50 Books and 10,000 Articles that Helped Shape Me as a Software Developer and as a Person

One of the top 10 questions that I receive during a conversation with someone new is “What do you read?” Although I can’t list out every single thing I’ve read, I can provide a list of articles and books that I’ve completed (I’ve kept a comprehensive list). I don’t know how many thousands of articles I’ve started reading and did not complete, or how many books I’ve partially read, extracting only the relevant information out of them, but I do know how many books I’ve completed and the number of articles I’ve read since November, 2014. As of this writing, I’ve read 10,459 articles and 53 books.

Each time I finish reading a book, I will update this article (Last Update: 07/29/2020).

Background

My mind was always abused by the amount of reading I was pumping out each day. For example, I started my programming career by sitting down 6–8 hours each day and reading books until I finally got it (this was 2009 and YouTube didn’t have the kind of content it does now; I’ve done an insane amount of YouTube learning since then). I was also in college going towards a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, so there was a ton of studying there too. After my son was born, I abruptly stopped doing this and focused exclusively on my family and my work. If you manage your time well, you’ll notice that there are a lot of hours in the day. My brain had all the time in the world to think, and thinking it did. I’m reading a book on Mindfulness right now and I’m realizing all of the negatives that can come from that if you don’t manage your thoughts correctly.

Out of boredom one day, I picked up a book and started reading. I finished it a few days later. I picked up another one and started reading it too. I think my subconscious figured out that this lowers my anxiety. It allows me to focus on one thing and live in the moment. I slowly started adding additional mind-stimulating obsessions to my plate until my free-time was utterly consumed. I had a check-list on my phone and I checked it off each day.

  1. Read 25-50 pages of any book.
  2. Read 20+ articles each day.
  3. Spend 30 minutes studying German (I took German in High School).
  4. Spend 30 minutes each day learning to play the piano.
  5. Write at least 10 lines of code not related to work.
  6. Do research for any amount of time. I chose Brain Signal mapping.
  7. Do weight-lifting for any amount of time each day.
  8. Ride bicycle for any amount of time each day, but strive for 10 miles (I live right next to a bike trail so I don’t have to drive anywhere).

Quite a list. Although it may give you anxiety, I felt happy. That is until my brother said something. I had started to allow the list to spill into my regular day. My wife, son, and I were at my parents house and my brother stopped by too. I was reading my 40th article that day. He looked at my wife and said, “Dino’s going to be reading his articles during your funeral.” I realized at that moment that I was completely obsessed and it was not healthy anymore to do this.

After a couple of weeks I told my wife that I’m going back to school and would take 1 class each semester. I went back in 2015 and completed my B.S. degree in Computer Science in July 2019. Towards the end I realized that college was not what it used to be so I took 3 classes per semester. I had developed such a strong study habit that I did not have to devote the kind of time that I used to outside of class. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely delivered. For example, in Software Engineering, the average code submitted for each groups final project was 500 to 600 lines of code. My group, which consisted of me and one other guy, had 12,000 lines of code, 11,000 of which were written by me.

During Mobile App Development, the final project required us to pick 3 out of the 40 major categories that we talked about in class and make an app. I picked all 40 categories. In Programming Language Concepts, I wrote 950 study questions (with answers) and gave them to my Professor to distribute to the class if she chose to do so; those questions are distributed to each class to this day. I even took on an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant role and did some Undergraduate Research. I was home at 3:00 pm each day and took certain classes at or after 8:00 pm so that my son could say, “My dad was always there.” Life was good and continues to be good.

Articles

  1. Bookmark each article read. In order to get an accurate count though, I would have to manually count each one. It just wasn’t practical.
  2. Placed everything into an Excel sheet. Although the count was there, and the sheet itself was synchronized using Dropbox, it was not convenient, especially when using your phone.
  3. Twitter! It just happened. I saw how many tweets someone had and it just clicked. I could share each article on Twitter and that would give me an accurate count. I could review some of the articles that I’ve read if I wanted to and if Twitter ever shut down, I could export an Excel sheet and have a backup of all of my tweets (articles read). I deleted all of the tweets from my account and used it exclusively to share articles from that point on. I never replied to anyone or re-tweeted anything since that would falsely increase the number of tweets that I had.

205 days later, June 20th, 2015, I read 5,028 articles. That came out to roughly 24.5 articles per day.

After reading 10,000 articles, I could not see the accurate number any more so I tapped into Twitter’s API and created a page for myself that shows me a few details. Twitter would say 10.4K Tweets whereas my page stated 10,459.

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Why did I want to know the count? It kept me motivated to keep reading more.

To see a list of articles that I’ve read over the years, you can visit my Twitter page:

https://twitter.com/DinoCajic

Books That I’m Currently Reading

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Magento 2 Cookbook
Ray Bogman, Vladimir Kerkhoff

Completed Books

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56). Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff
Richard Carlson
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55). The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems
Ronald D. Siegel
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54). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J. K. Rowling
53). The Road to Learn React by Robin Wieruch
53). The Road to Learn React by Robin Wieruch
53). The Road to Learn React
Robin Wieruch
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52). An Illustrative Introduction to Algorithms
Dino Cajic
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51). Head First JavaScript Programming
Eric Freeman and Elisabeth Robson
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50). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
J.K. Rowling
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49). Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts
Stanislas Dehaene
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48). Origin
Dan Brown
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47). Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
Michael Wolff
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46). Computer System Architecture: 3rd Edition
M. Morris R. Mano
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45). Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain
Michael S. Gazzaniga
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44). Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Max Tegmark
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43). CodeIgniter for Rapid PHP Application Development
David Upton
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42). Concepts of Programming Languages (11th Edition)
Robert W. Sebesta
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41). Head First C: A Brain-Friendly Guide 1st Edition
David Griffiths and Dawn Griffiths
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40). Head First Algebra: A Learner’s Guide to Algebra I
Dan Pilone and Tracey Pilone
Needed a re-fresher since I was about to take Calculus II after taking Calculus I 10 years prior to that.
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39). The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind
Michio Kaku
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38). Object-Oriented Software Engineering Using UML, Patterns, and Java (3rd Edition)
Bernd Bruegge and Allen H. Dutoit
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37). The Professor
Robert Bailey
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36). Plato Five Dialogues 2nd Edition
John M. Cooper
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35). What if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Randall Munroe
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34). Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee
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33). The Einstein Prophecy
Robert Masello
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32). The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley
Alex Haley
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31). Mindfulness: How to Live in the Present Moment without Stress and Anxiety
Anne Williams
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30). Complete Guide of YouTube to Make Big Following
Harry Jones
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29). Instagram Blackbook
J. Holmes
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28). Instagram Marketing: Grow Real Followers
Jennifer Puno
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27). Divine Madness
Robert Muchamore
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26). CSC2310: Principles of Computer Programming
Georgia State University
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25). The Art of War
Sun Tzu
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24). PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites (4th Edition)
Larry Ullman
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23). An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
Ali Almossawi
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22). Advanced PHP Programming
George Schlossnagle
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21). Introduction to Java Programming, Comprehensive Version (9th Edition)
Y. Daniel Liang
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20). To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
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19). The Book of Love: A Novel (Magdalene Line)
Kathleen McGowan
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18). Essential PHP Security
Chris Shiflett
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17). Effortless E-Commerce with PHP and MySQL (2nd Edition)
Larry Ullman
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16). Concise 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
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15). The Expected One
Kathleen McGowan
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14). PHP and MySQL Web Development (5th Edition)
Luke Welling | Laura Thomson
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13). A Brief History of Time
Stephen Hawking
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12). The Universe in a Nutshell
Stephen Hawking
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11). The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes
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10). The Eleventh Plague
John Marr | John Baldwin
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9). Inferno
Dan Brown
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8). The Lost Symbol
Dan Brown
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7). The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
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6). Angels and Demons
Author: Dan Brown
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5). Digital Fortress
Dan Brown
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4). Deception Point
Dan Brown
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3). The Rule of Four
Ian Caldwell | Dustin Thomason
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2). The Secret
Rhonda Byrne
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1). Head First PHP & MySQL
Lynn Beighley | Michael Morrison

Need to Read

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Docker Deep Dive
Nigel Poulton
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Docker in Practice 2nd Edition
Ian Miell, Aidan Hobson Sayers
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Laravel: Up & Running: A Framework for Building Modern PHP Apps 2nd Edition
Matt Stauffer
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Hands-on Scikit-Learn for Machine Learning Applications: Data Science Fundamentals with Python
David Paper
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Cryptonomicon
Neal Stephenson

Written by

Author of An Illustrative Introduction to Algorithms. A Software Engineer with a B.S. in Computer Science, a minor in Biology, and a passion for learning.

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