Books I've Learned a Ton From
In no particular order. Please consider buying a copy and supporting the authors.
The Art of Electronics, 3rd Edition - Horowitz and Hill
The canonical electronics tome. Almost certainly the best single book on electronics ever written. A steep introduction for the newcomer, but an excellent resource for the working electrical engineer. The more I read it and peruse it, the more thoroughly I become convinced that it has everything you need to know about electronics design in its pages. You just need to know where to look. My only critique: it no longer includes the “Bad Circuits” addendum that came at the end of many chapters in the second edition.
High Speed Digital Design - Howard Johnson
It’s hard not to like a book subtitled A Handbook of Black Magic, and I liked this book so much that I cold called the author and showed up at his house to fanboy. All the stuff you need to know when designing point-to-point digital systems. It even starts to get into the details around interconnects and the compliance headaches they can cause, but those are treated more formally in the followup text: High Speed Wave Propagation: Advanced Black Magic.
High Output Management - Andy Grove
A friend as skeptical of management texts as I am once asked, “Why should I bother reading this?” My answer: “Between starting Intel and writing this book, Andy Grove has had more effect on how you work than you properly appreciate.” I see so much of how I’ve been managed in High Output Management: one-on-one meetings with your manager, matrixed organizations, weekly status reports, and on and on. Seeing all these pervasive tropes that stem from Andy, it makes perfect sense to me go to directly to the management Mecca, and read the words from the prophet himself.
The Mom Test - Rob Fitzpatrick
Just finished this a few weeks ago, and I’m already applying the lessons there positively in my work. Rob does a great job of using short, non-threatening words to explain a topic that many technicians find scary and threatening: customer conversations. I’ve just begun to apply some of this in my own nascent customer conversations. It really works. Bravo, Rob. You made something that was previously very difficult, very manageable.
Models - Mark Manson
From the acclaimed author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I actually like this one a lot better than Subtle. The cover and subtitle read like a pickup artist handbook, but the real message is gold: the sooner you learn to be yourself, the sooner you’ll attract a mate who will appreciate you for who you are. There’s a few weird subsections - Mark has some strange, Napoleonic ideas about sexual release and the effects it has on a person - but on the whole, it’s well worth a read.
Will Our Love Last? - Sam Hamburg
If dating is a sales game, Models is the book that helps you optimize your sales funnel. Will Our Love Last? is the book that helps you understand which leads you want to close on. A common-sense guide to evaluating which of your dating prospects make sense as long term partners.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 - Tom Rath
Helped me understand that I do, indeed, have strengths, and to understand that I feel a lot better about myself as an individual contributor when I’m in a position to leverage them heavily. (The ex-girlfriend who gave me StrengthsFinder described me, in a description as accurate as it was unkind, as: “…too smart to actually do anything. You just think!”)
Helping - Edgar Schein
I won’t lie - this book is dry, and thoroughly academic. The topic, however, is anything but. Helping is essential to working. Schein goes so far as to say that “teamwork” is really just constant, normalized, reciprocal helping. But that’s second-half material. The first half of this book lays the foundation for this thesis, and much of the foundation focuses on a crucial observation: helping relationships are rife with pitfalls and power dynamics. It’s been so illuminating to have this pointed out and explained comprehensively.