Archive for December, 2011

Books to read in 2012 – recommended to me by Twitter

Today, I asked on Twitter what non-technical books I should read in 2012.

I was nicely surprised to see so many of my followers send recommendations. Here is a list of 25 books that like-minded people suggested I read. Hopefully you will find a book or two to read too. Feel free to send more recommendations via the comments.


1Q84 by Haruki Murakami suggested by @mrb_bk and @chadfowler
The Floating Opera and The End of the Road by John Barth suggested by @chadfowler
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer suggested by @bradly
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese suggested by @bradly
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand suggested by @bradly
Cien años de soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (es) suggested by @romanandreg & @jrfernandez & @edgarschmidt
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez suggested by @romanandreg & @jrfernandez & @edgarschmidt
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins suggested by @supaspoida
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt suggested by @dennismajor1
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse suggested by @dj2sincl
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami suggested by @chadfowler
Mindfire by Scott Berkun suggested by @lucasdicioccio
Les Fourmis by Bernard Werber (fr) suggested by @twitty_tim
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind suggested by @twitty_tim
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (en, free ebook) suggested by @tutec
Song Of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones saga) suggested by @eeppa & @jarin
Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest suggested by @eeppa
The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker suggested by @eeppa
Drood by Dan Simmons suggested by @eeppa
This Is Water by David Foster Wallace suggested by @atduskgreg
Anathem by Neal Stephenson suggested by @jarin
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (entire saga) suggested by @jarin & @edgarschmidt
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson suggested by @jarin
Fixing the Game by Roger L. Martin suggested by @jarkko
The Road by Cormac McCarthy suggested by @mrreynolds


Developing a Curriculum

Recently I asked a friend of mine to give me pointers on how to develop a curriculum (he used to teach an education PHD program), after discussing his response on Twitter, people asked me to put it somewhere, so here it is:

Process to develop a curriculum:

Purpose. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

  • You know how to do this.

Product. Start with the end in mind.

  • What does the student look like when they walk out the door at the end of the training.
  • Usually, we break these down into Knowledge, Skills, or Attitudes.
  • Sometimes it’s helpful to see a photograph or drawing of a someone who finished the program and just talk about what they can do that makes them successful.
  • This “product” should be connected and help you accomplish your mission

Practices. Then ask yourself, “How do people become like this?”

  • If you can break down your Product into 3-5 bit-sized chunks, then see how people learn each one of those skills, gain each one of those knowledge points, and how to they gain the attitudes you want them to have.
  • This one is much easier the more experience you have in seeing people develop the “Product.”
  • This is also easier to determine when you understand Learning Theory.
  • The results from this section will result in a list of:
    •        Activities or experiences
    •        Resources. What books, website, teachers, software, etc. will help them learn more effectively and efficiently
    •        Assessments. How you would know if the activity was helpful?

Plans. Make your plans based on the practices you’ve determined you’ve needed.


On a related topic, Chad Fowler posted an interesting blog post about what LivingSocial is doing to change the software development education.

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My RubyConf 2011 talk is online

I realize I forgot to mention that my RubyConf talk is now online on the confreaks site (wait until the end, Matz actually answers a question from the audience).

Photo of Matt Aimonetti giving a talk at RubyConf 2011 with one of his slides showing how thread scheduling works

I wrote a couple follow up posts you might also be interested in:

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