This year was a roller-coaster ride. At the beginning of the year I quit my job as a behavior assistant to focus my attention completely on software development. I became involved in the great tech community in Tampa and got a job as a Teaching Fellow at Launch Code. All that time, I continued reading a variety of books. Of those, these were the best.

Best Nonfiction book:

Drawdown by Paul Hawken

The rare optimistic climate change book, Drawdown brings hope that not only is change possible, but inevitable. When people think of green tech, they often think of liberal policy or tech that is more expensive than the dirty alternative. Drawdown paints a different picture. Many of the solutions in the book are things that we would want to do regardless of the environmental impact. Things like educating girls, or producing electricity from renewables which is quickly becoming less costly than fossil fuels. Drawdown also brings the stories of the inspirational people who are trying to make a difference, either in the name of tradition, sustainability, or making that money.

Best fiction book:

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart is a difficult book to describe. It’s a genre defying mash-up of Doctor Who, Rick and Morty, fantasy, and Chinese fairy tales. The book is beautifully written, hilarious, witty, endearing, and has bottomless charm. A must read for fans of the fantasy genre.

Best Professional Development Book:

The Pragmatic Programmer

If you want to elevate your career as a professional programmer you have to read this classic. This book is a force multiplier. Not only does it make you a better programmer, but it teaches you how to what and how to learn in the future. Written nearly 20 years ago and it’s still just as relevant today as it was back then.

Honorable Mention:

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

This book is a curse to be avoided at all costs. Whenever I look at a website now, I cannot help but break down it’s UX, analyze how user friendly it is, and look for faults in its design. This book made me aware of issues like usability, and designing websites for people who are visually impaired. I used to be able to slap my websites together without a second thought to how my users would use them. Now I spend time creating wire frames, and making sure that I group like items together and have good use of white space. Someone help me.

Books for 2018

I’ve developed a short list of books I’m reading in 2018. Let me know what books you plan to read in 2018 in the comments below.