The first few days of a new year feels like a break. An opportunity to pause, think, recharge and realign to life’s long-term destinations. In the race that’s called “life”, it’s good to have a lull, a moment of silence, a moment of reflection in the continuum of hours and minutes and seconds that rush through. Speaking from experience, knowing our flaws always helps, as long as we recognize them; and to recognize them, we just need two ingredients: a moment of reflection, and an open mind.
This past year has been very rewarding for me, both in terms of personal and professional enrichment. I have been really fortunate to know some people directly or indirectly whose clear thinking, mentorship and sometimes sheer genius deeply affected my thought process and outlook. Such were some books, which I am extremely glad I got my hands on. Here they are:
- Blockchain by Mark Gates — I read this book mainly because I was feeling left out on the cryptocurrency buzz. I really wanted to know, in a very simple and non-technical way what it all means and why is it so popular, and if it is worth its salt. This book was excellent. It has a very lucid dialect. Every chapter has a summary which outlines the whole chapter so one can skip a chapter or two if it goes into too much detail. Overall, an excellent guide if you are new to blockchain technology.
- Clean Architecture, The Clean Coder, and Clean Code by Robert C Martin – I had heard about these books a lot, but never got a chance to go through them all. And now that I have read them, all I can say is — these are books that every programmer should read once a year. Just like a good literature has many layers of understanding that unfolds every time you read them, these books reveal new insights and open new doors every time you pick them up!
- Functional Swift by Chris Eidhof, Florian Kugler, and Wouter Swierstra, Advanced Swift by Chris Eidhof, Ole Begemann, and Airspeed Velocity, Core Data by Florian Kugler and Daniel Eggert – All of them are the most practical and in-depth Swift and Core Data related books I have ever got the chance to read. Amazing examples and sample code. The best thing about these books is — they are full of best practices and an in-depth explanation of the same. Anyone who wants to know those topics in depth will be deeply enriched by them.
- A Mind of Numbers by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D. – This book is about learning. Lots of insights on the inner workings of the human brain, how it processes information and how it learns. They are full of wonderful examples from eminent people. If our brain is what is a sword to a warrior, this book teaches how to be the master of the sword, rather than being its slave.
- Leonardo the Vinci – Notebooks — Interesting one don’t you think? I have always been intrigued by this Renaissance polymath. If you are wondering what I learned or even understood by reading those optically transformed backward scribbles of the legendary genius, let me confess – hardly anything. But one important lesson I learned was the importance of documenting one’s work. That gave me the idea of making a Developer’s Journal. This is not a new concept, smart developers have been documenting their work ever since the dawn of time. I have two journals, in one I note down all the new learnings (I post them on this blog sometimes if they are big enough and interesting enough), but the other one is more interesting. I write down all the problems I encounter there – and how I fixed it. You wouldn’t believe how much insight it provides on one’s learning curve. It also becomes a very interesting read, once it is long enough to have forgotten how did I fix that pesky problem that kept me up for two nights!
At the very end, I’ll share with you a piece of thought. Nothing is permanent. But nothing is transient either. Think about an excavation of historical importance and obscure wall carvings. Who created them, who wrote them? A person just like you and me (maybe by order from some higher authority) who lived thousands of years ago. Little did he know, thousands of years later, the world would know about his work, no matter how insignificant it seemed then. Similarly, what we do now, echoes in eternity. The work you do today would probably be uncovered thousands of years from now. Wouldn’t you want them to be intrigued by your craftsmanship? Let’s keep that in mind and let’s amaze the future humankind.
With that last thought, I bid you goodbye for now and wish you have a wonderful new year and may this new beginning renews and rejuvenates you in your journey of attainment of your true potential. Bon voyage!