Books

Posted on 2015-07-11

I am reading three excellent books at the moment.

Becoming a technical leader by Gerry Weinberg, was recommended to me by multiple people. There are too many good things in this book. Highly recommend it to every engineer. Following the advice in the book, I now have a private journal that I write every day. Having an alert on the smart phone to remind me helps a lot. A great quote in the book which I want to pass on to my former colleages at Cisco: (paraphrased) “If you want to motivate people, the first thing you need to have is their trust”. Doing stupid things like conducting pseudo anonymous surveys and promising them that it won’t be used against them is going exactly against this advice.

Cakes, Custard and Category Theory by Dr. Eugenia Cheng is mostly a book on math and the author’s love affair with Math. It is a wonderful read. I am hoping that I get an introduction into the exciting world of Category Theory from this book. The author is a wonderful writer and a wonderful teacher. Wish I read such books while in college. In my opinion, this book is in the same league as “The little Schemer”. It gives the reader a good taste of Maths and takes the fear for maths away.

A few interesting quote from the book (page 32):

“If you worked out how to cure cancer, it would be somewhat immoral if you merely went around curing individual people’s cancer instead of teaching the world how to cure cancer.”

“The amazing thing about mathematics is that the mathematical things exist as soon as you imagine them.”

Elements of Programming by Stepanov and McJones is another excellent book on some of the basic principles in the field of Programming. I haven’t read any of the things discussed in the book in any other book on programming. I am still digesting the book, which is a heavy and slow read as I have to pause at every stage and think about it. It would have been nice if the examples were in language which has a nicer syntax for parametric polymorphism like Haskell or ML. Instead, the book uses a subset of C++ (aargh!). The authors have their own reasons for that, which I respect. Great book indeed. Thanks goes to my friend, Vimal, who recommended the book.

Speaking of buying books, I no longer use Flipkart to buy books, after their stand on Net Neutrality and their mobile-only approach. I instead use amazon.in or traditional book shops. Amazon is not too great either. Visiting their website freezes my firefox instance for a few seconds. And speaking of browsers, I hate them all! I have kept away from the Google one for a few months now, only using it occasionally when things don’t work in Firefox.