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What Help.com is Reading This Year


Authored by Kayla Brehm
Published on February 24, 2016

At Help.com, we’re working on building customer service software that will help you enhance your customer experience. How we’re doing that is where it gets exciting. Our engineers are leveraging new and old technology in really exciting ways, and as we kick 2016 into high gear, it’s been exciting to see progress.

On of the best parts of working at Help.com is getting the ability to be fully equipped with what you need to succeed. Yes, that includes a great desk setup, but it also means educational tools and literature. Did you really learn something from that book in college that you want to keep on hand? We get it. We’ve been there. So we have a growing team library onsite that we’re building to help everyone learn from each other (and the experts).

As the team grows and matures, it’s been exciting to see our team library expand. I sat down with a few members of our team to pick their brains about what’s on their reading lists this year.

A peek into our library

 

Ryan, Senior Software Engineer

  • Tipping Point and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Unix in a Nutshell by Arnold Robbins
  • Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment by Stevens, Rago

"Understanding the forces that people use to make major decisions is incredibly useful on an engineering team.  Approaching an argument from the perspective of trying to understand why the opposing view is so fervent in their position can give you insight on whether or not your view has holes or not.

Unix is perfect.  Those that do not understand Unix are doomed to re-implement aspects of it on their own, poorly.  Having a strong knowledge of how the operating system works at both the application and kernel level can really elevate your ability to solve complex problems as a programmer.  Plus you'll get my basic interview question correct concerning what the difference between a symbolic and a hard link is."

 

Josip, Designer

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Predicability Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

 

Daniel, Front End Engineer

  • Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull
  • Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson.

"The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a book about someone that gets transported to another realm where he is healthy as opposed to being a leper in real life. He gets thrown into an epic fight of good and evil and discovers that true power comes not from being good or evil, but knowledge. It’s a series that will keep you entertained."

 

Mike, Developer Tools Engineer

  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

"Meditations is a leadership memoir based on stoic philosophy. It's really blunt and all about self-improvement, duty and service. A lot of really great lessons."

 

Dave, VP of Engineering

  • You Don't Know JS: Scope & Closures
  • Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

"The 'You Don't Know JS' series is great. JavaScript has some interesting quirks as a language and unlike a lot of other interpreted languages, you really need to pay attention to the small details whether it be scope, parenthesis positions, object comparisons, etc. This series helps drive home the quirks of the language and keeps you thinking carefully about your code.

I got really inspired by 'The Modern Mixologist'. Much like in the rest of life, attention to detail helps take your finished product to a new level. While that book really helped you understand how to make a set of amazing cocktails, Dave Arnold takes it to another level and gives you the tools to get out and build your own creations. If you like craft cocktails enough to dive in yourself, this, and 'The Modern Mixologist' are must reads."

 

Kayla, People and Content Operations Lead

  • Originals by Adam Grant
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

"I learned a lot from Adam Grant’s 'Give and Take', and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of his newest book, 'Originals'. Grant understands business and people and the delicate relationship between the two. Infinite Jest has been sitting on my bookshelf for years, but I’m determined to pick it up- and finish it- this year."

 

   




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