Back from the holidays: hiking around Monte Bianco

When I was younger, I usually went hiking with my dad.

He had one of those hiking guides that lists all the walks in a certain region; I still remember the name: “Il Cammina Campania. Guida WWF”.

I have wonderful memories of those walks: the early wake-up, me sleeping in the car, the 4+ hours of walking, collecting dead branches to create our very walking sticks…

Since then, though, I didn’t hike so much. Just some random walks in nearby parks, or something like that.

So when I and Valeria were planning our holidays I asked her if she’d like spending a week walking around the mountains. And she said yes!

It was great! 

I feel so refreshed and full of energy, that I’m asking myself how I’ve survived without this for all of these years.

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How to Pick a Career by Tim Urban

We all have been there. That feeling of being pushed by something on our path. The idea that something else could be right for us. 

If you find yourself in the middle of a career that doesn’t fit you, do yourself a favor, set aside a few hours, and read this article:

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

You will thank me later.

My 2017 reading challenge

Last year I decided that I wanted to read more. So I set myself a goal to read 53 books in one year. I failed (That’s a recurring theme).

During the challenge, that started the 31st of October 2016, I managed to read ~25 books. Here they are:

  1. Intercom on Product Management Great book
  2. Docker for Developers meh
  3. Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think I need to read this again
  4. 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts Lot of insights
  5. Modernizing Legacy Applications in PHP Really well written
  6. Digital Marketing For Dummies I don’t usually read marketing books, but this is good
  7. La luna e i falò A Masterpiece
  8. Alice in Wonderland A classic
  9. Contagious: Why Things Catch On You need to read this!
  10. Warren Buffett Style: Regola n.1 non perdere mai denaro What was I thinking? Awful
  11. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Maybe I need to re-read this. I didn’t like it
  12. The Time Machine Wow!
  13. The War of the Worlds Slow, but good
  14. Demystifying Public Speaking A good piece on the topic
  15. The Digital Photography Book 1 Sometime you need to move on
  16. Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps To understand what was it all about
  17. The Principles of Successful Freelancing I had the idea to start freelancing
  18. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers I like retouching photos
  19. The Minimalist Photographer And also travel light
  20. The Best of The Digital Photography Book Series Same as above
  21. Travel and Street Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots And travel
  22. Beyond Legacy Code A nice read
  23. Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests If you’re into testing, you should read this book
  24. A Common-Sense Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms: Level Up Your Core Programming Skills Very basic, but if you need an introduction, it’s perfect
  25. The Little Black Book of Decision Making: Making Complex Decisions with Confidence in a Fast-Moving World I really loved this book: it’s packed with knowledge

So I’ve read less than half my goal but, jokes aside, I don’t consider it a failure. I’ve read more in 2017 than in the previous two years!

Tips to read more

Social media has taken a toll on everyone. I discovered myself more than I like to admit browsing endlessly streams of jokes, links, articles (I’ll just save it and read it later…yeah sure), tweets, photos and so on. But I also discovered that I could just stop. I trained myself to stop being a social media zombie and read instead.

Everyone imagines that to read you have to be sitting on your favorite couch, beside a fireplace, drinking hot chocolate while outside the snow falls covering the ground. How romantic. Yes, there are situations like this and they happen in the movies. We live in the harsh reality, we should be guerrilla readers.

No, that’s not how we read everyday

The trick is: read everywhere, even if a single page or paragraph. In a queue? Read. Waiting for the doctor? Read. Stuck in traffic? Listen to an audiobook. To the dentist? Run! 😀

My friends know that I swear by Safari Books Online: the thing that I like the most is that it enables me to access and download all the books on my smartphone, so that I don’t need to bring with me yet another device (I’m looking at you, Kindle. It was nice, but you know that it never worked between us)

2018 edition

So have I stopped? Of course not. But only stupids don’t learn from their mistakes.

So for this year I’ve decided to start from January to December (so that I can track my results in Goodreads better). And since I don’t think that I’ll be able to read a book a week, I’ve decreased the target to 40 books. That’s a bit more than last year.

So, are you up to a challenge? Connect with me on Goodreads

Impersonal feedback

Happily, over the years I’ve learned that it *is* possible to take critical feedback (and, more broadly, failure) less personally. Of course I still feel disappointed when I fail, or when someone I respect tells me that what I’m doing feels off-track or isn’t going well. We all want to succeed and we all want the people we like to think well of us. But disappointment is different than self-doubt. It’s the difference between thinking: I could have done better and I’m incompetent so I’m not cut out for this. The former is about judging your performance on a particular task, and the latter is about judging your character. If you can stop doing the second thing, then critical feedback will not feel so personal.

​https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/taking-feedback-impersonally-7c0f3a8199d9

Programming is a creative work

The truth is, programming is a creative work. When you look at other creative professions, there are small bursts of creative output that provide the bulk of the total output. The rest of the time is either busy work, clean up, or goofing off.The modern workplace assumes a 40 hour week because “that’s just what it is”. With the efficiency gains of technology, almost nobody is really working a full 40 hours. And frankly they shouldn’t.

Source: How do you make programmers work 60-80 hours per week?

Empathy in Code Reviews

The way you write is everything. Don’t correct people — ask them for clarification. Assume they know something that you don’t. This is a really important thing! Assume that your co-workers are smart and are doing a good job.

Written communication can be tricky — it’s missing a lot of the social clues that let people know what you’re thinking. It’s easy to put people on the defensive, so take the time to try to use empathy words. — “us”, “our”, “we” are much better than “you”, “your”, and “mine”. You’re all on the same team, after all.

Source: How About Code Reviews? – Several People Are Coding