You’ve been seeing “Best of 2023” lists and have probably started to see “What to Expect in 2024” and “Habits to Start in the New Year”. We are here to put a twist on those themes by recommending a group of books you can read now to get a jumpstart on your goals for 2024. What follows are several of my (and MercuryWorks staff) favorites to include on your reading list. Whether you’re a manager, engineer or business leader you’ll find a lot of inspiration in these selections.
Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
I can’t remember the last time I read a book that hit me right between the eyes with as many realities of growing a business, building a product and cultivating a team. Probably not since The Hard Thing About the Hard Things have as many truths that I am currently experiencing or have gone through in my career unfurled in front of me. This book has a much greater emphasis on the blocking, tackling and grueling execution of building and marketing engineering work product than The Hard Thing but one thing they have in common is that they are written be legendary operators who know exactly what they’re talking about.
Only the Paranoid Survive
Another classic from an OG of the game: Andy Grove. While this book is over 25 years old at this point, it has stood the test of time in providing guidance to leaders on how to recognize and manage through strategic inflection points. Since I think we are in the midst of a major strategic inflection point in our industry (I guess I should name it: AI), this is a good reminder for technology leaders on how to identify and steer your ship through a major change in direction.
The Obstacle is the Way
We included this book in our Summer 2023 reading list but since we can’t recommend it enough, it gets a repeat for 2024. And speaking of repeating, if you have read this new classic before, it might be time for a re-read. Bringing the classic Stoic philosophy into a modern context, this book definitely helped me establish the mindset of “things aren’t ever going to get easy, keep that in mind, keep working and be much happier”.
Cloud FinOps: 2nd Edition
Here’s a change in flavor for the books we’ve recommended so far. This is a definite niche book but most people reading this post are likely operating in the cloud and at one time or another have been smacked with a monthly bill you either didn’t expect or didn’t understand. Our industry is wonderful at creating acronyms and portmanteaus and this book covers one of the latest: FinOps. Just like we came up with “DevOps” to described the intersection and combination of software development and IT operations, FinOps is now here to combine the business functions of financial management with IT/cloud operations. My dubious love for new magic terms aside, this book is a great introduction into the basic principles of cloud financial management as a practice in your firm.
Designing Data-Intensive Applications
I’ll close out with one for my OGs – the engineers out there. Designing Data-Intensive Applications packs a massive collection of engineering wisdom for exactly what MercuryWorks – building webscale data-intensive software applications that power enterprises. The authors do a whole lot better than recommending a couple cool SQL query pointers – they thoroughly cover the ins, outs, wrinkles and corners of building enterprise applications that reliably serve and digest mass collections of business data. Engineers, check it out – it’ll save you a lot of late nights.