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The 6 Most Impactful Books I Read This Year

Published on • 5 minutes read

Flat lay picture of 6 books mentioned in the article

2023 was a year when I decided to grow my leadership skills even more. From a long list of books I gathered to read, I selected a few that I found very impactful. If you are a software engineer who wants to grow to a senior, staff, or manager role, understand software engineering better, or create a great resume, I have great book recommendations for you.

In this blog post, I’m sharing the 6 most impactful books for software engineers and leaders that I have read this year:

1. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

I’m starting with a Phoenix Project book because it’s my favorite programming book. I believe that every developer should read it at least once!

It’s an easy book to read because it’s a fictional story of a company that struggles with digital transformation and competition. It’s a story told from the perspective of a person promoted to lead an IT department.

You will learn what it means to be a leader, what the challenges are, and how to make good decisions. After reading it, you will know how to collaborate with other departments. You will learn about DevOps, how to measure team performance, and how to improve the company and team. You will find out what are the three ways, the theory of constraints, and four work types.

The Phoenix Project also references many great books, such as “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” and implements concepts from them. That makes the book full of great advice to follow.

2. The Manager's Path. A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

It’s an excellent book for everyone who wants to get to the senior level or be promoted to the levels above it. It prepares you to become a leader and explains the roles of managers in software companies. It tells you how to be a good manager and how to work well with your manager.

This book also focuses on mentorship skills, which are crucial to grow in a software engineer role. The whole chapter about those skills is a great resource to prepare for being a mentor for the first time.

3. The Tech Resume Inside Out. What a Good Developer Resume Looks Like

This book is a must-read, especially in the current market. It explains thoroughly how the process of hiring works, and that’s valid both for smaller and bigger companies.

It’s difficult to explain your roles, achievements, and skills on only one page of your resume. With the help of this book, you can create a concise list of achievements that the hiring team will actually read. This book answers all the questions that you might have about preparing a resume.

If you are a technical recruiter, it also helps you understand what a good recruitment process looks like, so it might be a good resource to improve it in your company.

This book is very valuable even if you are not looking for a job change. By understanding how good a resume looks, you can plan to prepare to list your achievements in the future. If you plan to set goals for your current role, it’s an excellent book to get inspired.

4. The Charisma Myth: Master The Art Of Personal Magnetism

Charisma Myth is an unusual book in this list because it’s not about programming. It’s a book that helps understand how to be a charismatic person. I believe it’s a useful skill for developers, necessary for being a mentor or leader, working with clients, or getting buy-in from the stakeholders.

This book explains that charisma is not something people are born with but rather a mindset that influences your body language and way of speaking. You can learn how to be more charismatic and successful in your day-to-day job through a series of exercises mentioned in the book.

5. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts

It’s also not a technical book but an excellent resource for software engineers to improve their leadership skills. It’s not a conventional leadership book. Like in most other leadership books, you won’t find recipes for managing your team. Instead, it teaches you what being a good, supporting leader means.

If you want to learn vulnerability, courage, and empathy and become a better leader, it’s a book for you. It explains how to build trust with your reports and helps you understand how psychological safety is important in a good workplace.

I recommend this book to developers who are also leaders and want to improve their skills.

6. Docs for Developers: An Engineer’s Field Guide to Technical Writing

That book might not be for everyone because it’s mostly focused on user-facing documentation. It brings the most value to library creators and maintainers. I decided to include that book anyway because I believe that every developer can find helpful information there. Today, it’s difficult not to use open-source software, so it’s also very common that you will need to use or even create and improve documentation.

It tells you how to create Readmes, API documentation, and tutorials for your code. It helps you make documentation better by explaining how to do research, how to improve it, and how to gather feedback.

It’s a pleasant book because it includes a story about creating API docs for a fictional product - This helps you understand the concepts better and see the example of applying them to a product.


Programming books are usually hard to select. Only some of them hold a universal knowledge that won’t get outdated. Most such books are valid only for a year or two. On the other hand, books are also a resource that gives you complex knowledge about some topics, so it’s great if you want to learn new skills. That’s why I chose books to read about universal software engineering concepts, such as DevOps or tech resumes. I also like leadership books that will always be up to date and are very important for software engineers.

What Is Your Favorite Book For Software Engineers?

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