Book Review, “Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others”

I first heard about this book from a20120930-185830.jpg
 mention of Team Geek on boingboing. As a Buddhist, a telecommuter and a technical team lead this seemed right up my alley.

I have spent more than my share of my career interacting with others in a less than helpful way. Many of us have: our skills shine when we interact with computers but fall short when it comes to human beings. The writers of this book understand our plight fully and have been there themselves.

Team Geek is an easy read. It is a set of different talks stitched together but does not feel disjointed. The book provides guidelines for creating a team, maintaining and hiring into a team and interactions internal and external to the team. It shows ways to deal with user needs, mean and negative feedback, and how to navigate crazy corporate bureaucracy.

Whether a software team member, a team leader or a manager of people the values of Humility, Respect and Trust are shown as essential to all of our interactions. The importance of these values in our everyday work is the book’s central thesis. Many concepts are presented by relating funny real-world experiences. Some anecdotes are in the context of the authors’ work at Google while some come from the outside world, but all apply to what the reader will encounter over the course of their career.

There is something in here for all of us in the software world. It’s a shame that the ones who need it the most – those disillusioned with their careers or jaded by their experiences – are the least likely to read it. Adopting the practices put forth here will help you take a little more control over your happiness and sanity.

Available in paperback for about 14 bucks, could save you hundreds of thousands as the years go by.

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