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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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  717 ratings  ·  44 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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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  717 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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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.
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 ends
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.
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
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
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.
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
Wahid Shalaly
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
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.
Christine Yen
Surprised myself with how much I appreciated the questions at the end of each chapter.
Mario Sailer
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book started very promising in the first chapter but turned into some sort of home story afterwards.
Although I am convinced that Gerald M. Weinberg has a lot of knowledge, he more or less describes the experiences he has made as a leader and as a coach of leaders. Then he comes up with conclusions, some oft them more or less out of the air. In total, the book is not convincing at all and it does not comprise more than common sense.
Tom Tao
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would like to re-read this book a few months/years after. The author is a great storyteller, despite being a technical leaders for IBM for many years.

The only downside is I was lost in the chapters in the middle for a while, and I am glad the last chapter finish strong - "building your personal supporting system"
Matthew Brown
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Details an approach to the various aspects of motivation, organization, and idea management that are important for problem solving leaders
Erik Talboom
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I personally liked the active format that is used in this book where every chapter ends with an activating list of questions and experiments. I loved the view on learning, how it differs from the simplistic linear growth idea. The last few chapters were somehow more difficult to read for me and I don't really know why exactly. I have heard this from other readers as well, but they also couldn't point out the "problem" with this part of the book. For me it felt like the last few chapters didn't h ...more
Justin Weiss
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing about all of Jerry Weinberg's books? No matter when I read them, I wish I had read them years earlier. There are so many hard lessons in leadership that this book would have helped me learn, and many more ideas for improving from here on out. And the way they're delivered helps them stick, with anecdotes and relationships with other ideas from other places in the book.
May Ling
Even before I finished the book, I was recommending it to others. Weinberg is a programmer and speaks very honestly about the fact that many technical experts are poor leaders, not because it's hopeless, but because there less formal training for these folks. Indeed, their weakness, i.e. the soft skills required to become a leader, get little to no attention. It was the perfect book, as my role has me often encouraging others to play to their weaknesses.

It gets highly detailed in parts. Still,
Ashraf Bashir
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: management
In general, this is a good book, but I didn't like the way it is organized. The author has a lot of knowledge and experience, but he would never give you the answer that you are waiting for. When you read this book you will notice that it contains lot of real life discussions, and after the discussions, the author will not give you the point behind the discussions, he will leave it up to you to learn from the situation mentioned, which something I don't like; that's why you may find full chapter ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
I read this book from the perspective of someone that is in a senior technical position, but not looking to be a full-fledged manager. This book has some good practices for anyone that is any kind of leadership position (either by title or by circumstance). A lot of the focus was on what you can do to "work your way to the top," but it wasn't in way that steps on others to do so. In fact, one of the main things about being a good leader is to help those you are leading grow, too.
Israel Fermín Montilla
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a programmer, I've been through several situations described in this book, I wish I had it before, I've been growing in my career and hopefully what I learned from this book, would help me accelerate that growing. This forced me to change a lot of habits and cultivate some others, recommended 100%
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book opened my eyes to very many aspects of being a leader. The writting can be hard sometimes but it's totaly worth it. It puts very many proffesional and private matters into perspective. Good real life examples that teach you there is no good and bad approach to any problem. Very motivating and inspirational. Worth reading more than once.
Nynke Fokma
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book, used it as a textbook for 20 years teaching at the university. I thought the movie Martian is an excellent example of this kind of leadership: problem solving leadership. Weinberg weaves facts into narrative. A great reference book to have.
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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.
“problem-solving leaders have one thing in common: a faith that there's always a better way.” 9 likes
“People don't become leaders because they never fail. They become leaders because of the way they respond to failure.” 6 likes
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