Soft Skills : The Software developer life’s manual

Author:  John Sonmez

I heard about this book in the fragmented podcast on the top 10 books every developer should read.

The first chapter is an answer to the most FAQ on how to build or pursue your career.

How should you plan your career. How to build your brand and identity. The author also explains how to go beyond a developer mindset to a business mindset.

To start with think or treat your current company as your business client, which helps us to build a business mindset.

I also suggest a similar thing to most of the devs who ask me this question. Don’t limit your career to finding better jobs. Ask this question to yourself. What would happen if you are layoff or fired from your job today? Would you able to survive on your own? Would you be able to work as an independent consultant?

It’s easier said than done. It takes time and patience to build this kind of mindset.

The books also explain how to build your brand by providing value to other people, which can be in form of writing blogs, speaking at conferences, mentoring, or open-source contributions.

I like this phrase “Give 90% content for free and charge for the remaining 10%”. But for all this, we need to have patience and consistent hard work.

I will summarise the productivity section in two points.

  1. Focus. Use Pomodoro technique.
  2. Plan your week/month/quarter. You should know what you are going to do tomorrow.

80% of the problem in people’s lives are because of money/financial issues. The finance sections describe why saving and investing is important and how the author started investing in real estate with some examples. Initially, I used to spend all my salary on things I never wanted. Slowly I understand that it won’t work in the long run. If you are struggling with spending money on unnecessary things. I highly recommend watching this Netflix documentary The Minimalists: Less is more.

In the fitness section, the author starts with the basics of how our body consumes food. How to take the right amount of macronutrients to shape your body. And also motivating us to go to the gym and lift some weight. If you are finding a hard time going to the gym, then the least you can do is start running regularly.

In the Spirit section, the author explains how to make a habit of positive thinking and finding a mental piece. Because in the end whatever we try to do, if we don’t have the right mindset then it becomes difficult to achieve the goal. Treat every obstacle as an opportunity. It sounds simple but not easy.

In the end, I want to say that If I want to write a book right now. It would be this book. Highly recommended.
Amazon India

Quotes I liked

  • Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!
  • Money always catches up to the responsibility. Any time you’re offered more responsibility, take it
  • The real difference between great musicians and superstars is nothing more than marketing. Marketing is a multiplier for talent.
  • You could be the most talented software developer in the world, but if no one knows that you exist, it won’t matter much.
  •  Organizing your thoughts and putting them down into a difficult but valuable skill.
  • If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.
  • You have to realize that the pain and discomfort is only temporary and doesn’t really last that long.
  • The real power of the Pomodoro Technique is using it as a tool to estimate and measure your work. By tracking the count of Pomodoro done in a day and having a goal of how many to accomplish in a day, you’re suddenly given the power to truly gauge how hard you worked in a day and what your true capacity is.
  • Interest seems to be fueled by hope and anticipation. We’re most interested in things before we actually start doing them.
  • What you do every day defines and shapes who you are over time.
  • One of the main reasons for procrastination -which is the bane of productivity-is problem admiration: being so busy admiring the size of a problem that you don’t actually try and solve it.
  • The person with the greatest need always has a disadvantage when negotiating anything.

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