Book roundup: Tom DeMarco, Kjartan Fløgstad, Margaret MacMillan, György Faludy

Tom DeMarc, Timothy Lister - PeopleWare - Productive Projects and Teams

Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister – Peopleware (1998)

The rallying point for any knowledge worker who has ever wished they’d just leave you alone and let you do your job.

Recommended: Yes.  In some professions, such as software management, it should even be considered mandatory – otherwise you risk watching those of your employees who have read it bury their heads in embarassment when you walk in one day and say, “hey, I just had a brilliant idea – let’s introduce a Free Seating and Clean Desk policy!”

Kjartan Fløgstad – Fyr og flamme (1980)

Norway’s descent from a land of heroic workers to something more mundane.

Recommended: Possibly, but I only got half-way.  Fløgstad’s habit of having his sentences go on and on for pages is hypnotic at first, but eventually you just wish he’d get over himself and learn to use punctuation.

Margaret MacMillan – The Uses and Abuses of History (2008)

From the title you expect something that goes a little bit deeper than “here are some people in the news recently who referred to events in the past, so history is, like, really important.”

Read: 20 pages.

Recommended: No.

György Faludy – My Happy Days in Hell (1962)

There seems to be an unwritten law that anyone with any talent for writing who lived through the Second World War had to write a book about it later, even if they were mostly just goofing around with other refugees, (and apparently ending up in a forced-labour camp in the end, but then who didn’t?)

Read: 110 pages.

Recommended: No.

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