Showing posts from August, 2014

Book Review: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

I have read this one in polish so it was pretty fast to read.. It is not similar to Game of Thrones but still it is a pretty good fantasy and I can say that I liked it.

Book consists of three shorter stories so you can read 1/3 of a book at a time. If you want to read something taking action in Westeros then this book is for you. Especially if you are sick as me and need to stay in bed.

Rating: 6/10

Book Review: Switch by Heath Brothers

Another book that I pick because of the recommendation.

I have already knew many of the ideas and experiments but still I got huge amount of useful stories and ideas about habits and change.

I think most important thing this book reminded me about is the idea of mindset. There are two kinds of mindsets: growth mindset and fixed mindset. Only one is the good one unfortunately. Fixed mindset can be seen is sentences like "You are so smart", "You have talent for this". Growth mindset is all about accepting that we are horrible and we do not have talent. You are going to be horrible at everything you start doing but with practice and time every one of us can do much better. This single change in how we think makes big difference. When you start learning something new and you make errors and you think of yourself as a fool you should accept this as natural part of learning! No one is born with all the knowledge. We all need to learn it and it is expected to fail at fir…

Book Review: Design of Everyday Things by Donal A. Norman

It is pretty old book. It was published in 1988. Computers were much more clumsy and hard to use but at the same time they were changing really fast. Fortunately author picked everyday things as the main theme of the book. You can read about faucets or doors but what you learn in the process will work in every context.

First idea from a book is about blame. When we see some strange faucet we feel stupid for not knowing how to use it, but we are not to blame. Design of the faucet should be blamed, maybe even designer. Our everyday things should be designed to make them easy to use and understand. One important idea from a book is to think about ease of use when we are buying any kind of objects.

Natural Mapping
It is one of several important factors of great design. Controls should be aligned exactly the same way that things they control. If you want to see it violated look at controls of your burner in the kitchen.

Perceived Affordances
How things look like suggest how they can be us…

Book Review: Your Brain at Work by David Rock

The book recommended by a friend and at the same time rated by him 5/5 on shelfari.

It created really high expectations, fortunately I was not even close to how much I would learn from it.

I am not going to write long review as you can find them easily.
Just a couple of notes to myself:

For insights keep in mind ARIA model:


To better understand yourself and others in social situations remember about SCARF model:

I have learned a lot and book is gripping, fun to read and just fun. Strongly recommended.
Rating: 10/10

Book Review: Getting Things Done by David Allen

I often write a reason why I picked up the book but this time I am not sure. Probably it was just easiest-looking on on the kindle. Turns out it is not that easy to read as I thought, especially if you compare it to  "Decisive". Soon after I started, I could feel that book was written at 2002 when PDA were today's smartphones. I would also say that book would be much nicer if it was more concise and contained more stories.

The book is a bestseller for a reason though.

"What is the next action?"
It is probably the most important question in the book. I have the same problem. My todo list is not really todo. It is just list of "stuff". Asking for next physical action really changes the way you think and work.

Second important idea form the book is to group tasks by context. Most important constraint is context. I have different list for 'home', 'work' and 'commute' as for example I need guitar to practice.

Last idea is about &qu…

July Update - Mindset

I would say that my mindset changed a bit last month. I am really inspired by creative work and I always try to create something on my own. Unfortunately, it backfires most of the time and I end up with something that is not working or just impossible to do in my spare time.

After reading "learn game development like woodworking" and "Steal Like an Artist" I feel better just going after the book, write examples and copy (I'm doing exactly that with "iOS Programming" book). I feel free from the urge to create something innovative that most of the time just made me too much stressed to do anything...
It's ok to copy and recreate existing app ideas, you're going to learn a lot from the process. The same rule applies to all kinds of learning.
While reading "Decisive" I really liked story from chapter 3 "Multitrack" about Ads designers. Both test groups get same amount of feedback but first group get asked to create only one des…

Book Review: Decisive - Heath Brothers

I have picket Decisive because of recommendation. As I have some important decisions to make it was good idea to finally read it.

Book is (as title suggest) about making decisions. What is really good about this book is WRAP process it introduces and stories which support it. As "Made to Stick" it was gripping and fun to read.

Two ideas that worked really well for me:

Consider what you would do if you could not pick your initial decision?Consider cost of alternative (what this decision will stop you from doing)?
These are form W (Widen your options). It is first part of the process and first part of the book but it is most important one. We all really tend to ask ourselves questions "whether to do it or not". It is basic mistake. There are other options out there for sure, just use the process to discover them.

Full WRAP process:

Widen your options.Reality-test your assumptions.Attain distance before deciding.Prepare to be wrong.

I can recommend it even if you do no…

Book Review: Effective Objective-C 2.0 by Matt Galloway

Effective Objective-C 2.0: 52 Specific Ways to Improve Your iOS and OS X Programs (Effective Software Development Series) by Matt Galloway

It took me pretty long time to finally finish this book. I can say that it is good source of effective practices and hints about Objective-C and its usage.

You can argue why I am reading books about Objective-C when Swift is around. Short answer is that most of iOS development is not the language but libraries and how to use them. I want to learn that from proven books rather than thinking is Swift changed since this blog post or is this error in the blog post? Swift is still evolving and I do not want to be guinea pig, especially when I don't really know how various things match app development.

Objective-C was not the only language used for iOS development. Many libraries are available only as C libraries and I do not think it will change soon. Learning some Objective-C and C for sure will be worth it.

As of the book itself. Sometimes it was …