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Railsware Recommended Reads: Summer Edition

Summer is the season of rest and relaxation, and it’s the perfect time of year to dive into a great book (or several). So we’re back with a list of reads inspired by our team’s #bookclub – the coziest new social channel in our Slack. Recently the question: “What books would you recommend for our summer selection?” started a discussion about whether summer reads should be light and easy or practical and thought-provoking. But we’ll leave it up to you to decide!

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

As you might guess, the 48 Laws of Power presents 48 principles the author deems fundamental to gaining, maintaining, and defending power in various aspects of life, including business, politics, and personal relationships.

Some find the book controversial due to its somewhat cynical view of human nature and relationships. Others see it as a practical guide to understanding social dynamics and protecting oneself from manipulation. The book is known for its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking insights into human behavior and social structures.

Aleksandr on 48 laws book

Aleksandr Kunin

Full Stack Engineer

I discovered Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power” through a Reddit mention, checked the sample on Amazon, and was intrigued. The book offers lessons from historical figures on navigating power dynamics. While some may seem obvious or unethical, it’s up to you what to follow. Here are some examples of these laws. #1 – Never Outshine The Master. Quote: “… Do not go too far in displaying your talents, or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity.” Believe it or not, I was once fired for this. Or #4 – Always Say Less Than Necessary. Combined with #14 (Pose as Friend, Work as a Spy), it underlines the power of listening more than speaking.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Already a business literature classic, Getting Things Done introduces a method for organizing tasks and managing workflow to increase productivity and reduce stress. Allen’s system, often called GTD, is designed to help individuals and organizations handle the constant flood of tasks and information in modern life.

The philosophy behind GTD is about creating mental clarity and organization to allow for more focused and stress-free work and life. It’s designed to be flexible and adaptable to various personal and professional contexts.

Leonid on getting things done book

Leonid Shevtsov

Full Stack Engineer

“Getting Things Done” by David Allen is a seminal book about taking control of one’s life and performing admirably under stress. Its core idea is a new way to think, first and foremost. We spend too much effort rethinking every worry and re-evaluating every to-do item, note and misplaced item all the time — without reaching any meaningful conclusions. Allen suggests you collect everything on your mind into a trusted system and make conscious decisions about every item. You are left with more than a to-do list — you get a system where every outcome is clearly stated and every action has all preconditions already resolved. This book has changed my life, and if you are overstressed and always busy scanning for the next thing on the radar, it just might change yours.

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

A Return to Love explores the concept of love as a powerful force for personal and societal transformation. Williamson argues that fear is the root of many individual and global problems. She believes that a shift towards love can profoundly change our lives and the world around us. This book is known for its inspirational tone and emphasis on personal responsibility in creating positive change. In terms of style, it offers a combination of personal anecdotes, philosophical discussions, and practical advice.

Panagiotis on the return to love book

Panagiotis Hernandez

Customer Success Manager

“A Return to Love” teaches us to navigate internal and external conflicts in different areas of our lives through love, kindness, compassion, and surrender. This book brings us awareness of our inflicted suffering and gives us tools to change our perspective from fear to love. I definitely recommend it. Worst-case scenario — you’ll have a good experience or a small but significant shift in perspective, or a sense of surrender to no longer carry an invisible burden; best-case scenario — this book has the potential to completely change your life experience.

Project To Product by Mik Kersten

Project to Product addresses the challenges large organizations face when adapting to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Kersten draws on his experience as a tech entrepreneur and his observations of large-scale IT transformations to provide insights and practical advice. He introduces the Flow Framework, a new way of seeing, measuring, and managing software delivery that enables a company’s evolution from a project-oriented dinosaur to a product-centric innovator that thrives in the Age of Software.

Kalys on the project to project book

Kalys Osmonov

Full Stack Engineer

I witnessed the rapid growth of Calendly. Developer count increased tenfold, and the number of repositories increased a hundredfold over a couple of years. I’ve never had a chance to be part of a project/product with such growth that migrates from Monolith to Service-Oriented Architecture and adopts DevOps techniques. These changes enabled a lot of exciting things and created a massive amount of socio-technical problems. I felt I needed more knowledge on how companies are managed on this scale and how architecture must be adjusted to allow teams frictionless development. More on the topic from my reading list: Team Topologies, Accelerate, and Monolith to Microservices.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter explores the concept of multiverse theory through a fast-paced narrative that blends elements of science fiction, thriller, and love story. It follows the journey of Jason Dessen, a physics professor who finds himself thrust into a mind-bending adventure involving alternate realities. The book delves into questions of identity, choice, and the roads not taken in life. It examines how our decisions shape who we are and what our lives become, all while wrapped in a high-stakes, suspenseful plot.

Ruslana on dark matter book

Ruslana Tereshchenko

Marketing Specialist

The topic of alternative worlds has always been attractive to writers and filmmakers. I guess that’s because we all want to escape reality sometimes. This book offers a captivating look at the everlasting problem of choice: to choose one thing, we have to give up another. But what if this choice is about something that could make your life, and you as a person, completely different? And how far can one go to experience the outcomes of various choices and eventually protect what matters to them? Dark Matter is perfect to dive in during the weekends and be fully thrilled by the characters’ journey.

Anxious People by Frederik Backman

Anxious People centers on a failed bank robber who, after a botched heist, inadvertently ends up taking hostages in an apartment viewing. The novel explores the lives and backstories of both the hostages and the hostage-taker, revealing their vulnerabilities, fears, and desires. As the story unfolds, the police investigation into the bizarre incident intertwines with the characters’ personal journeys, ultimately highlighting the power of empathy, forgiveness, and human connection in overcoming life’s challenges and uncertainties.

Nadiia on anxious people book

Nadiia Stelmakh

PR Specialist

Anxious People is an emotional roller coaster that had me hooked from start to finish. It begins with an unsuccessful bank robbery but turns into a touching, funny, and deeply human story. The quirky, flawed characters feel incredibly real and relatable. Backman’s writing makes you laugh out loud one moment and tear up the next. This book is a heartwarming reminder that we are all connected, even in our most anxious times.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Set in New England during the Civil War era, Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The story primarily focuses on Jo, a passionate and ambitious young woman who dreams of becoming a writer. The novel chronicles the sisters’ journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring themes of family, love, personal growth, and the challenges faced by young women in 19th-century America. Little Women has become a beloved classic, praised for portraying strong, complex female characters and exploring timeless themes.

Nadiia on anxious people book

Marta Dzedzinska

Talent Acquisition Specialist

“Life and love are very precious when both are in full bloom.” For me, “Little Women” is a timeless classic. It is a warming story of four sisters that feels like a cozy big hug, perfect for spring and summer reading with its vivid descriptions of nature. Written in the 1860s, it’s still easy to read. What can you learn from this book? Seeing things with an open mind, keeping faith, finding comfort and inspiration. The characters are well-written, it’s easy to notice a reflection of a part of yourself, and engaging stories keep you hooked until the end. The novel deals with serious topics at the same time.

Time with a book is worth it

When you work in tech, the constant interaction with screens can be overwhelming. So, don’t forget to take a break from digital overload and immerse yourself in the world of books. Whether you prefer the tactile experience of printed pages or the convenience of e-books, reading is worth it. Use this time to gain new knowledge, find inspiration, or simply enjoy a different kind of entertainment. Railswarians know very well that the insights and creativity boosted by reading are essential to our life-work-craft balance.

P.S. If you’re seeking more book recommendations, check out our Spring edition of top reading picks.