Even before my PhD I tended to consume books about one thing or another. This page aims to keep a log of the books that I have read in the recent past.

Title GWT In Action, Second Edition
Author Robert Hanson, Adam Tacy, Jason Essington, Christopher Ramsdale and Anna Tokke
Read At May 2012
Comments

The only GWT book that covers recent versions of GWT. It is comprehensive and informative and it does a good job of summarising, condensing and simplifying the information available on the web. As GWT moves at a rapid pace, the book is littered with factoids and trivia applicable to earlier versions of the GWT 2.x line but no longer relevant. Useful if you need to quickly pick up a technique but not as useful for telling you when you should use a particular technique. It should be noted that the edition that I read was an early access addition (MEAP 6) so many of these complaints may be addressed in later revisions of the book.

Title Data Model Patterns: Conventions of Thought
Author David C. Hay
Read At February 2012
Comments

A classic data modelling book that every data modeller should read at one stage or another. The book a generic set of conventions for data modellers working in typical enterprises. The book then goes through several domain or industry specific data models. This book is very useful if you happen to be modelling one of the specific domains described in the book but otherwise can be a little dry. Even so there is a reason why it is a classic.

Title Restful Java with Jax-RS
Author Bill Burke
Read At February 2012
Comments

Highly informative, highly motivating and makes me want to work in a environment where REST would be an option. Highly recommended if you need to lear Jax-RS.

Title Real World Java EE Patterns: Rethinking Best Practices
Author Adam Bien
Read At February 2012
Comments

A book that goes through a series of patterns that historically were recommended for J2EE platform and re-evaluates them in the context of a modern EE technology stack. Many of the points rang true and mostly come down to common sense. However several of the recommendations seem ill founded and to be trend following rather than based in solid engineering practices. The book was read based on the strength of "Real World Java EE Night Hacks" but unfortunately feels like a string of poorly edited blog posts.

Title Real World Java EE Night Hacks: Dissecting the Business Tier
Author Adam Bien
Read At February 2012
Comments

An interesting book that got me interested in JEE again. It is written by a highly informed and obviously experienced professional. The prose was weak and rambling at points and the opinions ot always well supported but overall a enjoyable book recommended for anyone working in this space. It walked through the development of a JEE application touching on many technologies from JMX, JAX-RS, EJB etc. It also refreshingly introduced practical steps on how to deploy and test within a container with relative ease.

Title The machine that changed the world: the story of lean production
Author James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, Daniel Roos
Read At January 2012
Comments

Interesting book that describes craft production, mass production and lean production in the context of the auto industry. The text has a strong favouring of lean production over other forms of production and attempts to support these claims with evidence. It is a bit dry at times but I suspect a seminal work and thus it is worth reading.

Title Test-Driven Infrastructure with Chef
Author Stephen Nelson-Smith
Read At December 2011
Comments

A great book to get started using Chef the configuration management tool. It introduces you to a whole new way of automating the infrastructure components of your application. It does this in a test-driven manner. In places it feels a bit like a white paper or an advertisement from Chefs owners Opscode but overall I would highly recommend it.

Title Developing time-oriented database applications in SQL
Author Richard T. Snodgrass
Read At September 2011
Comments

This is the second book I have read that goes into depth about time-oriented databases. In particular it gives enough detail for someone to create and maintain both transaction time and valid time tables. One thing it has above other literature is that it also describes a development methodology for deriving temporal databases in a domain that would greatly aid the beginning practitioners.

Title Next generation Java testing: TestNG and advanced concepts
Author C├ędric Beust, Hani Suleiman
Read At September 2011
Comments

A practical book focused on testing Java applications. Surprisingly this book presents a balanced and reasoned description of several techniques, vary rarely making unsupported emotive arguments or seeing every problem as a nail to be hammered using the one true hammer (This is not usually found in books about testing). While this book is principally about TestNG, may of the same ideas could be applied to JUnit 4 with a small amount of work. However after reading this I am hopping to move some of our larger projects across to TestNG in short order.

Title 6 Habits of Highly Effective Teams
Author Stephen E. Kohn, Vincent D. O'Connell
Read At September 2011
Comments

The premise of this book is that successful teams are not necessarily characterized by the skills of the participants but by the "positive relationships" - among team members, between individual members and the team, and between the team and external groups. The book suggests that teams may be able to improve by adopting practices or habits that reinforce positive relationships and strengthen the team. While most of the organizational psychology of this book is hidden away behind the practical tips, the authors academic bent pokes through in a few places. The book also seems to focus on non-technical teams but most of the advice is still relevant.

Title Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation
Author Jez Humble, David Farley
Read At September 2011
Comments

An amazing book that I have been reading on and off since it was released. It is packed with information about the practice of continuous delivery and how to introduce it into your organisation. While most of the information could be found in other locations, this book brings it together and more importantly it integrates it and backs it with both anecdotal stories, statistics and relates it to practices in other industries. It is perfectly designed to arm you to describe the benefits to higher ups in the food chain. The chapter regarding the automated provisioning of environment was new to me and it may become dated over time but hopefully the book will be revised in the future. The only negative in the book is the push towards using strategies such as mocking/test-doubles that seem to be based on the authors backgrounds rather than an actual need to implement continuous delivery. Other than that - pure excellence.

Title The Undercover Economist
Author Tim Harford
Read At September 2011
Comments

The book explains basic economic theory using everyday examples. For someone who has never been interested in economics, the book makes it easy and even fun to read about. The book while written to be read by a amateur, goes into enough depth that it offers something to those already versed in the theory.

Title Data model patterns: a metadata map
Author David Hay
Read At May 2011
Comments

David Hay is a big name in the data modelling industry. This book is interesting in that it seems to aimed at Enterprise Architects who want to do high level meta-data modelling. It describes a meta-model broken down according to the Zachman's "Framework for Enterprise Architecture". The meta-model is just one particular implementation of his concepts and may need to be modified for your particular context if his assumptions prove to be inaccurate. However, as he expounds on his reasoning it should be possible to adapt his work to your own context.

Title Recreation: Realizing the Extraordinary Contribution of Your Enterprise Architects
Author Chris Potts
Read At June 2011
Comments

A spectacular fiction that educates the reader on what the author believes Enterprise Architecture should be rather than what it tends to be. The book makes the argument that the EA practitioner should be supporting the CEO rather than a part of an IT group.

Title The power of myth
Author Joseph Campbell, Bill D. Moyers
Read At Mar 2011
Comments

In university I spent two semesters studying myth and it's connection to history; where myths came from, how they evolved and the historical evidence to support events in various myths. This book is the transcription of a series of interviews with Joseph Campbell that that takes a very different bent. This compares and contrasts the mythological beliefs of ancient and modern religions and highlights similar themes that appear throughout each tradition. In some cases it traces the development of a theme through a tradition such as how elements change in each successive evolution of the Abrahamic religions.

Title The innovator's dilemma: the revolutionary book that will changed the way you do business
Author Clayton M. Christensen
Read At Feb 2011
Comments

A book describing how successful companies can lose the leadership position when "disruptive technology" emerges. For someone who doesn't read many business oriented books this was simple to understand and surprisingly interesting. It may not have been as revolutionary to me as to everyone else and seemed like it was mostly common sense. However, this may be because I was never taught anything contrary to the central tenant of this book.

Title The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales
Author Oliver W. Sacks
Read At Feb 2011
Comments

Once upon a time I was a Neuroscience / Psychobiology student and read this book back then. Re-reading the book just reminds me how wonderful the human brain is and how good it is at repairing itself and how sometimes it gets it wrong with some surprising consequences.