Regardless of their experience and industry, every developer wants to be productive—even the insanely productive ones.

While there are a lot of productivity books in the market, there are a few that developers can benefit from.

So we took the time to list 5 of them along with a short description of what to expect and why to get them.

Before we get started, we need to note that most of these books are also available in audio formats, which, at least to us, is much more productive than reading.

There are also Blinkist summaries of the same if you would like to take that route.

So without further ado, here is the list.

The Pragmatic Programmer

Written by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, the book was published in 1999. Although development has significantly changed, there are a lot of concepts that the book touches upon that are still relevant. The authors also break down their pragmatic philosophy and approach towards developer productivity with ideas around trusting the team, coming up with options over excuses, learning to learn etc. There is no set order in which you need to explore this book; you can pick parts of the book and start reading, which is helpful.


Written by Martin Fowler, the first edition of this book came out in 2000, and the second edition was released in 2018. The book spends a lot of time on the process of refactoring and guides you on how to do the behavior preserving transformations. The book emphasizes the cumulative effect of these transformations and their significance in reducing the risk of introducing errors. In essence, the book guides transforming code under a safe and rapid process necessary to keep it cheap and easy to modify for future requirements.

Clean Code

Robert C Martin uses decades of experience in software environments of every imaginable type and tells you what architecture choices to make and why they are essential to your success. Some of the key things you'll learn from this book include identifying good and bad code, formatting for readability, error handling, test-driven development, etc. The book is easy to consume since it is divided into three distinct parts ranging from principles and patterns of writing clean code to identifying heuristics that indicate bad code.

Atomic Habits

For some non-technical productivity tips, "Atomic Habits" is an excellent read. James Clear's book is claimed to be the most comprehensive guide on changing your habits and getting 1% better every day. Having read this book a few years back, I think a quick listen on Blinkist should be good enough unless you are interested in the many anecdotes shared by the author. The most helpful part of the book for me was setting up your environment for improvement and overcoming a lack of motivation and willpower.

Pragmatic Thinking & Learning

Written by Andy Hunt in 2008, the book argues that the entire process of software development happens in your mind. The author gets into how our brains are wired and how to take advantage of it. The book delves quite a bit into cognition, neuroscience, learning, and behavioral theory, but it makes a lot of sense when put into the context of software development. Overall, it is an excellent read if you'd like to learn deliberately and avoid common traps in development.

So that was it. Have you read any of them? Let us know on Twitter @RoutineHQ.

There are, of course, a lot of books that I have missed, so point me towards them too.

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