Had this book on tape and listened to it many times back in the early noughties. I was writing a blog post about "The Agile Heart" (http://goo.gl/aBCaHad this book on tape and listened to it many times back in the early noughties. I was writing a blog post about "The Agile Heart" (http://goo.gl/aBCae) and quoted from it, so I got a second-hand copy from Amazon to verify the quote, my tape player having gone the way of all flesh a while ago. Still need to change the quote, but there you go.
Thing is, even now, nearly 15 years after it was first published, it's a gem. The style is designed to look like his presentations, with a slide-like set of images setting up a proposition and then some discussion about the ideas. I've also been reading Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and they cover a lot of similar ground. Peters' take is more based on subverting the traditional workplace, "brand you", "making everything a project", "making where you work into a company in its own right". Godin talks about the kinds of behaviour and attitude you need to make what Peters talks about become a reality. The two books complement each other. I think Linchpin is an essential read for anyone who cares about where we are today, but Peters' book gives some historical context.
The subtitle you can't shrink your way to greatness is a polemic with the late 90's obsession with the bottom line: how big corporations were doing a slash and burn on their workforce and their working conditions to drive profit up. But if you race to the bottom you end up competing with people who are much poorer than you are and will do the same low-value work for less in a different country. You lose, the whole enterprise loses, and that's it. This is also the theme of Linchpin. Two recessions later we are still learning the same lessons, funny that. Those lessons being that creativity and what Peters terms "emotional labour" (as in giving it some heart and caring about it) will keep you fed, but charging to the bottom won't.
Both authors say that if you're stuck somewhere you can't do "emotional labour" or become a Linchpin - move on. Good advice....more
In essence we are contradictory beasts, you can get people to do simple things with simple rewards, e.g money and a bit of carrot and stick. More complex tasks need a sense of flow and eventual mastery. If you try to use carrot and stick when people need to think they do less well - spectacularly so. There is a whole science of this that has been discovered over the last 20 years or so. But if you look at really successful, innovative companies and organisations I think you'll find they would say that most of this is blindingly obvious.
The old style motivational tools Pink calls Motivation 2.0 (1.0 is getting warm, comfortable and fed - basic drives). This works when most people do repetitive, boring jobs that don't require a lot of thinking once learned. Motivation 3.0 is what we need now - the harder you push someone who needs to think the harder they find it is to do their job. If they can get into the mental state of autonomy, flow and personal validation with a route to what he calls mastery (unachievable but the journey is emotionally stimulating and satisfying), they will perform really well and enjoy what they do.
As someone who cares passionately about doing software right and a staunch advocate of Agile methods I was re-reading The Art of Agile Development. The word that jumps out of the page is trust, plus there's an imaginary team that a developer called Pat is introduced to. The team are all switched on, having fun, doing something worthwhile that will help the business. Motivation 3.0, Agile software development is based on an empirical discovery of Motivation 3.0. Pink's book gives the theoretical underpinning as to why Agile, done properly, is so powerful. It also explains why some projects just fail, too much control, too little autonomy, and some succeed anyway - people were allowed to shine, so they did.
In fact, one of the failure modes is Big Design Up Front (BDUF) - what is this but sucking the autonomy and the contribution of the talents and skills of the people actually delivering the software, of devaluing what they can give? Anyone who has been handed one of these 400 page architecture plans full of drivel will know whereof I speak. Deferring decisions to the last possible moment means they will be made by people who have enough information to make the best decision possible allows them to blossom.
So, the obvious thing: treating people like responsible adults - giving them good, sharp, tools and a framework that helps them get better at what they do. There is a ton of empirical evidence that Pink quotes to show that this doesn't just make you feel good, it's the best way to proceed.
I think I might present the headmaster of my son's school with a copy, but I doubt he'd read it. This makes me sad....more
Seriously, if you want to know why your children's school seems to not be teaching them to think, if you want to know why you hate your job, read thisSeriously, if you want to know why your children's school seems to not be teaching them to think, if you want to know why you hate your job, read this book.
Our entire education system is built around creating good factory workers, who have no initiative and do what they're told. You may sit in a call centre or push numbers into a computer all day - but it's still a factory, think about it. Guess what - the factories are all gone or on their way, and cost-cutting means that you can't compete with folk from other countries. The race to the cheapest is one you can't win. The race to the most useful, caring, innovative - well, you're competing with the cheapest, they're going to lose.
Enter the linchpin - someone who adds value, who cares about doing a good job, who *thinks* about how to get things done more quickly and to a higher standard, a game changer. Your boss will employ a competent drone if no-one else is available, but would prefer a linchpin. Someone who is difficult to replace. If you don't want to be easy to replace then read this book and follow Seth's advice.
The latter half of the book gives a whistle-stop tour of the human brain and goes into some detail about how the "lizard brain" tends to sabotage the thinking brain and choose short term comfort over long term success. It needs to be tricked to get out of the way and allow you to succeed. Godin talks about how the lizard brain made him stop writing the book several times, because it was hard work. The paradox is the lizard brain likes comfort, but is scared of success.
Read this book if you want to escape the whole post-industrial "my job went to India" fear and find your way to a future where you enjoy what you do.
Just finished re-reading the whole Revelation Space series. I like Reynolds' work a lot, he posits believable physics and has characters that aren't tJust finished re-reading the whole Revelation Space series. I like Reynolds' work a lot, he posits believable physics and has characters that aren't the usual SF placeholders, plus talks about real things like mortality and what advanced technology might do to people in an honest way.
My favourite character is Scorpio, and I really like the idea of the ones who live 500 years or so (and get mentioned in every book) like Sky Haussen and Clavain with their need for redemption. He's not afraid to kill characters off, Skade's revenge on Clavain is awful, dreadful, and believable.
If you want to start, I'd start with Chasm City, which I think is the second published, but in story chronology stands alone and is set before the events in Revelation Space....more
Just re-reading this for about the 4th time. I enjoy Mr King when he isn't being silly and these stories make writing look effortless, when I know itJust re-reading this for about the 4th time. I enjoy Mr King when he isn't being silly and these stories make writing look effortless, when I know it isn't. ...more
The book is worth a read to get an insight into the world of Tibetan Buddhism, and the life of a tulku, which is the living incarnation of a revered mThe book is worth a read to get an insight into the world of Tibetan Buddhism, and the life of a tulku, which is the living incarnation of a revered master from the past. Urgyen talks about his life and the people he knew, including his formidable grandmother, and also covers some of the things that happened to the sacred teachings when the Chinese invaded Tibet.
I think that, if you aren't a Buddhist, you may find the book a little dry. I enjoyed it and found it an interesting relief to some of the heavier text one has to read if one's lama is teaching them, it's an accessible book....more
This book has a simple purpose: show in clear and understandable language how to approach TDD. Nothing more or less, and he succeeds very well.
Other rThis book has a simple purpose: show in clear and understandable language how to approach TDD. Nothing more or less, and he succeeds very well.
Other reviewers have commented that they were annoyed about how this book didn't cover mocks and stubs and a lot of the other artefacts of testing - that wasn't Beck's purpose, he wanted to show how it's done and then catalogue the patterns needed in order to make it work. While he covered mock and null objects he didn't go into the details because these are very much part of the testing framework you are using and the limitations of the language you are working with. They will be covered (to death) in the documentation associated with it - the ideas, the principles, they work everywhere.
I will use this book the next time I teach TDD, and I will use the patterns section the next time I get stuck. I also liked the section where he uses the ideas in TDD to develop an xUnit framework using Python - using the ideas to develop the framework is a very useful approach. He also says that this is how he learns new languages - implement the xUnit framework in them. Which also then gives you what you need if you're going to get "serious" and write something longer.
The other thing that struck me was that, like Bob Martin in Agile Software Development Principles Patterns and Practices, he talks about finding design patterns as you work. Martin talks about "backing into" a pattern, this book has an afterword my Martin Fowler that says similar things, the pattern comes out of the refactoring and you implement it in a way that makes sense for the problem in front of you. Avoid the endless, sterile project meetings about which variant of what pattern - write some tests, understand the problem and then "back into" an appropriate pattern, if you need to. But get it done and move on....more