Recently I left my postdoc position and became a software developer (see this post if interested). To get some idea of the new life style, I bought this “manual”.

This book contains 7 parts:

  • Career
  • Marketing yourself
  • Learning
  • Productivity
  • Financial
  • Fitness
  • Spirit

Each part has several chapters, and there are 71 chapters and 470 pages in total. The writing is casual thus the book can be finished rather quickly. The contents are somewhat basic. For me, I know little about career, marketing, productivity, and personal finance, thus I find these chapters quite useful.

In one chapter, the author also shares his life story as a software developer (since age 19), a real estate investor, and an entrepreneur, which is quite interesting. He has tried many different career options, missed quite a few opportunities, and eventually managed to retire at age 33 with $5000 passive income per month. After retirement, he has been life-coaching software developers and freelancing. In his original calculation, retirement should arrive in his forties, but some educational opportunity (pluralsight) accelerated the whole process.

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny. — Mahatma Gandhi

For productivity, the author recommends the pomodoro technique. Although the word pomodoro sounds like Japanese, it is the Italian word for tomato and refers to the classic tomato-shaped timer. Basically, you time yourself on a task. For every 25 min work, you get 5 min break (this 30 min is called a pomodoro). If any interruption (answering phone call, checking emails, grabbing snacks, browsing webpages, etc) happens during the work section, it does not count as a pomodoro. By recording the number of pomodoros, you get an idea of how many focused work is done in a day.

The author posted a Youtube video to demonstrate the usage of kanbanflow which combines kanban and pomodoro technique.

The author also makes a good point on planning: it is not only important to plan but also to review the execution. Then in the long run, one can make the plan more precise and make the future more predictable.