In the wise words of Lemony Snicket, “never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

Snicket also said that “A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.” 

Please take a moment to remember that taking advice from people is often a hit-or-miss sort of thing.

On the first point, I agree wholeheartedly—I’ve usually got an emergency book stashed in my car just in case of a particularly long wait in a queue.

With some of us having a little more time these days to catch up on our reading as we dive further into the holiday season, we once again asked our Camunda colleagues and our community to share their reading recommendations — what’s on their shelf right now and what they reach for every once in a while to re-read.

Books to De-stress

The weather outside gets frightful this time of year…at least in the northern hemisphere. The holidays don’t do much to help. De-stress a bit with these favorites:

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How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis

“During what has been a very stressful year, this book has helped me to reframe how I approach household tasks, time management and more. It has been helpful for approaching cleaning and chores from a space of compassion, which has been invaluable as of late.”

– Rin Oliver, Developer Advocate (Camunda)

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The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

“I’ve really enjoyed this book. It discusses how happiness tends to precede success, not the other way around. Oftentimes, we’re let down when these “things” we acquire don’t yield more happiness. This book takes a deep dive into finding our own happiness, which, in time, will likely lead to the success we dream of.”

– Christina Ausley, Technical Writer (Camunda)

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If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

“I have an end-of-year tradition where I re-read this, my favourite ever book. I’m a fan of setting new personal goals in the new year and this book does a great job of making you reflect on yourself and how you’re living your life, but also does it in a very refreshing and light-hearted way (it has some great ‘laugh out loud’ moments).”

– Eve Plumridge, People Experience (Camunda)

Books for Upskilling

Actor Harrison Ford once told a story of his pre-Han Solo days as a carpenter.  He worked with this architect and would tell them “Look, I’m terribly sorry, but I want to change that by half an inch,” and they’d say “No limit for better.” I think that is a worthy credo.

If you’re looking to get better at something, these books might just do the job:

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Building Microservices by Sam Newman

“It is very well written and explains a lot of important concepts when it comes to microservices without being too boring or ‘dry’.”

– Nele Uhlemann, Developer Advocate (Camunda)

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Product-Led Growth by Wes Bush

“Best book this year, not because of groundbreaking news but because it contains a lot of really helpful, practical advice that helps to structure our own internal thinking around how Camunda can continue to grow.”

– Jakob Freund, CEO (Camunda)

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“This rather old book holds true today and in the future due to simple but effective principles. I like the simple hints on how communication is key to being likable and convincing. Some of them, you might know others you may not be aware of.”

– Björn Richerzhagen (MINAUTICS Berlin)

Books for Broadening your Horizons

“All the secrets of the world are contained in books,” Snicket says. “Read at your own risk.” 

These next few books are a great entry to get a different perspective on life whether that’s through fiction, history, myth, religion or data.

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Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan

“I’m a big fan of Mike Duncan and this year he released this book which inspired me to create a process that, funny enough, inspired a series of video tutorials!”

– Niall Deehan, Developer Advocate (Camunda)

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Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“It’s just my all-time favorite.”

-Nastasja Johnston, Head of People Experience (Camunda)

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Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming

“Personally I love learning about people. I studied counseling and psychotherapy so that for me autobiographies are my favorite and super interesting. This one in particular is fabulous. It’s all about his upbringing and the challenges he overcame.” 

– Carol Teskey, Chief People Officer (Camunda)

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Bhagavad-Gita As It Is by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Highly regarded by scholars and philosophers, I’ve been reading the Bhagavad-Gita daily for 25 years now, and have not reached the limit of its applicability to the complexity of life’s challenges, and the search for purpose.”

– Josh Wulf, Developer Advocate (Camunda)

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Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

“The book is about how the world we know, government policy, medical research, technology, workplaces, media, etc. is built for and by men. Women are sadly overlooked and this has bad consequences not only for women but for men as well. I liked that the book is backed up with data and information from studies around the globe. It is an eye-opener, even if painful, but very useful to raise awareness about the topic.” 

– Gerardo Manzano (JIT)

Books by Camundos

Our Camundos are a busy bunch. In addition to catching up on their reading, our team is also quite prolific. Check out some of the titles written by our team below:

The End?

A special thanks to everyone who answered my Slack messages, emails, Zoom calls, letters by owl, faxes, smoke signals, and other communications. You’re wonderful, wonderful people. 

If you need any inspiration for why you should pick up one or several of the above, we’ll go back to Lemony Snicket again (who I’m currently reading).

He’s written a new book titled Poison for Breakfast, which is as irreverent as it is weird and charming. Anyway, Snicket says that “well-read people are less likely to be evil.” And isn’t that what we all try to do this time of year? 

Right? Don’t look at me like that. I might start to have questions.