5 Audiobooks to start listening to right now!

If I had to choose the habit that made the biggest impact in my life during 2018, it was for sure listening to Audiobooks. This allows me to enjoy my commute and training time more, adding up to more than 10 hours of “reading” a week! That is the main reason why I could beat my challenge reading 29 books on the last year! And I even have four books under my belt so far on 2019.

One of the reasons why I decided to listen to audiobooks is because I am obsessed with efficiency. It is actually a treat that I am working to improve, as it also affects my ability to find joy, but I think the impact this is having in my life is invaluable. It also made my commute more enjoyable, encouraging me to walk and be active more often! This is not even counting all the hours I have listened to amazing podcasts, such as the Backline (a didactical podcast about Improvisation) or Tim Ferris’ Podcast (inspirational interviews with different “Titans”).

Trust me on this one! Give this a try. Find a moment when you could focus on what you are listening to and pick an audiobook to start learning from! Nowadays it is extremely easy, especially using Audible. You can sign up freely (like using this referral link) and pick two books right now. Oh, you can’t think of any interesting book to listen to right now? I have you covered! Here there are some of my recommendations!

Five amazing audiobooks that you can start learning from right now!

Mating in Captivity – Esther Perel

I fell in love with Esther Perel after listening to her interview by Tim Ferris, and last year I decided to read two of her books. In this book, Esther explores the complexities of sustaining desire through many case studies. The stories hooked me while also making me rethink my previous relationships, as well as gave me the tools to build a stronger connection in my current one.

You can also listen for free to the first episode of Where Should We Begin?, a podcast where she shares some of her counseling sessions. It is such an intimate experience!

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown explains his definition of essentialism: “less but better”. It shows a way of thinking about productivity and business, helping you find which is the biggest impact you can make and the importance of focusing on that (and reducing the noise). He shares numerous examples and techniques, like asking yourself “how much would I pay to get this if I didn’t own it already?” to discern what do you value the most.

I personally agree with the pursuit of “living by design, not by default”. This is a read that I highly recommend to anyone managing people, as it contains many lessons I wish my managers would share. And it’s less than 6 hours!

Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

If you enjoy fantasy, give yourself the treat of enjoying this masterpiece. It might even be your gateway to the incredible work that Sanderson is doing. He has become my favorite epic-fantasy writer, and his world-building work is more impressive every step you take down the rabbit hole.

I personally get caught on making “the most out of my days”, and sometimes I forget the importance of play and joy. His work has been my drug of choice. I personally find it deliciously immersive, and I can easily enjoy it through my day (in opposition to watching Netflix when I get home!).

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans – Sarah McBride

Sarah is a leading activist on the National Press Secretary at the Human Rights Campaign. Her book explains (with depth and brutal honesty) some of her struggles with gender identity and finding her way as a political person. It is a powerful tale of confusion, pain, empowerment and lost; all while keeping a stoically positive view and fighting for what it is right.

I didn’t know anything about Sara McBride prior to reading this book (even worse, I barely knew anything about Trans struggles in North America), and reading this book broadened my view. I am extremely inspired by her work, and I’m sure you’ll find it as enlightening as I did.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lammot

Writing is an integral part of our interactions in this digital era, and the understanding of how to deliver a story is one of the skills I am actively working on. Anne empowers a beginner writer with many insights, tips, and tools; while keeping it entertaining. She is actually hilarious!

I am spending more and more time writing on my social media, so learning some basics of writing is already having an immense impact on my interactions. Being a non-native English speaker feels already like a disadvantage to me, so the more (good) lessons I can enjoy, the merrier!

And you, what are you listening to?

I am constantly looking for new books to listen to, as I am listening to more than 10 hours a week! Is there any book that you have loved recently? Is there any podcast that has changed your life? Which are the habits which impact you the most? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Lessons learnt from Clean Code

Before start talking about how Clean Code:A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) affected me, I want to start recommending this book. It’s well known inside the Software Development industry and, even if you don’t see eye to eye with Uncle Bob, it has really good reflexion about how to structure your code. I was lucky that during my career I joined a company where reading this book was part of your first-year commitments, and we use it a lot while code reviewing as a common ground for arguments. But now, let’s focus on what I learnt reading this book!

Being able to solve complex problems is not what defines a professional software developer. It’s absolutely a good skill and, at some point, you’re going to need analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities but a professional developer also focuses on the readability of the code as well and building scalable, maintainable and simple solutions.

This book made me realise that wording, naming and modularizing the code are more important than I thought to start my career. I started to spend some time finding the best variable, method and class names, for example.

Learn how to better use hierarchy. I’ve been working with object oriented languages during the majority of my professional life, and learning how to master this powerful tool makes a huge difference.

Refactoring to achieve readable code usually takes longer than coding the solution itself. It’s a good practice to just focus on getting the job done, and then start iteratively refactoring until the code is readable enough.

Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.

Having a guideline during code reviews make them less harsh. When a clash happens, you can use the book to specify why a change should be done, instead of just using your “I know better than you” argument.

Professional programmers care about testing. Mr. Martin thinks that TDD is the only way for a professional programmer because no code is complete without enough testing verifying that it works.

I should not abuse commenting. During my degree, teachers told me that I have to comment as much as possible to achieve a readable code. Then, you discover that no one updates the comments when refactoring, so it ends like a misleading piece of information. Instead, if you focus on a readable code per se, and you forbid yourself to comment; you’ll build an understandable solution that doesn’t require them. And, for documentation, nothing explains better than an extensive testing suite. And if you don’t update them… they’ll break!

Programming literature can teach me more than I thought. I assumed that every you have to learn from coding is online, and books are outdated and useless by definition. How wrong I was. After reading this, I picked books about Testing, Programming, and Design patterns. And, without any doubt, my code got better after doing so!

Here was the first time I heard about principles like Don’t repeat yourself, Keep it simple stupid, You aren’t gotta need it. And I realised how little I was following them!

Those are some of the lessons I learnt reading this enlightening book. In a future post, I’d love to talk about what I learnt from Clean Coder:A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers (Robert C. Martin), part of the same series but focusing on the relationships between software professionals.

May the force be with you,

Gino