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The Effective Engineer: How to Leverage Your Efforts In Software Engineering to Make a Disproportionate and Meaningful Impact
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The Effective Engineer: How to Leverage Your Efforts In Software Engineering to Make a Disproportionate and Meaningful Impact

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  485 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The most effective engineers — the ones who have risen to become distinguished engineers and leaders at their companies — can produce 10 times the impact of other engineers, but they're not working 10 times the hours.

They've internalized a mindset that took me years of trial and error to figure out. I'm going to share that mindset with you — along with hundreds of actionab
Paperback, 260 pages
Published March 19th 2015 by Effective Bookshelf
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Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: interest
Great book filled with career advice that I plan to take with me for a long time. I will probably find myself re-reading sections too. The author cites evidence for most everything he says, and can speak to all of the points made from personal experience. Five stars on content.
My only issue is that the writing style is a bit formulaic, i.e. introduce concept, cite personal experience, cite best practices at other companies. There is also a lot of repetition - some of the companies are re-introdu
Adegoke Obasa
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I learnt a lot of things from this book, top on my list are
- Focus on high leverage tasks.
- Long hours don't make you an Effective Engineer.
- How important Estimation is when building products.
- Avoid one man teams.
- Automate mechanics.

This book is a great resource that every Software Engineer should read especially those that are just starting out.
Abhishek Kona
May 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Its a shit book
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a kind of book which should be read at the earliest possible. The book delivers what the title proclaims and more - it's good for startups too. Read this book to find out -
- Importance and the process of hiring
- Importance of documentation, knowledge sharing and on boarding process for new hires
- Leverage activities - Doings tasks that result in proportionately high values
- Tasks prioritization and scheduling and procrastination
- Unit test and automation. And how companies are adopting aut
David Haber
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Edmond Lau discusses techniques that can make both junior and senior engineers more effective in their work. This book focuses on software engineers but many of the principles outlined here can be applied to other engineering disciplines, professions, and life in general.

I think that every software engineer can benefit from reading this book. Emond Lau is a software engineer himself and shares many of the lessons he learned the hard way. I found it interesting to read about engineering practices
Muhammad Dhito Prihardhanto
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Time is our most finite asset, and leverage—the value we produce per unit time—allows us to direct our time toward what matters most."

Buku bagus, sangat direkomendasikan utamanya untuk mereka yg berkecimpung dalam dunia IT. Lebih cocok lagi bagi mereka pelaku start-up.

Banyak tips dari Edmond Lau, sang penulis, terkait bagaimana kultur atau contoh manajemen di sebuah start-up agar mampu membentuk effective engineer di perusahaannya. Getting things done, learn quickly, and not wasting effort.

Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tech-reads-2016
Disappointing read for me. The author should have specifically called out the intended audience for this book (strictly suitable only to a complete newbie software engineer). As a result I had to wade through the lazy writing (reads like a series of bullet points with a smattering of routinely cited works - every business/tech book is referenced here once every couple of lines, is that really necessary? This often came across as filler material). $35 for a book that reads like a collection of bl ...more
Bjoern Rochel
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, kaizen
Give this one out to all of your new engineers. It's a great writeup of modern engineering practices and ideas.

Beware: This book might be easily dismissed by hardcore techies as too fluffy and not technical enough. For people embracing a more holistic view on engineering it's great though. Fits perfectly in line with Goldratts and Gene Kim's books.
Arif Zaman
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How many times as a software engineer you had to work 60 to 70 hours a week to meet a deadline, fighting some prod issue or facing some other urgent situations? But that doesn't sustain. As an engineer if you have to spend a lot of hours at work, sacrificing your life or family time, then you probably should rethink and figure out how you can balance. The answer is - be efficient. Instead of working more hours work more efficiently. Study also shows working more hours doesn't usually produce mor ...more
Amrullah Zunzunia
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other
Much of what's written in this book is something you would have experienced yourself too, in your job as an engineer at a startup. But still there is enough advice on how to be an effective (and not just technically sound) engineer. Perils of accomplishing short term goals at the expense of long term ones is well illustrated throughout the book. A highly recommended read
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good book that offers insightful and actionable advices. It touches upon best practices you need to know and offers a guiding framework for making everyday decision as an engineer in the software industry. Highly recommend it to people who are beginning their career or looking for tips to advance their technical career.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sharon by: Veronica
Shelves: funemployment
I wish I had this book when I was starting out in the industry. Even with a few years of experience, I feel like I got a lot out of it, but mostly as a guide for reflecting on what I've learned through my own mistakes.

This book is structured like a pretty typical business book, but explains the concept of high-leverage activities with very specific explanations of what actual engineers have done at actual tech companies. The best part is that it summarizes enough things from general audience boo
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nice and easy read. Useful for new guys. I guess the experienced guys would already know most of this.
Dushan Hanuska
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a good book for every engineer who wants to improve. I found the beginning to be of most value to me. The rest of the book was more story telling of personal experiences of the author or material I was already familiar with. Last chapter about team's growth was also something very useful to know, yet not typically addressed or even discussed at companies.
Overall it's a great book that I will be recommending to my fellow engineers.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although it is a technical book, I enjoyed the style, how it's written, and it hooked me to read through it. Overall, most of the insights are known, but it's nice to read them, with examples, in a single place.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good read, great insights. I found the book very motivating, with a lot of great suggestions on how to become a more effective engineer.
Jean Bahnik
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A few good pieces of advice here and there but could easily have been summed up in a blog post. Very autobiographical.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: skills, msl
«Лучше быть богатым и здоровым, чем бедным и больным».
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
I read this book with a friend from work during a time when both of us were feeling rather cynical. Nevertheless, I think there are good and useful ideas in here, especially in the first few chapters for the non-senior individual contributor perspective. The glowing quotes from engineering management are there because yes, it paint a good portrait of effective engineering work, that they would want to have on their teams.

As an individual, though, the main thing to question is the extent to which
Wojtek Ogrodowczyk
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm feeling ambivalent about this book.

On one hand, it starts with a revolutionary premise ("ha ha", laughed I in French) that _maybe_ working 60 hours a week is not the best way of getting things done. This is by all means a positive premise, especially in the toxic context of Silly Valley. Then he goes through a lot of different ways how we can make sure our time is spent in the best possible way. That is all cool.

However, this premise of not over-working is really tentative. The author doesn'
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
An eloquent and principles focused dissection of what makes a truly effective engineer. The core message is, 'Time is our most finite asset, and level — the value we produce per unit time — allows us to direct our time toward what matters most. Edmond first helps you develop the right mindset, understanding what leverage is, how to find activities that lead to it, how to prioritize and how to cultivate the capabilities to take advantage of leverage. Good execution is around the right tools and p ...more
Cliff Chew
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I will recommend this book to fresh graduates / junior engineers." This was what my company's principal engineers said when I told him I am reading this book for leisure. I am not an engineer, but I write scripts to process huge amounts of data, and without any strong technical background, this book helps provide me with some foundation on the things to look out for.

I feel that the chapters are paced relatively well, and the concepts explained are relatively simple to understand, by may times
Joe Conley
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lau's work is a solid formalization of techniques to help software engineers and product managers drive value in their organizations.

If you're a software engineer, I'd recommend taking your time with this book. Specifically, take each chapter and reflect on how it relates to your current role and how you could apply the lessons to increase your leverage (or if the lessons don't make sense at all). I initially tried to rush through it, skimming the personal stories, but I soon found the lessons w
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
Written somewhat in the style of The Pragmatic Programmer, Lau touches on dozens of concepts for becoming more effective in your role broken down across several high level categories. While I don't think any of the concepts introduced here are revolutionary, this is a quick, convenient way to summarize a lot of the high points across a swath of personal/technical development literature. Junior engineers will probably benefit the most from reading this, but it can also serve as an effective remin ...more
Anh Le
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A succinct compilation of good advice on engineering practices, with everything aiming towards being more productive. That goal may be simple, but there are many ways to reach it. There are tips to be more productive now (write clean code, automate your workflow, catch failures earlier), more productive later (emphasize learning and growth), and to make your team more productive (via hiring, communication).

I've read most of the advice on the blogosphere, but it's really helpful that the author c
Milhouse Van Houten
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I feel much more effective! The most effective engineers — the ones who have risen to become distinguished engineers and leaders at their companies — can produce 10 times the impact of other engineers, but they're not working 10 times the hours.
They've internalized a mindset that took me years of trial and error to figure out. I'm going to share that mindset with you — along with hundreds of actionable techniques and proven habits — so you can shortcut those years.
Introducing The Effective Engin
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This book is not technical but offers very useful high-level tips for any software engineer. Edmond Lau has worked at a few prestigious companies in Silicon Valley that are often recognised to hire the best software engineers, working and being surrounded by them has helped Edmond writing a very good guide to be an effective engineer. Edmond describes various techniques, strategies, best practices to both become a better developer and helping your team grow. The books is not long and is very eas ...more
Andrew Berezovskyi
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: _2017
A wonderful starting guide on the path to improve yourself as an engineer and/or engineering manager (because many advices in the book are not just the tips that affect your skills, but make you shift, or more correctly, balance certain priorities instead). I've already experienced a how a small fraction of them makes the project go smoother. Look forward to implementing the rest in 2017!

4 stars because it did exceed my expectations, but was quite repetitive at times.
Gaston Keller
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is loaded with ideas and advice to become a more effective professional in the field of software engineering. It is very practical and to the point, usually making use of anecdotes or interviews to back up its advice.

It took me a long time to finish the book -- not due to its length, but because I decided to read one or two sections at a time --, but I now have tons of notes with ideas to put into practice.
Vignesh Rajasekaran
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book summarizing useful tips for engineers from different principles. The author's experience of working at companies of different sizes and age has helped him to gather these insights. It felt more like refreshing some of the ideas that I knew. It is useful to know how some well funded Sillicon Valley startups with strong engineers can still fail at building a product. This triggered me to find and read more books which talk on the history of tech companies.
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