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Periklis Gkolias
Periklis Gkolias

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Must-read books for software engineers — the alternative list

There are tons of great books out there and a gazillion articles recommending them. The purpose of this article is not to recommend them again; I am pretty certain, that all such lists are very easy to be found with a few Google searches and no one needs me to tell him, that Code Complete is a must-read.

Thus, I’m going to list some books that are not very…popular, but they are totally worth reading. All the reviews below, are derived from my own experience.

Effective debugging:

I don’t expect people to know this book as it’s relatively new in the market. The reason I know it, it is because I had the honor to work with the author of the book Mr. Diomidis Spinellis.

The book contains 66 items, each one describing a different case a developer might face while spending time debugging software.

The focus of the book is on many aspects of the art of debugging, like system debugging, static debugging, compile-time debugging, symbolic debugging and lots of “corporate friendly” techniques etc.

Debug it:

Similarly to the previous item, this is a book that will equip you with the tools techniques and approaches to help you tackle any bug with confidence. On the contrary to effective debugging above, I believe it is focusing, entirely, to enterprise software. Debugging is taking the majority of time during the development cycle, so it is extremely important to master it.

Think like a programmer:

This book is mostly focusing on new developers, but the experienced ones can benefit from it too. It has various examples, on how to approach problem-solving; like reducing it to an existing problem you know already how to solve, or solving first a similar one with less or “easier” constraints.

Emphasis is also given to the techniques of recursion and code reuse. The book is accompanied by a video playlist from the author’s YouTube channel, which I would recommend as a follow up too.

The 5 second rule:

As you probably figured it out already, this is not a technical book, but rather a book on beating procrastination. And yes, most people are procrastinators, even though they don’t dare to admit it.

How do I know that? Because procrastination is a mechanism of our minds, to deal with stressful tasks(how about not reading for the upcoming exams and playing Need for Speed?). And unless you are leaving in a cave, you are experiencing even a tiny amount of stressful situations every day.

Procrastination is torturing a lot of people today, and if you want to progress your life and your career you need to tame it.

That’s the aim of this book; the concept is very simple and maybe it can be summarised on one page. But it is the stories and the context behind them, that is inspiring and making it worth reading it.


I hope you will find those books interesting and useful. Please do not hesitate to comment below, regarding your own ‘alternative choices’ or how those books helped you.

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