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TWH#S15: What I Read This Week
The Sunday Edition #15
Welcome to another TWH Sunday Edition. 👋 ☕️📱
I hope you enjoy these 5 reads and, if you do, it would mean a lot if you hit the ❤️ button—a free and simple way to help me spread the word. Much appreciated. 🙂
(Total reading time: 23 min)
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(Francisco Trindade • 5 min read)
Francisco makes a great point here about the perhaps naïve way a lot of organizations are “flattening” by cutting down on managers. To me, it reveals a crazy misunderstanding of what the role of management really is in complex systems—not perpetuating red tape, but rather coaching and iterating on the organization itself.
“The challenge I have seen the most with software engineering teams is not that Engineering Managers (EMs) have time on their hands and could use more reports. It is that EMs are putting their primary focus away from their team’s effectiveness. Adding more reports under them, in this case, will only make the situation worse.”
(Abi Noda • 4 min read)
Abi dissects an interesting study that sought to measure flow in engineers as objectively and passively as possible. The results are not surprising and mostly reinforce what we already suspected. But maybe it helps bring this (IMO, crucial) topic more into the forefront?
“Flow is often achieved when a person feels focused and fulfilled with their work, and is a positive predictor of developer satisfaction and productivity. The concept has been extensively studied, however previous studies relied on measurement methods that inherently disrupt participants’ work. For this study, researchers sought to develop a metric that could passively detect when an individual was experiencing flow or focused work.”
(Molly Graham • 7 min read)
This one resonated a lot with me because, like Molly here, I also feel much of my career was made of these discontinuities she calls “J-Curves” (I love the model by the way.) The key reminder here is that you will inevitably go through that low point of the “J” and it will make you feel like crap. But stick with it, trust the process, and it’s likely the proficiency reward (and upside) will finally come.
“A J-Curve is what I call a risky career choice with a potentially big payoff. It’s a choice where you bet that you can transfer the skills you currently have to a completely new environment and the upside, if you do it successfully, is that you get to prove you are capable of more.”
✍️ Brain Energy
(Josh Dietrich • 4 min read)
Physical and mental health are the bedrock on which any level of effective leadership—and personal well-being— rests.But it’s too often overlooked. My friend and fellow coach Josh came across a book with a title that caught my attention, too: Brain Energy, by Christopher M. Palmer. And in this post he shares some fundamental (and practical) takeaways from it.
“This statement summarizes the essence of Palmer’s theory:
“Mental disorders—all of them—are metabolic disorders of the brain.””
(Anne-Laure Le Cunff • 3 min read)
It’s like Anne-Laure is writing directly to me here. I fully believe in the power of journaling, but just can’t seem to create consistency at it. She had the same issue, so she devised her own method that works for her. Will it work for me? That’s to be seen, but I’m giving it a shot starting immediately wrapped up in the 30-for-30 challenge by Sahil Bloom. I’ll report back in a month! 😁
“The problem? Most people can’t build the [journaling] habit. We know we should keep a journal. But we don’t know how to keep a journal. I have tried most of the journaling methods out there—one line a day, free writing, doodling, the bullet journal—and none worked for me. None of them felt goal-oriented enough, and some of them required too much work.”
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Edition. Thanks for reading! Until the next edition, I wish you a great week ahead. 🙌
I find the book Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom DeMarco to be an excellent resource on the true (and critical) role of management.
I actually have a future Hagakure post outlined about, as a leader, you should treat yourself like a athlete. Stay tuned.