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Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach
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Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  918 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Becoming a Technical Leader is a personalized guide to developing the qualities that make a successful problem-solving leader. The book emphasizes that we all contain the ingredients for leadership, though some elements are better developed than others. "Anyone can improve as a leader simply by building the strength of our weakest elements, " author Gerald M. Weinberg writ ...more
Unknown Binding, 284 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated
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Manuel Antão
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Leadership is Like Sex: "Becoming a Technical Leader" by Gerald M. Weinberg Published 1986.
“Over the years, the biggest lesson we have learned from our workshops is that becoming a leader is not something that happens to you, but something that you do.”
“Leadership is like sex. Many people have trouble discussing the subject, but it never fails to arouse intense interest and feelings.”

In "Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Prob
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Various gems in the book can be assimilated only if the reader has had similar/relevant experience. Five years ago, I wouldn't have understood 50% of what I now take away with me.

I intend to occasionally pick a random chapter and re-read it in the future. My future self might be smarter and understand better the advice of Gerald Weinberg.
Phil Calçado
The author of the Foreword says what they'd change about this book is that it's somehow too long and too short at the same time. I agree. There are many interesting discussions and practical pieces of advice across the book, but to find them you have to read through pages and pages of quasi-related anecdotes and general rambling. ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The book provides many insights on how to be a problem-solving leader. It boils down to the following major points:

- Open to change, acknowledge personal ignorance.
- It’s all about people, and the puzzle of people is complex.
- It’s a continuous art to adapter and optimize on the complexity of people.
- A leader must have a personal vision as the foundation of leadership.
- A leader’s work is people.

Leadership is like sex. Many people have trouble discussing the subject, but it never fails to arous
Peter Hundermark
Read it!

Even after having had the privilege of experiencing Gerry and Ether’s PSL class, I found it surprisingly enriching.

Gerry has the unique gift of getting to the heart of the matter, providing enough meat to the bones of this thoughts to help you grasp them firmly.

I think aspiring leaders of any sort, not only “technical” ones, will learn much by reading this book.
Arun Sasidharan
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech, leadership
The book focuses on problem solving by teaching you how to think. Many nuggets of wisdom sprinkled evenly across all chapters.
Alexander Tomislav
I have been looking up books about technical management and this one was among the mostly recommended ones (along with Peopleware and Mythical Man Month) to develop and refine skills in technical leadership. Since I have no formal training in technical management, I wanted to learn more and make myself a more valuable member of our tech team.

This book comes from the Author's course "Technical Leadership in Computer Programming". It's basically a self-paced workshop, written as a book, broken do
Vít Kotačka
An excellent book about technical leadership. If I should summarize it, I would use this quote:
"Becoming a technical leader is not something that happens to you, but something that you do."

Beside that the book defines what technical leading is, it principally tells how to become this mythical person - a technical leader.

It's not something you are born with. It's something you have to work on very hard, fail many times, learn from your wounds, keep a flame of your motivation, explore dead end
May 14, 2013 added it
A book that provokes thought but doesn't answer questions. If you really want to experience this book I would suggest taking time after you've read it (or during!) to answer the questions and reflect on each of the chapters. ...more
Pawel Waclawczyk
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took me few months to go through this book. I'm not sure if i didn't pay enough attention or I just couldn't understand these ideas on the fly. Maybe with time I've became more familiar with idea behind this book, or focused more on each chapter including exercises. After reading this book I'm sure of one thing, becoming a leader, is not something what happens, it's something we do. And doing requires being aware of what are we going to do, why are we going to do that, what are strengths and ...more
Omran Antar
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book to help in my studies but wasn't much related but I still enjoyed it. The exercises and questions at the end of each chapter helps you to connect what you've read with your own experience. The author argues that everyone whether a manager or not is a leader in a certain way. He emphasizes how everyone can benefit and utilize his or her skills to have some sort of leadership power in his or her team. I wish people leading me think the same way the author thinks about leaders that ...more
Kannan Ramamoorthy
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
- Book talks about some attributes that are required.
- The content seemed convincing.
- Some of the questions in the sections are provoking and probes to introspect.

Not so good:
- Being from a technical background, I felt like at points the technical skills are taken for granted.
- Some points, the explanations seemed VERY DRAMATIC and ingenuine, contradicting one of the topics in the book which asked to be genuine.
- It doesn't seems radical or a must-read for the above reasons.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather good read - pragmatism and insight from a doer and a thinker who is a teacher. The author is better known for his book on general systems theory, but this is a different kind of book. It is not only for people stepping into management but also for those who've been in management and in the school of hard knocks. ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about leading a technical team I have ever read. Extremely helpful in adding perspective, direction, and empathy to the difficult task of leadership.
I've always come across books that struck me as wrong for me at the present time. Books that were too simplified or were full of "yeah I already knew all of that" that I should have read much earlier, or books that were full of ideas and solutions to problems I was too immature to appreciate. I think I've read this book at exactly the right time. I have experienced enough similar problems that this book addresses that it has given me a new set of tools to more forward with. It also contains a lo ...more
David Mytton
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This book reads more like a collection of ordered essays. They link together and flow well, but the level of depth is variable. Some topics are described and explained in a lot of detail. In those cases, the concepts are well explained and communicated clearly. However, some topics seem like it's only just getting started.

For example, one chapter proposes the idea of daily journalling. It implies that the value is in the future when you can review what you've written and how you are progressing
Jon Jones
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I work and have worked looking after teams for a number of years. I read this book to try and help me to work more effectively and communicate better within those teams. This is the best book I've read on leadership for people who work within IT.

The books start off with the principle that completely redefined what I classed as a leader. A technical leader is anyone within a team who has influence over it. This means that most people who are mid-level up have a responsibility to learn how to be
Gerben Oostra
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: readinglist-2020
Provides a good perspective on technical leadership, with many lessons. It has however a low signal to noise ratio. The first half about motivation, organization and innovation, and the innovation process, were insightful.
Big part however feels like a collection of notes about various topics, without a clear storyline between them.
Some chapters consist mainly of some anecdotal stories. The actual insights could however be summarised in at most 1 paragraph.
At some moments, it's also clear the b
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
A must-read book about leadership

I’ve actually started recommending this book to my friends and coworkers before finishing it. The title would set you for some expectations that you will realise after you start reading that it’s not right and the book’s scope is wider than this. It’s a very interesting read about leadership and very entertaining at the same time. I know that one of my weaknesses is writing a review, so sure another review would be more helpful but I wanted to express how much I
Benjamin Scherrey
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for years but am just now re-reading it for probably the 5th time and using it to create a course of instruction for technical leadership inside my organization. Jerry's insights and advice are always on point and practical but then continue on to become philosophical in the end. Hard to over recommend this book if you're leading a technical team. Doesn't matter if you yourself are technical or not. This book will improve your work experience and that of your colleagues. ...more
Bobby Ratliff
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work, p-books
This book has been recommended to me by several software engineers for growing in leadership, and it was well worth the read. The questions at the end of each chapter were thought-provoking, and often had me putting the book down and spending a few moments in thought. For me that is the mark of a good self-help book. Weinberg keeps the pace going by mixing in some dialogue and stories from his consulting and workshops, which help make the content a little more interesting.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I have read a third, skimmed through past the middle and there was basically just 1 or 2 paragraphs about being a TECHNICAL leader.
There is a lot of information about pin-ball, overeating and keeping a personal diary though, so if you are interested in any of the above described in a quite wordy manner, this book is for you.
Andreea Ratiu
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've learned an interesting framework from this book: MOI (motivation, organisation, inovation) and how each contributes to a person's leadership style. But what I like the most was that often time I was challenged to think about myself and my work from a new perspective and try to really understand myself as a person and my motivations. ...more
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
I read it in Japanese. Sometimes, there was heavy words, but overall I liked the message.
I re-read this book time to time. And I loved last paragraph, we don't know yet if we want to become a manager or not.
I really don't want to be a manager. But it was helpful to understand my managers :)
Marty Hu
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a much better book than I thought it would be. It talks about leadership but from an analytical, no BS, engineering approach. The book reads like a curious engineer who is figuring out management from first principles. Also, I LOVED the story about Shirley and the Ice cream.
Cindy Berube
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very helpful book I read for work.
Jan Holcapek
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, paperback
This was my second read of the book. Still consider it great. Mostly helps you organize yourself.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains a lot of stuff. That also makes it a though read. Nice stories, interleaved with good knowledge. Probably a book that I should reread in a couple of months/years.
Marcus Autenrieth
Fun to read, many examples, took a lot from the book.
An Nguyen
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good books for the potential technical leaders.
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Gerald Marvin Weinberg (October 27, 1933 – August 7, 2018) was an American computer scientist, author and teacher of the psychology and anthropology of computer software development.

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Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
41 likes · 7 comments
“problem-solving leaders have one thing in common: a faith that there's always a better way.” 10 likes
“People don't become leaders because they never fail. They become leaders because of the way they respond to failure.” 7 likes
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