Dennis Hearn: Favorite Books

My most-used and valued resource material. Each book image is a link to Amazon if you want to buy a copy for your own library.
Title Comments

The Mythical Man-Month
Frederick P. Brooks
The quintessential Software Project Management Manual - should be required reading for all software managers! The book is a collection of essays describing the first attempts in the 1970's to apply engineering methodology to Software Development. Some of the examples are dated but still applicable. A Second Anniversary Edition was printed in 1995 with updates and additional essays, but the classic chapters remain as they were. It coined one of the first principles of software management, Brooks's Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
How does a project get to be a year late? ... One day at a time.

Code Complete
Steve McConnell
The consummate Software Manual, it should be read before writing your first line of code. The topic is limited to software construction - the period of the development life cycle also called code and unit test. It contains a wealth of information on the mechanics of coding - the prerequisites, style, and verification. You probably know some but not all this stuff, and you really ought to if you call yourself a professional.
The techniques described in this book fill the void after introductory and advanced programming texts... Some of the most beneficial programming aids are practices that you can use regardless of the environment or language that you are working in,

The Pragmatic Programmer
Andrew Hunt & David Thomas
A great book, especially for beginners (but might help us all). It's a guide to the classic pitfalls and traps that encumber software projects, as well as describing best-practices that work. A lot of ideas you may already know implicitly, but seeing it explicitly written down reinforces its importance.
Care about your craft.

PHP Cookbook
David Sklar & Adam Trachtenberg
I like the entire O'Reilly Cookbook series but the PHP book is one of my favorites. These are not learning books - they contain "recipes" for solving problems (and ain't that what engineering is about - solving problems?). It may not be the exact solution to your particular problem, but it'll get you pointed in the right direction.
This book is a collection of solutions to common tasks in PHP. We've tried to include material that will appeal to everyone from newbies to wizards. If we've succeeded, you'll learn something (or perhaps many things) from the PHP Cookbook.

Managing Projects with make
Andrew Oram & Steve Talbott
Most projects use multiple toolsets, with multiple languages, and several environments - think application, relational database, HMI. And most projects want a single push button action to do a build. And the only way to get there is via make. Who knew there was so much to know - unless you've ever tried to figure out why a makefile failed to build.
While you can get a lot out of just using make to automate frequently-used commands, it rewards each quantum of effort that you invest in studying its operation.

Rites of Passage
John Lucht
Not an engineering book - think of it as cheap career guidance. A guide to executive job-changing, its applicable to engineers too (although the book's subtitle is "At $100,000 to $1 Million+" !!). It's a guide to the labyrinth of job search methods, including Internet, want-ads, and headhunters. Extremely useful whether you are actively searching, laid off, or just want to know your worth.
If you don't pay attention and make sure you're getting what you really deserve and want from your career, you have no one else to blame.