Books for software engineers and managers

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a  F*ck

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good  Life

by Mark Manson

Star Engineer

How strongly do I recommend The Subtle Art of Not Giving a  F*ck?
6 / 10

Review of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

This is a good book for software engineers who feel discouraged reading Hacker News comments about 24 year olds at Facebook making $400k.

You won’t find anything earth shattering in this book, but you will find comfort knowing you’re not alone searching for humanity and sustainable values in a transactional and egotistical world.

Exceptionalism surrounds us and sets unrealistic  expectations

Instagram grew to fame based on exceptionalism. Fantastic vacations in exotic places eating decadent food. Perfect gym bodies. People reading 50 books a year. Yes, I’m part of the problem too.

Exceptionalism also surrounds us at work, on Hacker News, and throughout the pages of books I treasure. So I need to point this out:

Software engineering isn’t all FAANG and Silicon Valley.

Based on what I read in Brotopia, I’m kind of glad to consider myself outside that clique.

I’m proud to work for a smaller company that’s been around for 7 years. We build an incredible product, work full-stack, and everyone on my team is equipped with both tremendous autonomy and responsibility. That’s my jam.

We are the worst observers of  ourselves

Left to our own critiques, personal growth is difficult because we’re not built to make ourselves feel discomfort. We might challenge ourselves a little, but nothing like how another person can challenge us by calling our bullshit.

When you’re looking for a new job, interview your prospective manager closely.

Your prospective manager should be talking about challenging you. Pushing you past your comfort zone, incrementally and repeatedly. Helping you be your best.

Giving up a value you depend on will feel  disorienting

One day your career will hit an inflection point. You will realize that one of your behaviors is destructive. You’ve been thinking it, but today you’ve resigned yourself to this truth. Beforehand it’s hard to predict what that behavior will be.

Something that you’ve prided yourself on. Something you’ve attached your identity to. Something that defines who you are.

Giving up this behavior will feel disorienting. You may feel like a failure, having invested a significant portion of your life living this value.

This pain is both necessary and appropriate.

For me, it was giving up a 24/7 work schedule. I used to pride myself on 16 hour days, staying up coding till 4am, and generally burning the candle at both ends.

Giving that up felt strange and occasionally, I still want to have a marathon coding session fueled by Mountain Dew and pizza. So I indulge. But it’s no longer who I am.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck