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Publisher's Summary

For most software developers, coding is the fun part. The hard bits are dealing with clients, peers, and managers and staying productive, achieving financial security, keeping yourself in shape, and finding true love. This book is here to help.

Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual is a guide to a well-rounded, satisfying life as a technology professional. In it, developer and life coach John Sonmez offers advice to developers on important subjects like career and productivity, personal finance and investing, and even fitness and relationships. Arranged as a collection of 71 short chapters, this fun listen invites you to dip in wherever you like. A "Taking Action" section at the end of each chapter tells you how to get quick results. Soft Skills will help make you a better programmer, a more valuable employee, and a happier, healthier person.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Manning Publications (P)2015 Manning Publications

What listeners say about Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual

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    5 out of 5 stars

General good living advice.

Software developer? No, this book is by far, much more general than that. Anyone can read this, and gain insight into building good habits, and progressing upwards through life.

Topics such as job interviews, tertiary education being ineffective and fitness are discussed in enough detail so that one may begin to measure the depth of their own ignorance.

This is the kind of book someone aged 17-28 could really use, if they had no idea how to go about being an adult, with a job and responsibilities.

John Sonmez is very passionate about everything in his life, which leads his reading of his own book to break into dozens of tangents. This is frustrating at times, but ultimately beneficial due to the extra dense content he adds.

John also cites a lot of references to back up statements. Dozens of other books, links to websites containing studies and statistics make for very solid information. This is unique in the self help genre.

I recommend it to anyone willing to self improve as the entry book.

Have you ever caught a passionate teacher after class, and stood there just listening to him try unwind 20 years of experience about something in one go?

Yeah, it's that.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Wouldn't recommend

I got this book thinking it would be a good guide for the 'soft skills' that someone like me should work on.

While the author did share some experience, much of the advice had nothing to do with excelling in a tech environment.

While the author did share some nuggets of experience, I found myself wondering "why am I listening to this?"

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Well rounded book

I really enjoyed this book. I love how it's not just focused on programming but it's a tasting platter of all the things you need to become a successful, well rounded person.

Just sucks that the audio quality sounds like it was recorded in a toilet. It's got a bit of echo.

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  • Tanya
  • 02-08-2020

Very shallow book and sometimes bad advice

I was very excited to listen to this book, but as the chapters progress the book becomes more and more shallow and it gets obvious that the author hasn’t done much (any?) research on the topics and just describes what worked for him.
I stopped listening after the sentence “ ... the husband is a very logical person and a wife is more feeling-oriented - a pretty common situation ...”. As a female engineer I am so fed up of gender stereotypes and it is obvious that this book was not written with people like me in mind.
Would not recommend this book to anyone, there are much better books on the topics.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 26-11-2015

Should be called a developers roadmap to success!

Where does Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is my favorite audio book. I refer back to it often and glean new information each time.

What other book might you compare Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual to and why?

There are certain elements that remind me of How to win friends and influence people. It would however be unfair to both books to make the direct comparison because John Sonmez doesn't give the amount of anecdotal information on human interactions that Dale Carnegie does and "How to win friends and influence people" certainly doesn't cover as many topics that Soft Skills does.

Which character – as performed by John Sonmez – was your favorite?

N/A

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The chapters on Nutrition and Physical Fitness. As programmers we work very sedentary jobs at times and this is an area where we could all use a helping hand.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book to all my friends, new programmers as well as non-programmers. If you are considering it I promise you won't be disappointed.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Ibrahim
  • 16-04-2016

A new life manual for any software developer

Just being new to the development world, I wad a bit hesitant when I was recommended to buy a software development book thats not really about software development.
But after getting into the book I completely understood John and his reasons for writing this book, there is a need for it and not enough people are preaching self development in these sort of areas (I come from a mechanical engineering background). He hits the nail on the head on so many topics and his style of writing many small chapters worked a treat as I could small chunk the information in my spare time. He teaches you ways to market yourself, to stay fit, how to handle your finances, how to see yourself as a different person and grow into that person. His background in Software development gave him a great foundation as he could easily convey how he gets his work done and how we can too.
Im excited for a few months time when I relisten to this book and see what else I get from it.
Hes inspired me to write my own blog and Im currently doing his email course on blogging. So hopefully we can connect sometime in the future.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Leigh Zipf
  • 03-10-2015

Ended Up being a great motivator

Where does Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have only listened to 3 audio books so far, but have to say it will probably always rank in the top half of audio books I have and will listen to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual?

Treat your development career as a business. Fight for the pay you deserve and don't take the easy way out.

Have you listened to any of John Sonmez’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I believe this is the only book he has narrated. Having listened to his podcasts his performance was better then I had expected. He is a bit nasally, which I thought would grate on me but it didn't at all. The only thing I think could have been improved would be the transition between chapters and transition between narration and explanation of the text.

What did you learn from Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual that you would use in your daily life?

I wont be taking a jump to leave my job right away without having a plan and traction on my ideas.

Any additional comments?

I will admit it, I thought I was going to hate the book before even downloading it, and that I had just wasted my money. Within the first hour of listening there was actionable advise from John which I am working on applying to my life right now.
I was feeling pretty crappy before reading this book which is in part why I had started listening to motivational books. My feeling was that I was working in a dead end job with high churn and if I went off on my own and made my own company I would just fail and be stuck crawling back to a big company. Anyway it seems that John has lived the life I feared living and made it through to the other side. My one wish is that he would have dived deeper into real estate investing.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jens
  • 31-08-2016

Financial and workout advice rather than soft skills

The title of this book is somewhat misleading. I expected at least some discussion about social skills and professionalism in software development. A significant part of this book is instead dedicated to providing the author's subjective financial and workout advice. A software developer certainly has a different perspective on these subjects, but the author falls short on relating these subjects to software development. Better financial and workout advice can be found in elsewhere. If you are just looking for some general personal development very loosely related to software development, or some career advice, some chapters of this book might offer some minor value, but if you are looking to improve as a software developer, look elsewhere.

16 people found this helpful

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  • ANŽE ŽNIDARŠI
  • 22-05-2016

Junior to senior developers should read this

This book is great listen for software developers from junior to senior level. It's probably one of the rare books on software development you can listen to and not read it.
I've been a software developer for almost 15 years and this book gave me a lot if ideas for next 15 years.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Nadvolod
  • 30-03-2016

I liked it

There were many gold nuggets within the book. Covered tons of topics. I like his honesty.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Wilson
  • 21-04-2016

great insights for a developer

love it great advice for programmers about life, technical perspective, fitness, health, finances, philosophy, etc

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jairon Terrero
  • 14-09-2019

Excellent material.

Loved it.
Great content.
Great delivery.
Helped broaden my perspectives on my potential and helped me better visualize what I'll need to do to be successful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jt
  • 17-11-2018

John Sonmez is a wizard

This is probably my favorite book about overall life skills. The concepts not only software developers, but to anyone who wants to develop more of a bulldog mindset.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Simon Toth
  • 17-03-2016

Many words, little substance

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book is very information sparse. Each chapter has an introduction, summary, the actual content (which is generally very information sparse), followed by another summary.

You don't really get that much information. Pretty much the entire book could be condensed into a 2 hour informative presentation.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-2020

This book solved some problems for me

Reason I chose this book was because I was feeling stagnant in my career and inadequate (thus, imposter syndrome). Main takeaways: - as a software engineer, I shouldn't see myself as an "employee" (resulting in complacency and stagnation), but almost as a contractor who provides their skill (resulting in a mindset of providing value, and continuous expanding of skillset) - using a Kanbanflow board (which has an inbuilt Pomodoro Timer) to increase my productivity by utilising the 'flow' state - learning by teaching (like I am doing here - I am summarising the book to you, and this consolidates my understanding and connects the dots to convert information into knowledge, and eventually, wisdom, as we connect the learnings to our lives)

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  • D
  • 20-10-2016

Worth getting for the additional insights

What did you like most about Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual?

I really like the way John presents his content. The best part compared to reading the book is that John includes additional insights and tips that are not in the original text. He doesn't go off on a tangent though and the additional content is well worth listening to.

What does John Sonmez bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The extra insights where he goes more in-depth about certain subjects or where he will add extra value by talking about new things he's learnt since the printed version was published.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me feel motivated - Not all the techniques and ideas within the book were new to me, but it definitely motivates you to really think about your situation more. It's a book you can listen to multiple times and be motivated by it again and again

Any additional comments?

Check out John's YouTube channel Simple Programmer if you didn't come from there initially

3 people found this helpful

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  • SM
  • 30-08-2017

Must have for all modern programmers

I wish i discovered this book earlier i think its brilliant and can really put a software developers career and life into perspective. I'm definitely a fan.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GR
  • 03-12-2015

Good solid advice, worth multiple listens

Great book. Good solid advice for anyone in software engineering not just developers. covers a lot of ground with just enough detail to keep you listening and wanting to find out more about the areas under discussion.

Some of the audio recording could be better but didn't take much away from the content.

Well worth a read or listen for anyone in software and the extra content on John's website is good my main criticism is that the style is a bit too get rich quick sales style however the content is worth it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs S Morris
  • 25-06-2021

Great Book

This book had a plethora of useful information. I learned a lot but there were also some bits I ended up zoning out for because I'd already read a lot on those areas. Think of it as a book that covers a little bit of everything you need to be a software developer without anything technical involved. I would recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-05-2021

Best motivation book so far

Very good book. Work from home, self discipline, health, business, self employee. Book is complete guide for programmer life.

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  • James
  • 19-07-2020

Lacking Substance

I wish I could recommend it, but the content is overly repeated and rather lacking. Anecdotes will be consistently retold throughout the book with little new information. This makes sitting down and trying to listen to a large chunk a tedious and boring endeavour. A lot of this book is about marketing yourself, but the whole experience comes through as exactly that by the writer. Have you heard of their website before? Because by the end of this you certainly will remember it's name the amount it's repeated.

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  • Paul Ngumii
  • 12-06-2020

Interesting points

Great tips but could be much more condensed, probably half the current length. All in all covers just about every area in life

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-05-2020

A great "all-rounder" for software developers

I really enjoyed this book - it gave a holistic view on the different aspects of being a software developer which are important to have a balanced and fulfilling life.

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