After a long series of Turkish posts, I've decided to increase the number of English posts. Ones that get good attention will get translated to Turkish.
A quick retrospective of my reading habits in 2020
When the year started, I've set up an ambitious goal of reading 50 books in the year 2020. According to Goodreads, I've completed 16 books. Add the ones I've stopped reading before completion, it's around 30 books. I should admit at this point that book count isn't a good metric. I can fill up the numbers by reading a bunch of short books. Instead, I'm going to set goals based on subjects and series, so I'll have a much more tangible metric when the year 2021 ends.
NOTE: I'm not endorsed by any publisher or author. I've purchased every book listed here physically.
Here are the books I plan to read this year, grouped by their value:
Becoming a Better Software Developer
As a developer that writes Swift every day, I had a goal of reading more about the language in depth (what happens under the hood). That's why I plan to read these 2 books:
Swift In Depth — Tjeerd in 't Veen
This is a book that aims to teach its reader to write cleaner Swift code. The main reason I bought this was to create a video series on my YouTube channel about avoiding pitfalls on Swift development. I like to see different approaches to teach a subject.
Advanced Swift — Chris Eidhof, Ole Begemann, Florian Kugler, and Ben Cohen
This is the book if you want to learn how Swift operates, and how to write more efficient code using Swift. I've started reading this in 2019, but couldn't finish. Then it got updated for Swift 5, and I'll start reading from scratch.
Thinking in SwiftUI — Chris Eidhof, Florian Kugler
In addition to Swift, SwiftUI is a new UI framework by Apple. I already released a 20-video long series on iOS Development with SwiftUI (Turkish) on YouTube. Still, SwiftUI is new and different, and some concepts need an in-depth understanding. This book helps you to get your mind around the concepts used in SwiftUI development. Very curious to read this one.
Becoming a Better Designer
To become a better designer, one must read all kinds of books. But reading some theory on the practice of design won't hurt.
Learning iOS Design — William van Hecke
Not actually iOS specific, this book tells about designing good software in general. The author was working for the Omni Group, creators of great software company. Started reading the first chapter by December 2020, I'm taking notes all the time.
Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines — Apple Computer Inc.
Remember a time Apple was Apple Computer Inc. ? I do. This book is a printed version of the Human Interface Guidelines for the Mac OS System 6. It's a gem for the user experience designer since it tells about the 12 principles of design and how Apple improved the ideas from Xerox's work and made modern computer interaction we use today. I heard that this book is still being taught at universities.
Design as Art — Bruno Munari
This is a thought piece by Munari about how we perceive designed objects we user every day. I tend to read these books about the role of designers and how great designers think about this profession.
Books to Live a More Fulfilled Life
I rarely read self-help books, and these are not self-help books.
Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn — Richard Hamring
I've seen this while browsing Stripe Press's website and the premise got me hooked: Why some scientists achieve great things and most others don't. How to aim for greatness. For someone who wants to achieve great things, this book is on the top of my to-read list.
Why We Sleep — Matthew Walker
I read this book first by the end of 2019. Started re-reading it by the end of 2020. Life changing book. In my top-10 recommendations list of all time.
Rich Dad Poor Dad — Robert T. Kiyosaki
This was recommended to me by a friend. A bestseller on how to approach finances. The mindset of the rich people vs. the poor. I think by the end of it I'll fall into the poor category. Thankfully I'm not poor, but I ain't getting richer :D
12 Rules for Life — Jordan Peterson
I know that Jordan Peterson's thoughts has caused a lot of controversy online. I've watched a few of his lectures online, and his life lessons were very impressive. Bought his book and very eager to read it.
Books to Quench my Curiosity
Soul of A New Machine — Tracy Kidder
The way people made computers and software in the 80s was always awe-inspiring to me. No Internet, no Stack Overflow. Yet these engineers built great software and machines. This Pulitzer winning book tells the story of a computer building team in 1981. Also inspired the TV show "Halt and Catch Fire", which is a great show.
Uncanny Valley — Anna Wiener
A memoir about how Silicon Valley startups actually operate, written by a non-technical woman who left her job from a book publisher to join a startup. This definition alone made me buy it. Also got many "Book of the Year" awards.
Lurking — Joanne McNeil
A research book on how a person became a user by the eyes of the tech companies. Also by MCG books like the one above, also got many awards.
Life in Code — Ellen Ullman
As a programmer since the late 70s, the author had seen it all: rise of personal computing, beginning of the popular programming languages of today, and how computers evolved over the years. In the book she looks at the last 20 years of development, and predicts how all these will affect the next years. I also have her other book "Close to the Machine" on my to-read list.
The Disappearance of Childhood — Neil Postman
I've found out about Neil Postman through his "HOW TO LIVE THE RESTOF YOUR LIFE" paper, which was mentioned by Austin Kleon. Kleon suggested his books, and these next three books got me interested.
Postman explains how the term childhood was invented, and how the boundary between the childhood and adulthood is eroding via television and media. Written in 1982. Depressing.
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology — Neil Postman
Embracing new technology without questioning it is a threat to culture and society, Postman claims. Being someone that tries to embrace new technologies, i think I can learn new things from this.
Teaching as a Subversive Activity — Neil Postman
With this book Neil Postman questions the current state of education, how a better model can be implemented to teach kids "learning to learn". As a teacher myself (teaching programming through YouTube is teaching, okay?), this was an instant purchase.
Meditations — Marcus Aurelius
I've seen this book so many times on Goodreads and my Twitter feed, I couldn't resist anymore. I don't know anything about Stoic philosophy besides definition, heard that this is a great introduction.
Thinking, Fast & Slow — Daniel Kahneman
Famous for being the book most people stop reading after 10-15 pages, a friend's suggestion –he finished it!– made me interested. A comprehensive science book on how people think. Same friend claims that a separate book can be written for every page of this book. It's that informative and dense. Will read this at a slow pace.
Jerusalem: The Biography — Simon Sebag Montefiore
We all read the news about this holy city Jerusalem when there is conflict. I knew that Jerusalem was always a holy city and a place of interest for multiple parties, so I picked this book to read a story-like history of the city.
Small Fry — Lisa Brennan Jobs
Steve Jobs from the eyes of his daughter. Bought this on my last visit to Amsterdam, still in my to-read list.
Novelist As A Vocation — Haruki Murakami
I've met Murakami-san with his book "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" in 2020. This collection of his essays about being a writer will be released in English in 2021, but it's already translated to Turkish from its 2015 Japanese version.
I've started many Sci-Fi and Fantasy series in 2020. I aim to continue reading more sequels.
Foundation and Empire
First book was really good. It was also my introduction to Asimov's writings. I tend to put some space between good fiction books. I think it's time to read the second book.
Earthsea: The Farthest Shore (3rd book)
I plan to read the next Earthsea book during my Earthsea retreat I did last 2 years, in September — up in the mountains somewhere in Turkey, sitting on a chair in the middle of the forest. I do this because I get so immersed in LeGuin's writing. If you liked Harry Potter, than you should read this as its ancestor. Way better than Harry Potter in every aspect.
DUNE: Messiah — Frank Herbert (2nd Book)
I read DUNE in 2020. I will keep reading them until the last book Frank Herbert wrote. The world keeps sucking me in.
Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt — Robert Jordan (2nd book)
I aim to make this year which I seriously progressed reading this series. I have all 15 books on my shelf and I still couldn't start the second book. I know that the series find its tone starting the 4th book (after 3000 pages lol), I hope I can make it to the 4th book before 2022.
His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife — Philip Pullman (2nd book)
When I learned that the TV show was coming out, I read the first book. Great character work, a magical world that coexists with our world, good pacing. Also recommended if you liked Harry Potter.
The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth
I was on a book hunt when I saw Philip Pullman's (author of His Dark Materials) video on Book of Dust. He said that these books weren't prequels or sequels to His Dark Materials, but an equal. That got me interested and I read the first book alongside Goldan Compass. Lots of spoilers about Lyra's past, but since the second book came out, I'll read the second Book of Dust after reading the Subtle Knife.
A lot of people think that software developers mostly read about…well, software. Reading about the craft is important but any creative field would benefit from reading on different subjects. I hope this list made you add at least one book to your to-read list. I frequently update my Goodreads list, you can also follow me from there.