Developing your Soft Skills

I normally scan the Manning site for absolute steals or books I absolutely must have. Last month, however, I came across a book entitled Soft Skills: The Developers Life Manual by John Sonmez. It wasn't your normal programming yarn.

What struck me about it initially were the bold intentions of it. The synopsis states:

a unique guide, offering techniques and practices for a more satisfying life as a professional software developer. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez addresses a wide range of important "soft" topics, from career and productivity to personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships, all from a developer-centric viewpoint.

I'm a sucker for self-help books so naturally I purchased it on the spot intrigued as to what the book could offer that I didn't already know. I've read all manner of books from David Allen's "Getting Things Done" to Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink". More recently picking up a copy of Dale Carnegie's classic "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

After just finishing the last few pages I have to say a lot of it chimes with me. John has done an excellent job in distilling many of the facets of a Developer's life into easily digestible chunks. If you were to act upon everything John mentions in the book throughout your life then I'd put money on it that your life will be better. In fact, I would be any amount of money in the world on it.

In fact, it's reading that book that spurred me to start with this blog. Being "consistent" is one of the things he strongly encourages. In fact in his course Dev Career Boost he interviews a number of well-known developers and the central thing all of them is remaining consistent.

Sometimes it's hard to listen to self-help books where the author is clearly just out to line their own pockets but John's message is conveyed through the eyes of someone who's clearly been through hard times. In particular his section on finances is really great. I read a book a while back called Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money which is an eye-opening title around finances and the concept of "enough" and ethical finances. John recounts from his own experience where he was saving to get into real-estate investment, making the tough choices to not eat out or buy that new car you've always dreamed of.

On his tips for productivity the number one thing he suggests - stop watching TV. Many of his tips are fairly obvious if you've read enough around but for me the power in the book is not just the advice that's given but the confidence it gives the reader that they too can venture out on their own. That with vision, imagination, perseverance and hard work you can increase your earning potential and dare to grasp your dreams.

So what's stopping you right now?

If you're interested in buying John's book you can Purchase it here

James Murphy

Java dev by day, entrepreneur by night. James has 10+ years experience working with some of the largest UK businesses ranging from the BBC, to The Hut Group finally finding a home at Rentalcars.

Manchester, UK
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