The Grand Literature Post on agility

Many folks ask “Oi hai, would you have recommendations on good literature for … “. And I end up sending the same books over and over again. Thus here’s a collated list of my recommendations on reading about things. So here we go, The Grand Literature Post (in no particular order).


Books about CI, CD, DevOps and the need for speed.

Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation

by Jez Humble, David Farley

Explains what it says on the tin. Recommended reading for any technologist.

The Learn Startup

by Eric Ries

Now I don’t really care if you stumbled upon this blog post by accident or work in software engineering. I also don’t like being told I should do something, but you should read this book. You, really really should. And then recommend everyone else read this book too.

Basically it’ll have advise on how to test and validate if your ideas are solid enough to build it properly. It’ll also give inject your brain with a seed of thought: “What if we are only doing this because we have always been doing it like this?” Which, in turn, may or may not lead you to challenge everything.

I take no responsibly if you pivot out of your relationship/move out of the country/quit your job/shut down your business if it goes wrong.

Lean Enterprise

by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, Barry O’Reilly

There’s another book called The Learn Enterprise which I haven’t read. This piece, Lean Enterprise, is a continuation of The Lean Startup. Pretty much how to stay lean with scale.

Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders

by L. David Marquet

Excellent read about how a nuclear submarine commander got the crew go from worst to first.

The Phoenix Project

by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr

I don’t particularly like the fictional bit of the book, however, it’s still a good read about organisational change. It’s a good piece on how to get started in organisational change.

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

by David J. Anderson

The best book about Kanban I’ve encountered.

Notes to a Software Team Leader: Growing Self Organizing Teams

This book with an unnecessarily long name has some tips on what you as a team leader should keep in mind. It’ll also tell you to keep your team happy, and give them things to do that will advance their career as opposed to serving just the particular business you’re working for. I like the advise.


Books to make you think.

Elon Musk

by Ashlee Vance

Remarkable story about a visionary who is actually still alive and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Fantastic read.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

by Adam Grant

How people came to be. Some consider them exception but actually it’s about going against the grain.

Teach Yourself To Meditate

by Eric Harrison

Practical advise! I like practical advise!

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

by Ekhart Tolle

Didn’t see this coming did you? I could point you to the few pages I found interesting but I can’t be bothered to read it again to find them. Actually, don’t read the book but think and try this: Do absolutely everything you do with quality, including walking, talking, sipping you coffee and getting drunk with red wine (okay this was my addition).

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

Dr. Tim Cantopher

Helped me understand people who suffer from depression; it’s chemical and not under your control. Exceptionally written and highly recommended to anyone.

Next on my list

  • The Sleep Revolution
  • How To Measure Anything
  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great (Pragmatic Programmers)

Don’t read these

Don’t bother, waste of time.

F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way

by John C. Parkin

It has relatively (surprisingly!) good reviews but there’s a reason why it’s selling for £0.01 on Amazon.

Ignoring problems and swearing doesn’t make it go away.

The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO: A Remarkable Story About Living Your Heart’s Desires

by Robin S. Sharma

Nah. Self-help kind of a book hidden in a story. Annoyingly patronising.