Alex Klibisz
Machine learning research intern at ORNL.

Recommended Podcasts, Books, and Audiobooks

Alex Klibisz, 5/18/2016

About two years ago I started listening to several programming-related podcasts. Over the past six months, I've also found a lot of value in Audible's audiobooks. I find both entertaining and valuable as tools for passive learning. I mostly listen to them while walking to classes, on long drives, and on longer runs. I've also mixed several books and book series into this list.

Without further ado, here's my list of podcasts, books, and audiobooks. I'll try to keep this list up-to-date as I find more material worth sharing.

Programming Throdown (Podcast)

The hosts are two experienced Silicon Valley programmers, and the shows are packed with useful insight and information on an impressive variety of programming and software engineering areas. The show is very conversational and easy to listen to, but you still learn a lot.

HanselMinutes (Podcast)

A podcast with web development expert and Microsoft tech evangelist Scott Hanselman. He brings in a lot of really interesting guests for informal, yet informative pseudo-interviews about the guests’ projects or areas of expertise. It's not just about programming; many episodes are dedicated to topics in the maker area and soft-skills tips.

The Bikeshed (Podcast)

On this podcast, engineers from the company ThoughtBot discuss current topics and best practices in the context of their current work. I've taken valuable advice, both technical and non-technical from their discussions.

Full Stack Radio (Podcast)

This one is similar to Hanselminutes in that it's completely interview-based. While the discussions center mostly around PHP and Ruby development, I've still learned a lot from listening. I think a must-listen episode is this one, covering Git workflow and common pitfalls.

Free Programming Books

A repo of links to hundreds of programming books on dozens of topics which are all free to download.

Free O'Reilly Books

O’Reilly Media publishes books on a variety of tech/programming/Computer Science topics, dozens of which are free to download in Kindle format. The link provided is to Amazon, but they’re also available on Barnes and Noble for the Nook.

Syncfusion Succinctly Series (E-Books)

This is a series of nearly 100 free e-books, each dedicated to a specific language, technology, framework, or concept. I've used them multiple times to get ramped up on an unfamiliar topic.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual (Audiobook)

I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through this one, listening to it on Audible. The author delivers concrete advice in an informal tone, and he also includes several anecdotal segments in the audiobook that are not included in the book.

Non-technical

The Mom Test

This book was required reading for the 2015 Codeworks program at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. The author goes over techniques for determining the needs and values of your customers when building a product or business, primarily focusing on effective interviewing strategies. As a novice in the are of entrepreneurship, this book made me think about many things I otherwise would have overlooked. Definitely recommend it if you're looking to build a new product or business.

Elon Musk Biography (Audiobook)

The guy is a genius and badass. This biography by Ashlee Vance goes in-depth on his upbringing, failures, and successes. This one was genuinely entertaining and difficult to put down.

I Will Teach You to be Rich (Audiobook)

The name is admittedly gimicky, but the book taught me many ways to clean up and automate my personal finances. For example, I improved my credit score by following Ramit Sethi's advice to call Discover and ask for a higher credit allowance on my card. Sethi gives concrete, logical ways to improve the way you handle your money without any tricks or scams.

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble (Audiobook)

I was thoroughly engaged and entertained by Dan Lyons' stories of his time at Hubspot. If you're interested in seeing what it's like to work in a stereotypical startup, this is an entertaining way to learn about it.

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