After a year goes by, it's always nice to take some to reflect on what we've done, and what we would like to do it differently for the next year.
After a long time in my life focusing on reading mostly technical books, in 2021 and 2022 I've tried to read more on other topics. Specially around emotional health, career and productivity. I will state here in a few sentences what I've read that impacted me the most, the books I'm usually recommending to my friends.
The Passionate Programmer - Chad Fowler
This is my second read of this book. I've got this as a gift from a mentor back in 2015. I find it one of the best books regarding our career as software engineers. Specially for those ones that enjoy playing some instrument, the author who has been a jazz player, makes lots of connections on our software engineer lives and a musicians life. It's broken down in quite small chapters with easy to grasp action points we can start taking on our daily work lives to improve our deliveries, but also the value we aggregate in our careers. It's definitely one of my favorite books in IT.
Laziness does not exist - Devon Price
A must read for all of us who have been dedicating most of our lives to our jobs. Many are the reasons one can put their work life above everything else and sometimes we start becoming our careers. I took a serious step back past year, where I didn't want to be "João, software engineer" anymore. This shouldn't be the first thing people relate to me when they think about me. That's not how I want to live my life. This book gave me a better emotional foundation to create distance between my personal life and work life. It's helping me to pursue my hobbies, freeing myself from the constant and obsessive behavior that I should always be productive, that everything I do should be towards growing in my career.
Atomic Habits - James Clear
This book is most likely to cause the "urgh" reaction for most people that think that self-help books should be locked away. For me, it was a great complement on "The Power of Habit". It gives you more practical advice on how to keep a routine, how to introduce new habits in your daily life, and overall, made it easier for me to stick my routine.
We all have routines, even if it's jumping on to the sofa after a full day of work. The main difference is on whether is the routine you want or not. Here I'm not going to preach on whether it's good for you or not. The only thing I care is if it's what you want. If you wanted to have a different routine in your life, this book might help you.
One of the great things I've learnt here is habit tracking. It's quite nice to see how you're being able to stick to the new habits you want to introduce, until they're fully integrated in your life.
The sexual politics of meat - Carol Adams
As a vegan person, looking vegetarianism and veganism through the lens of feminism was eye opening. This was the first classic vegetarianism book I've read in my life (after being a vegetarian for 3 years and vegan for 1).
It's quite a journey through history, patriarchy and movements from distinct people, embracing a cruelty-free life. It's disturbing to see how women and animals are constantly reduced to body parts for consumption. The way we change our vocabulary to transform those into absent referents "to keep the our 'meat' separated from any idea that she or he was once an animal...". Reading this solidified even more that this is not a life I want for myself.
Focus - Daniel Goleman
I really enjoyed reading Daniel Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence" book. It was what triggered my desire to have a deeper understanding on the subject and also pushed me towards seeing a therapist to heal myself. So, this book, was just a curiosity about what else the author could teach me. I honestly feel in love with the book because it confirmed me something I've lived practically. A meditative practice is substantial to being able to have the ability to focus. I've used the Headspace app since the beginning of the pandemic to help me cope with the period, and I've saw many advantages of that in my life. For this specific subject and reference, I wrote an article called "The zen of focus" where I describe the journey with lots of references from this book. I highly recommend reading it if you want to understand the journey I had and how it helped me throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and still helps me to this day.