Top 3 Books for Managers

Moving into a people management role in the technology industry is a daunting task. I’ve done it twice in my career, mostly figuring out as I go with support from my peers and upper management. Having a good backlog of books can help as you take on this change in your career.

I’ve recently been asked for suggestions on a handful of books that I’ve found useful to support the transition to technical people management. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an avid reader (and when I do these days, it’s mostly Dr Seuss and Marvel!). However, I would recommend the following 3 books: while most of these books are more related to technical people management, they are great reads for all levels of folks in the technology industry.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Gene Kim, Kevin Behr & George Spafford

The Phoenix Project is one of my favourite technology reads. It goes through the story of Bill, an IT Leader, who joins a new organization and is tasked on “right the ship” on an existing, legacy project. The book reads like a novel, however, it has a wealth of information and tips for any leader who’s taking on a new challenge or addressing a new project and team. Highly recommended!

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Michael Lopp (@rands)

If you follow @rands on Twitter, then you’re likely getting a regular dose of technology and people leadership reality on a regular basis. If you’d like to have many, many of those tips in one read - Managing Humans is your book! Less fiction than The Phoenix Project, however, this book tells it like it is: the good, the bad and the ugly of being a manager in the engineering industry. Lots of great tips here, too!

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

Camille Fournier

A fantastic read for all levels in the technology industry. Even if you’re starting your path into leadership, The Manager’s Path is the book for you. Camille has gone through quite a transition in her career, and this book provides tips for anyone who is progressing and looking for support. Whether your a developer, technical lead, director or senior leader, there’s plenty in this book that you can pick up in chapters that are relevant to you.

Hopefully these books are helpful to you as you embark on your career in technical management, or if you just need a refresher or want to learn new skills!

Top 10 Albums of 2018

It’s been a while (almost 7 years), I thought I would be interesting to do a summary of my top albums from 2018. Traditionally I have broken this down into multiple posts, this round you get all the goodness in one post!

No specific formulas for me to rank these - my criteria is albums should be good enough that the’ve been added to my iTunes Library and are in regular rotation. Check the list below!

10. Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
9. Mac Miller - Swimming
8. Rise Against - Ghost Note Symphonies
7. PRhyme - PRhyme 2
6. Classified - Tomorrow Could Be The Day Things Change
5. Eminem - Kamikazee
4. Thrice - Palms
3. Kids See Ghosts - Kids See Ghosts
2. J Cole - KOD
1. Pusha T - DAYTONA

Honourable Mentions
Nas - Nasir
Joyce Manor - Million Dollars to Kill Me
Royce Da 5’9” - Book of Ryan

Happy New Year and all the best in 2019!

Data Driven Self Care

Here we are approaching the end of 2018! It’s been quite the year for the Hansen household with the addition of our new kiddo, having two boys under the age of 3 has kept us vey busy.

In addition to the family changes we’ve had, I’ve personally been focusing on health and wellbeing. As I approach my mid-thirties (yikes!), I felt it was time for me to pause and reassess my lifestyle habits and choices. I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds to bring my BMI back to a normal-range and I find myself having much more energy throughout the day.

I wanted to share a number of changes I’ve made that have personally helped me, in hopes that others could find value in this too. And in particular, I wanted to call out various apps and technologies that have helped make my self care transition much easier.


As I’ve aged, I completely underestimated just how much a healthy diet can impact your weight, body shape and mood. In years past I have cut out various foods based on how my body reacted to them (pork, beef, beans, etc. were removed from my diet). Taking it a step further this year I also cut out most breads, all deep fried food, alcohol and many processed foods (deli meats, cheeses, etc). I’ve found that I eat smaller portions now and still feel full and energized.

I also spent time with a naturopath who was able to recommend a number of supplements that I could be adding to my diet to help get the necessary nutrients I needed given my diet change. It still feels a little strange being one of those people who takes 6 different pills in the morning, but hey, if it’s helping my wellbeing then all the better!

I’ve also started using a food journal to track my diet and when I have symptoms based on the food I eat. I’ve used Cara, but there are many others out there that may fit your needs. Being able to have all data related to your diet, symptoms and mood made it easy to make changes to better my health.



For a number of years I’ve been a proponent of fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle. While I don’t consider myself an athlete, I do try to get roughly 30-60 minutes of exercise each day. Having a small home gym really helps here, as well, enlisting a personal trainer to help you meet your fitness goals is good advice.

Traditionally my exercise routine would be relatively varied for each session without really planning or tracking. Instead, I started building regular exercise routines using the Strong fitness app. This allows me to focus on different parts of the body each day (legs/back one day, upper body another, core, etc). One of the biggest benefits I’ve found here is that I can usually have consecutive days of workouts without feeling overtired. Of course, it’s good to put in rest days as well. I normally pick a day on a weekend to take a break from the gym and focus on other ways to meet my activity goals (getting the boys outside helps!).



As you could imagine, introducing another child into the world automatically comes with a disruption to your sleep. I am one of those people who does not function well without a good nights sleep! Paired with my Apple Watch, I’ve used AutoSleep to track how much sleep I’m getting (and the quality I’m getting).

AutoSleep is great app - not only for the fact that it’s feature-rich, but also due to the fact that it automatically detects your sleep and awake time (hence the name!).

The only change I had to make here was wearing my Apple Watch to sleep each night. Traditionally I’ve used overnight as a time to charge my watch. With sleeping with it on, I now charge it when I’m getting ready to head to work.

Keep your watch on Theatre Mode when you’re sleeping to avoid it lighting up when you move!


Lastly - I’ve been using the Headspace app to introduce about 10 minutes of mindfulness and meditation into most of my days. This has been the largest challenge for me, as traditionally I haven’t been someone who has gravitated towards these types of activities.

I’ve found that taking time out of each day to pause has been super helpful in relieving stress and giving me perspective on an otherwise busy life. I’ve also found that pausing from Facebook and Instagram has been great too!

Bringing It Together

With all of these separate apps helping me on my self care journey, it could be easy to have a fragmented view of my progress. Thankfully each of them integrates with Apple Health, which means I have one view into the data on my health.

The graph below shows my weight over the past year (been a big drop!). Other interesting data points that I track are:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) & Body Fat % using a Withings Scale.

  • Waist size

  • Mindfulness minutes

  • Workout data

  • Sleep data

  • Heart Rate

Hopefully the tips above will be helpful for anyone who’s looking to take care of themselves and use data to help your self care journey. Follow me on Twitter if you want to connect!