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Henrik Samuelsson
Henrik Samuelsson

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Read 100 Technical Books in 2020

One of my goals is to read 100 technical books in 2020. Lets break this into sub-parts to see if the goal makes sense.


Reading is in my humble opinion a valid option for what to choose to spend your time on. There are a lot of benefits of reading, if to make a top five list so are the following worth mentioning:

  1. Sharpens your brain, reduces risk of dementia and Alzheimers.
  2. Cheap hobby, the cost of a book per hour is often low, compared to other hobbies as for example going to a music concert.
  3. Can help your career to move forward faster. I personally would probably have earned less yearly if not having learned how to develop properly from books
  4. Environmentally friendly, spending your time reading have a very low ecological footprint compared nearly everything you can do except sleeping maybe.
  5. Learn your history, a lot of things that a person my perceive as new is only the same old thing reinvented and had the person read about it could he have saved a lot of time not having to reinvent something already existing.


The number 100 comes from that I read 62 books in 2019 which was a record for me and I want to beat this record in 2020. If setting up your own reading challenge so try to adapt the number of books to read after the number you think you could handle. Any number is fine but it should be high enough to make it challenging because you most likely want grow as much as you can as a person during 2020.

Rereading already read books is fine and counts towards the goal but I have setup the goal so that at least 50 of the books shall be new books not read before.

Technical Books

I will read mainly various technical books due to that these types of books are more challenging to read than many other types of books. Another reason for focusing on the technical books is that it will likely aid me in taking my career to the next level.

I plan to focus on reading books from the following technical fields:

  • Computer science classics, this is books like Design Patterns, The Mythical Man-Month, The Pragmatic Programmer, Clean Code etc.
  • Books on the C programming language, C is the main language used where I work so becoming better at this language is beneficial.
  • Agile Project Management books, people still keep talking about how agile they are and how great this is, have still not really understood the the hype around this so will give it another try to see if there is anything hidden below all the talk.
  • Learn a new programming language slash framework or two, not decided but thinking maybe Typescript or Kotlin.
  • Software Architecture books, interesting field that I want to improve on, nitty-gritty details in all honor but being able to understand and structure the bigger picture is of course also important.


All goals and challenges must have a deadline and 2020 have just started so why not make the best of this year.

Top comments (2)

shinygreenrobot profile image
Henrik Samuelsson

Second book finished this year was 21st Century C written by Ben Klemens.

This is a book about C-programming that can be considered to be intermediate or advanced. A wide variety of topics are discussed at a high tempo so the book is kind of more informative of what is out there, and you will then have to go deeper in the topics that are useful to you.

Key takeaways from this was the information on useful C libraries such as GSL, GLib, and cURL. The section on how to write object oriented code in C was also interesting.

2 books completed and 98 to go before the year ends.

shinygreenrobot profile image
Henrik Samuelsson

Have finished reading (actually listening) my first book for the year.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual written by John Z. Sonmez.

This book is mix of advice for how to advance your career as a software developer and a self-help book. The topics varies wildly from, productivity, how to market your self, fitness, how to invest, etc.

Some parts of the book are in my opinion good. I for example agree on the strategies presented for learning new things, which is something you must be able to do as a software developer. There is also chapter on negotiating your salary that is useful when you negotiate offers at a job interview. Other sections of the book are more questionable like for example the chapter on stock options trading.

My rating for this book ends up at 3 out of 5 stars. (In this case indicating a book probably worth your time reading but not without flaws.)

About audio books

The book Soft Skill was not in a conventional book form but I instead listened to it as an audio book. It is at least to me harder to get the content to stick when just listening to a book compared to reading it. Many technical books are also on the form that they are not at all suited for audio, for example books with code listings and mathematics.

But there is also a benefit to audio books and this is that you can listen to them and have your hands and body free to do other things at the same time. So you can for example, drive, exercise, cook, etc, while at the same time learning something new.

If wanting to read a lot so is highly recommended to have both an audio books ongoing in parallel with an conventional book (in paper form or e-book). Since there will be times during the day where one format will fit better than the other.