Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[Book Review] Team Geek

Book Review for Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others , by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman, OReilly ISBN 978-1-449-30244-3.

First, I think any book that has earned praises from Vint Cerf deserves to be read, just saying. :)

This is not your grandmother's self-help, let's-work-on-conflicts, how-to-find-your-purpose book. An easy to read book with lots of humor makes reading this book an enjoyable ride. The authors doesn't sugar coat anything and speaks to you in a matter of fact manner. I mean, until they pointed out in page 17, "your != code", I suddenly realize 'do' sometimes mistakenly become defensive when somebody make suggestions about my code. As the book pointed out, nobody likes to be criticized, but the risk of working in silo is the risk of wasting your valuable time in going down the wrong track, which choice would you rather have? Lots of useful advices in the book. 

I personally find the two chapters on 'Dealing with Poisonous People' and 'The Art of Organizational Manipulation' very useful. Despite the tabloid like titles, as the authors openly admit, the two chapters try to deal with serious issues that we all face in our careers at one time or anther.  Whether you are trying to deal with people who takes time away from your time and focus, or dealing with an office politician, there are ways to minimize the impact while still get things done. The book suggested a few ways to do so. 

Some chapters might be a bit focus on the software development ecosystem, but the dynamics should be applicable in multiple situations. As engineers, we all seek the truth, but the reality is that we deal more with human emotions that are 'spontaneously buggy'. They can be your coworkers, users, or yourself. Until somebody pointed them out in plain text, it just might not be so obvious
to you. 

Bottom line, this is a short, enjoyable read. I feel like I received valuable lessons that I can apply to my life and career. I hope you would enjoy the book too.  

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