My Top 3 Books of 2018

My 2018 reading list included several books that I really enjoyed and will have a lasting impact on me moving forward.

2 of these 3 books are applicable to most people I believe, and the 3rd is extremely relevant if you’re an Android and/or Kotlin developer.

So, without further ado, here are my top 3 books of 2018.

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

This book had a massive impact on me over the course of this past year. Through reading this book, I began to recognize areas of my life where I was letting fear and shame hold me back. These ranged from things like sending a tweet, to how I participate in code review, and how I perceive new challenges like public speaking or organizing a conference.

It helped me begin to honestly acknowledge how much I let the opinions of others seep into my perception of myself, and how I was avoiding going after the things that I wanted because of the fear of what others might think or say.

In many ways, the book is built and expands upon the ideas from this famous Theodore Roosevelt quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

It helped me re-frame the challenges in my life and recognize that any great undertaking will include struggles and vulnerability, and that that is exactly as it should be. It’s too easy, in this social media day and age, to believe that success happens overnight; that it’s easy for some people. However, that is not the case and coming to grips with the fact that my struggles and insecurities are normal and actually a good thing has been a game changer.

Not only was this book beneficial for me individually, but it is tremendously relevant for teams and managers. Teams cannot thrive in an environment where they don’t feel safe, and so Daring Greatly details dives into how you can build more productive and innovative teams by creating an environment that encourages vulnerability and authenticity of the individual employee.

“Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.”

Brené Brown

If you’ve ever struggled with impostor syndrome, held back your ideas for fear of being rebuked, or avoided going after your dreams because of what others might think, then I think this book is worth your time.


Crushing It!

Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

This book has almost nothing to do with software development, and yet I think it can be of enormous value to software developers, and anyone else out there, who are looking to develop their personal brand and build an influence within their field.

For me, this book came at a perfect time when I was thinking about ways in which I could engage with, and help, more people. It helped shape the way I think about using social media, how I go about bringing authenticity into what I put out publicly, and was a huge inspiration for starting my YouTube channel.

It illustrates numerous stories from people who were able to turn their passions and hobbies into thriving businesses. It demonstrates how you can use tools like social media to build your following to help more people learn, dream, create, build, etc. And it does all of this across a variety of platforms, so whatever your preferred medium of communication there are examples here for you.

If you’re someone who would like to have a better defined personal brand, or a greater influence, or who would like to make a living doing what you love every day, then I think this book is worth the read.


Kotlin In Action

Kotlin in Action by Dmitry Jemerov and Svetlana Isakova

Honestly, I don’t have a ton to say about this book other than that it is one of the best resources available for learning the Kotlin programming language.

Over the past year, I’ve given multiple talks, written a number of articles, and published quite a few videos on Youtube all related to Kotlin. Kotlin In Action has helped with all of it.

It was especially useful when I was preparing to give a talk on functions in Kotlin. It was a fantastic resource to really dive deep into the language and understand all the features related to functions and how they can be used. The same goes for pretty much all other facets of the language as well.

If you’re looking for a great resource for learning Kotlin, then Kotlin In Action should definitely be considered.


That’s it! There are my top 3 books from 2018. If they intrigued you, I hope you’ll give them a read, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about specifics of each book.

Happy reading!

Full Reading List Can Be Found Here


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