HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Robert C. Martin

4.7 on Amazon

43 HN comments

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems

Martin Kleppmann

4.8 on Amazon

34 HN comments

The Martian

Andy Weir, Wil Wheaton, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

27 HN comments

The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery

David Thomas, Andrew Hunt, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

27 HN comments

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson, Jonathan Davis, et al.

4.3 on Amazon

24 HN comments

The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You

Rob Fitzpatrick and Robfitz Ltd

4.7 on Amazon

22 HN comments


Frank Herbert, Scott Brick, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Seveneves: A Novel

Neal Stephenson, Mary Robinette Kowal, et al.

4.1 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Matthew Walker, Steve West, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

19 HN comments

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir, Ray Porter, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

Chris Voss, Michael Kramer, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman, Patrick Egan, et al.

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Don Norman

4.6 on Amazon

15 HN comments

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

Christopher Alexander , Sara Ishikawa , et al.

4.7 on Amazon

15 HN comments

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danvoellonMay 19, 2021

Never Split the Difference is another good book to read.

llaollehonMay 30, 2021

Never Split the Difference is a great book.

giantg2onJuly 27, 2021

It will take a lot more than books to help my career.

I've read Getting to Yes, The Coaching Habit, and Never Split the Difference. They seemed to have decent information.

ExumaonJune 26, 2021

Never Split the Difference - a negotiation book by famous hostage negotiator.

It's so immediately useful and practical, my entire team used it to collect massive amount of debts and enact other business changes. It was invaluable, and I make everyone I know read it.

toivoonJuly 6, 2021

Well I'm not American and I read mostly "self-help" books, from "In Search of Meaning" to "Code Complete" to "Extreme Ownership" to "High Output Management" to "Never Split The Difference". I always read one before I go to sleep.

joshxyzonJuly 12, 2021

Yep, still a good read. Great in cultivating some empathy and social acuity.

Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss is also worth checking out.

SN76477onMay 13, 2021

I am working my way though Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

He goes through some very powerful negotiating techniques and strategies.

If you are short on time, try a summary like this. It will help you will be better equipped for your negotiation when the time comes.


kgantchevonMay 10, 2021

I recommend reading "Never Split The Difference," the book is great and it has served me well in negotiations.

Where you're right: yes, you need to foster the conversation. It's a skill that one develops with practice.

Where you're wrong: I negotiate for my consulting business and I can guarantee you that the companies don't have "the power." The power is held by whoever is better at negotiating. If you're good at negotiating, you will hold the power.

Buttons840onMay 12, 2021

Lots of good advice here. But also remember there are good books on negotiation, business dealings, communication, etc.

I recommend a book on negotiation called "Never Split the Difference". It's written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, it's filled with interesting stories and good advice.

Some negotiation books seem like a "bag of tricks" which only work if the other person doesn't know the tricks, not this book, this book is filled with advice that would work even if both parties are using the negotiation techniques described in the book.

dkerstenonMar 28, 2021

Facts can't win if emotions are involved. Facts only work when everyone is rational, but, to quote former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, from his excellent book on negotiation (Never Split the Difference): humans are inherently irrational. A large chunk of his book is how you rarely succeed in arguments or negotiations based on facts, because humans are irrational emotional creatures. I highly highly recommend reading the book (because its great, not because it says this particular thing).

muzanionJune 26, 2021

There are so many books that have given me an unfair advantage. I could easily list a dozen but the question asks for one.

I'd say we live in an age of overinformation. There are books that give you an edge, like Never Split the Difference, and then everyone reads it, and then everyone reads the summary of it, then everyone criticizes the summary (which the original book itself has addressed), then everyone reads the criticism and concludes that the book is bad.

You can ask people what a startup is, or what a MVP is, or TDD, and I assure you most would not have the original definitions or purposes from the books. A lot of people think TDD is 100% test coverage or that a startup is a business, but these are all wrong by definition.

gooeykabukionMay 30, 2021

In any negotiation, your best bet is having leverage. In this scenario that would be other offers at the rate you would like or other benefits/flexibility.

In terms of framing, instead of saying you're in S. Asia and $30/hr is a big deal, you could figure out a rough $ value of your work to the company. In this case it's clearly more than $30, but is it $100 or $300 or $500? Having that clarity in your mind and articulating it to potential clients is going to be super helpful in the future, and change how you see yourself and sell yourself to clients.

Finally, you may want to invest in building your negotiating experience. I would start with the Appendix: Negotiating one sheet and ideally read and practice what's mentioned in Never Split the Difference: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08W57YLHR/.

Good luck!

Buttons840onMay 30, 2021

Another question might be something like: I know you need to pay me less than the value I create, because this needs to be a mutually profitable arrangement. How much value do you expect I can bring to the company?

Or maybe the more open ended question is better?

I do like Never Split the Difference, great book. The most common complaint against it is that the author is a bit arrogant, but having read a couple other negotiation books first, I found the author's approach more fair and "real" than the bag-of-manipulative-tricks I found in the other books.

Also, since it's the CTO your talking to, try to establish an (for lack of a better term) "tech people versus the rest of the world" mentality, then he will be more likely to side with you. As we've all seen, people side with their own perceived group. I don't mean this to be as aggressive as it sounds, just try to use the natural camaraderie between tech workers.

MrVuonMay 4, 2021

I run 3 Business, Realtor/Landlord, Cleaning Homes, and Photography (events).

The Business Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
(gave me insight on what it takes to keep grinding, and knowing the potential in any idea)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
(a classic, every CEO or high performer i know and met practice this)

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It
(Gave me the technique to understand what I have to know on the other side, to come out making a win-win situation)

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition
(Allowed me to understand the other side before talking)

The Art of Communicating
(Great good for networking, which opened alot of doors for me getting new clients and making friends)

7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals
(Made me understand the importance of certain communication levels to use on certain situation to get better results.)

Overall this is only a few, but really it helped me, meet the people that knew more then me to become what i am now. Knowing that i have a circle that will give me guidance is worth more then gold.

KboPAacDA3onAug 13, 2021

From FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, in his book Never Split the Difference, the US government always negotiates with terrorists.

goostavosonJune 25, 2021

I've been working on this, too (admittedly... for years)! I similarly have a 'very direct' style of communication. I've received formal feedback on more than one occasion calling me 'abrasive'.

fwiw, two books helped me massively in this area:

1. The Field Guide to Human Error. This book I read on a whim just because I thought it would be useful for software development. The first few chapter's ended up being kind of life altering. It felt like along personal attack on my character. In short, it was about perspectives we take when dealing with other people, and how viewing from our vantage point is not only frequently wrong, but it's lazy.

Even with things like CR comments. I now ask myself "_why_ do they think that's the right approach?"

2. Never Split the Difference. While it's about negotiations, it deals a lot with how humans think, and despite what we tell ourselves or want to believe about we being rational creatures, emotion dominates almost all interactions. It gives all kinds of useful advice for framing conversations and using language which avoids being confrontational or accusatory.

This was another huge one for me, as it shifted just about all of my conversations from starting with "you're dumb and here's why" to "let's make sure we agree on what the problem is" and then making finding the solution a collaborative effort, rather than a top down directive.

vladmarinonJune 26, 2021

* Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy. The book explains how to think of a platform systematically. It's valuable because it applies to everything else in life, any business, any industry - not just IT platforms. Based on the findings of 2 Nobel prize winners.

* Never Split the Difference. Don't even think about it - read it. The book is a life coaching chapter that everyone should learn.

* The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks. Everything is a network. From wars, to economy, to minorities, to terrorism. Understanding what truly lies behind the concept of "network" is just as well one of those life coaching chapters everyone should learn.

Rasta1sonJune 13, 2021

For the attacker, this may just be another bullet, another target. Killing or erasing your company's data, for the attacker, may mean absolutely nothing.

How do we go from here? Your job as a negotiator is to get them get them off their "fight mode" through the use of time, dialogue, and empathy.

By saying "I wont negotiate" you're building a gloom vision that there is no future. If the threat is real, you're out of time and out of luck. As Voss says, "She's dead"*

Further readings:

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator ( by Gary Noesner)

Never Split the Difference (Chris Voss)

Ego, Authority, Failure (Derek Gaunt)

Movie: A Hijacking (IMDB)

* "60 seconds or she dies" challenge on Youtube (Chris Voss).

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