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Book List 2023

This year, 2023, felt like an emotional rollercoaster. The massive layoffs by many organizations in my industry, including the company I work for, brought about emotions of fear, insecurity, and what David Noer calls “layoff survivor sickness”. This, coupled with lower payouts and rising costs, influenced much of my reading as I processed and problem-solved. Don’t get me wrong, I feel truly blessed to have been spared from this economic crisis. I recognize that my experiences are nothing compared to those who were truly affected. My heart goes out to them…

In a year where it was challenging to rely on people and organizations, it was the strengthening of my faith in God that kept me going. Constant prayers brought me clarity and perspective about what truly mattered to me — my relationship with God and my family. Counterintuitively, one solution was to spend a lot of extra time doing “work” that I enjoyed, outside of regular work hours. Doing so reminded me of the things that I loved doing, not because I had to (as demanded by work) but because I wanted to (it was outside of work hours, after all). This is something that I learned from a friend and colleague who went through something similar.

I share all of this to say that, in addition to the books I’ve read, I truly enjoyed learning and coding with GenAI, enough that I can now humbly call myself an “AI Engineer”. The rapid pace of innovation since OpenAI’s ChatGPT became widely popular has been a constant source of excitement. Although the extra hours did take significant time away from my family, it resulted in me being happier and more present (or undistracted) when I’m with them.

So in addition to the books below, here are some extras that I have spent a lot of time learning:

  1. GenAI and Large Language Models (many specifics shared in this blog)
  2. Python programming and Jupyter notebooks (GitHub Copilot really helped!). You can check out my GitHub repos
  3. Microsoft AI certifications (see my LinkedIn profile)

Now here are the books that I’ve read this year:

Personal Development

  1. BibleProject - One Story That Leads to Jesus (MUST READ, HIGHLY RECOMMEND)
  2. Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You by Dr. Henry Cloud (MUST READ)
  3. How Highly Effective People Speak: How High Performers Use Psychology to Influence With Ease _by Peter D. Andrei
  4. The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Why Talented People Quit and How to Get Them to Stay by Friederike Fabritius*
  5. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by Dr. David Rock*

Mental Health

  1. Anxiety at Work: 8 Strategies to Help Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty, and Get Stuff Done* by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
  2. Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations* by David Noer (MUST READ)
  3. The Mental Toughness Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Facing Life’s Challenges, Managing Negative Emotions, and Overcoming Adversity with Courage and Poise by Damon Zahariades (MUST READ)
  4. Mental Illness at Work: A Manager’s Guide to Identifying, Managing and Preventing Psychological Problems in the Workplace by Mary-Clare Race and Adrian Furnham*
  5. Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers and Employees* by Gill Hasson and Donna Butler
  6. Undress Your Stress: 30 Curiously Fun Ways to Take Off Tension* by Lois Levy

Professional Development and Leadership

  1. Bedtime Stories from an AI: How Machine Intelligence is Changing the Way We Create by Uli Hitzel
  2. Effective Emails: The Secret to Straightforward Communication at Work by Chris Fenning
  3. Lean Change Management: Innovative Practices For Managing Organizational Change by Jason Little
  4. ProActive Sales Management: How to Lead, Motivate, and Stay ahead of the Game by William “Skip” Miller
  5. The First Minute: How to Start Conversations that Get Results by Chris Fenning
  6. Value-Driven Business Process Management: The Value-Switch for Lasting Competitive Advantage by Peter Franz and Mathias Krichmer

Agile Transformation

I had the pleasure to help in a (non-software engineering) HR Agile Transformation. This lead me to read the following:

  1. Agile Coaching: Where to Start? by Dmitri Larandine (RECOMMENDED)
  2. Agile HR: Deliver Value in a Changing World of Work by Natal Dank and Riina Hellström (RECOMMENDED)
  3. Agile People: A Radical Approach for HR & Managers (That Leads to Motivated Employees) by Pia-Maria Thoren
  4. Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility by Jonathan Smart
  5. The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience into Your Competitive Advantage by Roland Smart

Parenting

  1. Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
  2. Parenting: Getting it Right by Andy & Sandra Stanley (MUST READ)

Finance

  1. God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer (MUST READ)
  2. How to Swing Trade by Brian Pezim
  3. I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi (RECOMMENDED for US Residents)

Books with * (suffix) were summaries read from GetAbstract.com

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.