So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

✅ [May 2023] Never finished by David Goggins

Public Speaking

✅ [March 2023] Popup Pitch by Dan Roam

Philosophy and Esoterica

🚮 [May 2022, just can't do it at the moment] The Rose of the World by Daniel Andreev 🎧 (Please don't ask about this one. Let's say I've lost a bet.)


A reading list with a conclusion.

Pro tip: Want to exchange some thoughts on one of the books? Start a book club? Scream at me because I haven't listed your favorite book? Ping me somewhere or let's chat almost like real people 👇

In the meantime, that's quite a plan, gotta go reading 🦔💨

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