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3 MOTIVATING BOOKS
FOR YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Frontend News #6

David East - Author David East — August 30th, 2018

Daily motivation is hard to come by

I'm switching things up for this topic. There won't be any code in this edition. Instead, I'm writing about an equally important topic: motivation. Productivity isn't always hot keys and macros. Productivity comes when you manage your time well, prioritize the right tasks, track your progress, and refuse to quit.

As developers we are expected to, and often want to, learn new technologies. This takes effort over long periods of time. However, learning takes motivation. We share resources like tutorials, courses, and conference talks. But it's not as often that we share content to build motivation and grit. I wanted to help change that. Here's 3 books that I've found to be extremely helpful in my career.

Deep Work - Cal Newport

Motivation is hard to come by every day. Waking up motivated is one thing. Keeping that feeling all day is another. Deep Work is a book that motivates you just from reading it.

Deep Work cover

The author, Cal Newport, lays out two types of tasks: deep and shallow. Deep tasks produce valuable work and shallow tasks produce work of less value. A deep task would be something of core importance to your position, like creating a new landing page for your product. A shallow task would be checking your email. Both types of work are necessary but Newport argues that you need to prioritize deep work.

A deep work session is usually an uninterrupted session between an hour and a half to three hours. The value of deep work isn't in this advice. The book's value comes from the strategies provided for achieving deep work. Deep Work teaches different methodologies for approaching deep work tasks, and provides systems for tracking your progress.

Grit - Angela Duckworth

This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. There's a brilliant summary quote from this book: "Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare."

Grit by Angela Duckworth

How many times have you started a project just to see it flame out? Have you ever started to shift your career in a new path just to turn back because it felt uncomfortable or difficult? Grit explores what it means to be a "gritty" person. This book is based on the science of what it means to be someone who doesn't quit when it gets hard.

One of the best takeaways from Grit is the difference between talent and achievement. Grit provides a simple formula: Skill = Talent x Effort. Achievement = Skill x Effort. In this formula effort counts twice. Grit preaches that we shouldn't praise people for "being smart", but for being hard workers.

This book has helped me evaluate my choices over the long term and reduced the amount of quitting going on in my life.

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Willpower - Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Roy Baumeister is one of the foremost experts on the subject of willpower. What is most fascinating about this book is one simple principle: willpower is a muscle.

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Willpower being a muscle is a double-edge sword. The bad news is that willpower is finite, you can't always just "will" your way through something. The good news is that we can work out this muscle and make our willpower stronger.

This book dives into the science behind willpower and then gives tips and strategies for building and retaining willpower. If you have a hard time finishing things, this book will help strengthen your willpower muscle.

What are your favorite motivating books?

These are just three of my favorites. Send me a tweet and let me know what books have helped you progress in your career.

Missed the last issue?

#5 A brief guide to WebpageTest

THE HEAP

Links to articles I actually read

Web performance

What's New In DevTools (Chrome 70)

developers.google.com/web
There's a lot of nice new updates for the Dev Tools in Chrome 70. Live Expressions, Highlight DOM nodes during eager evaluation, Autocomplete conditional breakpoints, and debugging Node.js apps with ndb.

Emscripting a C library to Wasm

developers.google.com/web
WASM is the future. This is a great primer by on getting started with Emscripten to compile C code to WASM.

Worker DOM

github.com/ampproject
Web Workers are amazing, but they incur some complexity and you can't access the DOM. But not any more with Worker DOM, a new library from the AMP team that allows you to move DOM mutations to a background thread.

Demos

Building Battleship in CSS

css-tricks.com
Not just a demo! But a full blown tutorial on building Battleship purely in CSS.

Scrolling Gradient

codepen.io/MadeByMike
A pure CSS scrolling gradient. As you scroll down the page you'll see the gradient change colors. Pretty sweet technique.

Ocean Current in Canvas

codepen.io/Gthibaud
A trippy and impressive ocean reef / current in canvas.

PWA

NOTE! This section is curated my Maxim Salnikov! He's one of the most knowledgeable and passionate PWA developers out there. Give him a follow on Twitter.

An Event Apart: Designing Progressive Web Apps

lukew.com
In his "The Case for Progressive Web Apps" presentation at An Event Apart in Chicago, Jason Grigsby walked through the process of building Progressive Web Apps for your Web experiences and how to go about it. Here's Luke Wroblewski's notes from his talk.

Progressive Web-First Apps

medium.com/ben-and-dion
Dion Almaer explains why it makes sense to start with a PWA experience for your new idea.

Make your great application perfect with Google Lighthouse

webagility.com
Is there any way to verify quality of your app so that you can ship something you can be really proud of? Alan Semenov has an answer!

Frameworks

Level Up Your Reverse Engineering Skills

blog.angularindepth.com
Maxim Koretskyi has created some of the best blog posts by reverse engineering JavaScript frameworks. He shares his experience and provides some how to's for breaking open your favorite JavaScript frameworks.

Angular, React, Vue.Js And Co. Peacefully United Thanks To Micro Apps And Web Components

softwarearchitect.io
Manfred Steyer has a short and sweet blog post on how custom elements allow us to mix and match components from different frameworks.

Fonts

EB Garamond

fonts.google.com
A free form of the classic Garamond. A nice font for long form reading.

Machine Learning

Query a custom AutoML model with Cloud Functions and Firebase

hackernoon.com
AutoML makes Machine learning super easy. It helps you gather, train, and evaluate data all with UI. You don't have to write any of the model code either. Once your model is trained, you get access to a custom REST API endpoint to make predictions. Sara Robinson has a great article on how to use the AutoML REST API to build a web app with Cloud Functions and Firebase.

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