My Job Went to India...
If you work as a software developer for a living, I recommend you get a copy of "My Job Went to India".
Ignore the curious title and funny cover. It’s about planning your career and making yourself a more valuable developer.
I read it right after "The World is Flat" (by the way, a fascinating description of today’s globalized economics), and it was a good 1-2 punch.
Full of great advice. Stimulating and motivating little book. It helped me find the energy to go back to work after taking a week off :-).
The book is divided in 52 concrete pieces of advice. You’ll get ideas for improving your technical abilities, as well as business-related knowledge and inter-personal skills.
A couple of paragraphs I liked, from the Introduction:
For some not-insignificant percentage of IT workers, the safest bet is to start looking for an alternate line of work. […] If you don’t have passion and a drive that would force you to create software […] you’re not going to be able to continue to compete with those who do.
… Software is a business […] To stay employed, you’re going to have to understand how you fit into the business’s plan to make money.
And this one below made me laugh, from advice #6 “Be a specialist”:
“Too many of us seem to believe that specializing in something simply means not knowing about other things.”
I would have titled it something like “The Mature Pragmatic Programmer”, as it is a perfect second volume for "The Pragmatic Programmer".