management 3.0

is an excellent book by Jurgen Appelo, subtitled Leading agile developers, Developing agile leaders (isbn 978-0-321-71247-9). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
The hierarchy is needed for authorization; the network is needed for communication.
Big species consume more and breed slower.
The Red Queen's Race is an evolutionary hypothesis describing that a complex system needs continuous improvement to simply maintain its current fitness, relative to the systems it is co-evolving with. Some scientists claim that the Red Queen's Race, or the principle of co-evolving species, is an even more important driver of evolution that any other kind of environmental change.
We can consider the internal structure of each system to be a code for the environment and the other species that it is evolving with.
There is no accurate (or rather, perfect) representation of a system which is simpler than the system itself.
We can figure out why the human heart fails (reductionism) but we can never create a heart that won't fail (constructionism).
Managers must learn that they are "in charge" but not "in control".
Recent research has shown that the copying of ideas is the most successful of all strategies.
Uncertainty results in a bias towards self-interest.
Feedback is only feedback when there is a purpose behind it.
Research shows that self-discipline is twice as important as IQ for final grades of students. Effort matters more than talent.
Focus on delivering value.
We need continuous business improvement.


is an excellent book by Jeff Sutherland, subtitled A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines, and boosting productivity (isbn 978-847-94108-4). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
The most powerful part of Scrum from his [Jeff Johnson] point of view? Demos.
Scrum is not about the developers. It's about the customers and stakeholders.
I learned a lot about systems theory and how a system only has certain stable states. As a cell evolves, it moves from one stable state to another. Figuring out the rules to move a complex adaptive system from one state to another, and how to make the next state a positive one rather than a negative one, was something I spent nearly a decade on. To change a cell, you first inject energy into the system. At first there's chaos, there seem to be no rules, everything is in flux...
"How many gantt charts have you seen in your career?" I asked.
"Hundreds," he replied.
"How many of them were right?"
He paused. "None."
In business we all too often focus solely on individuals, even if production is a team effort.
It's the system that surrounds us, rather than any intrinsic quality, that accounts for the vast majority of our behaviour.
Every three weeks each team had to demonstrate to their colleagues what it was working on. This was an open demonstration; anyone could come. And if that demo wasn't both working and cool, [MediaLab] directors killed the project.
"Sprints." We called them that because the name evokes a quality of intensity.
Nothing gets moved to Done unless it can be used by the customer.
After engaging for a while in Sprints and Stand-ups, you stop seeing time as a linear arrow into the future but, rather, as something that is fundamentally cyclical.
People think in narratives, in stories.
The Product Owner has to be available to the team, to explain what needs to be done and why. While the Product Owner is ultimately accountable for the Backlog, there needs to be a constant dialogue with the team.
Orientation isn't just a state you're in; it's a process. You're always orienting... [OODA]

the genius in all of us

is an excellent book by David Shenk, subtitled why everything you've been told about genetics, talent and intelligence is wrong (isbn 978-184831218-0). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
We're better at stuff because we've figured out how to become better. Talent is not a thing; it's a process.
We do not inherit traits directly from our genes. Instead we develop traits through the dynamic process of gene-environment interaction.
In truth, the [word] 'intelligence' has become a mere vocal sound, a word with so many meanings that finally it has none. [Charles Spearman]
Stability does not imply unchangeability. [Michael Howe]
In 1932, psychologists Mandel Sherman and Cora B. Key discovered that IQ scores correlated inversely with a community's degree of isolation.
Talent is not the cause but the result of something.
People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. [Mozart]
Heritability is a population average, meaningless for any individual person. When someone says that heritability of height is 90 per cent, he does not and cannot mean that 90 percent of my inches come from genes and 10 percent from my food. He means that variation in a particular sample is attributable to 90 percent genes and 10 per cent environment.
Genes don't directly cause traits; they only influence the system.
Genes are probabilistic rather than deterministic. [Michael Rutter]
We have far more control over our genes - and far less control over our environment - than we think.
What would be really interesting for people to see is how beautiful things grow out of shit. [Brian Eno]
The brain circuits than moderate a person's level of persistence are plastic - they can be altered. They key is intermittent reinforcement.

the reason I jump

is an excellent book by Naoki Higashida, subtitled One boy's voice from the silence of autism (isbn 978-1-4447-7677-5). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
The Reason I Jump unwittingly discredits the doomiest idea of received wisdom about autism - that people with autism are anti-social loners who lack empathy with others. (Foreword)
I very quickly forget what it is I've just heard. Inside my head there really isn't such a big difference between what I was told just now, and what I heard a long, long time ago.
What makes us smile from the inside is seeing something beautiful, or a memory that makes us laugh. This generally happens when there's nobody watching us. And at night, on our own, we might burst out laughing underneath the duvet.
When I see I've made a mistake, my mind shuts down. However tiny the mistake, for me, it's a massive deal. Once I've made a mistake, the fact of it starts rushing towards me like a tsunami. And then, like trees or houses being destroyed by the tsunami, I get destroyed by the shock.
There are times when I can't act, even though I really, badly want to. This is when my body is beyond my control.
When I'm jumping, I can feel my body parts really well... and that makes me feel so, so good. By jumping up and down, it's as if I'm shaking loose the ropes that are tying up my body. When I jump I feel lighter.
It's not quite that the noises grate on our nerves. It's more to do with a fear that if we keep listening, we'll lose all sense of where we are.
My guess is that the despair we're feeling has nowhere to go and fills up our entire bodies, makes our senses more and more confused.
When you see and object, it seems that you see it as an entire thing first, and only afterwards do its details follow on. But for people with autism, the details jump straight out at us first of all, and then only gradually, detail by detail, does the whole image sort of float up into focus.
Numbers are fixed, unchanging things. That simplicity, that clearness, it's so comforting to us. Invisible things like human relationships and ambiguous expressions, however, these are difficult for us people with autism to get our heads around.
I understand that any plan is only a plan, and is never definite, but I just cannot take it when a fixed arrangement doesn't proceed as per the visual schedule. Visual schedules create such a strong impression on us that if a change occurs, we get flustered and panicky.
We can put up with our own hardships okay, but the thought that our lives are the source of other people's unhappiness, that's plain unbearable.