Practice without theory is blind. Hence we need to supplement our practical endeavors with theoretical works. And it often comes in the form of books.
Here is a list of books I have read while working at Lyft. I can’t entirely agree with all the ideas presented in them. However, they proved to be ultra-valuable in advancing my career and shaped my current understanding of the tech industry.
How to pick which one to read?
It is essential to say that the book’s usefulness is strongly related to the reader’s context.
Typically, I practice “pain-driven prioritization,” i.e., when I feel confused and do not clearly understand what is happening and what exactly I am missing, I pick books that cover the relevant topic.
Example 1: Reorganization happens, the director in your organization gets fired, the team gets merged with another team, and many projects, even considered “strategic,” are closed. It would make sense to read something about “Career, Politics” and a story about a similar company and the challenges it faced. Say, when you work at Lyft, a book about Lyft would be great, but the book about Uber will also work.
Example 2: End of the year, the company starts planning for the next quarter. Everyone talks about OKRs and how important they are, but when the planning is done, and the actual work starts, people at all levels ignore half of the OKRs and do something else. => You read about OKRs, prioritization, planning, and Product managers.
You can read the following books in any order you like, but you may consider my “pain-driven” approach as well.
If you are a product manager, I would recommend checking the list of the books by Adam Eldarov - chief product officer at YouDo. His list is excellent, although I have read only 10 books from there so far :)
It is not the complete list; it is the list that I have read so far and found insightful. There is probably another one for every book in it that talks about the same topic but much better. If you know such a better book - let me know :)
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
- INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love
- The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you
- Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results
- High Output Management
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention
- The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
- Radical Candor: Fully Revised & Updated Edition: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
- Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager
Communication, teamwork, and collaboration
- Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values
- Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition
- The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
- The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt
- Everything is Negotiable
- Influence: Science and Practice
- Пиши, сокращай
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On
- The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
- The Art of Seduction
Career and politics
- Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life
- Лестница в небо. Диалоги о власти, карьере и мировой элите
- The 48 Laws of Power
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
- The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
- Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies
- Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It
- Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
Stories about people and companies
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
- Steve Jobs
- The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy
- The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
- Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
- Principles: Life and Work
- AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Well-being and self-improvement
- The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It
- The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness
- The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life
- Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
- Джедайские техники: Как воспитать свою обезьяну, опустошить инбокс и сберечь мыслетопливо
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World