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Tech Career Insights: Recommended Reading on Team Culture and People from Leaders at TomTom, Bol.com, and Co.
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Recommended Reading on Team Culture and People from Leaders at TomTom, Bol.com, and Co.

13 January 2021, by Jomiro Eming

The best in tech learn from the best in tech, and reading is how the top thought leaders do just that. A fundamental part of levelling up — be it in team management or team culture — is through learning from those who have already done the hard part, and experienced the failures and wins of succeeding. We chat to software developers, tech leads and CTOs from top companies like Disney, Booking.com, WeTransfer, and Gitlab, who have shared their top reads with us. Here are their recommendations for levelling up your team culture and people.

If you’ve read any of these books, or have others you’d like to add, let us know in the comments! You can also tweet your own recommendations — just remember to tag OfferZen (@offerzen) so we can see what you’re reading!


“Culture Map”, Erin Meyer

Recommended by: Sjamilla van der Tooren, Tech Sourcer at VanMoof

For Sjamilla, understanding people is a crucial skill in her role as a tech sourcer: “In the Netherlands, and as a remote tech sourcer, I work with a lot of people from different cultures, and from around the globe. This was a really interesting read because it shows you how everyone has a different culture and how, as a person, you can work with them.”

Culture Map shows the impact of cultural differences on international businesses by walking through real-life examples. In an ever-more globalised and virtual world, knowing people and understanding cultural differences is a skill that we all need to develop. Being able to decode how we as humans work, and what differentiates us from others based on our past experiences is an essential part of communicating effectively virtually.

“Sapiens”, Yuval Noah Harari

Recommended by: Sanjukta Barooah, COO at Finturi

As someone who needs to think a lot about people and product, and how the two gel together in a tech team, Sanjukta seeks out any books that help her understand people better.

Recommended by Bill Gates as a must-read for anyone who’s interested in the future of our species, Sapiens dives into the intricacies of who we are, why we are the way we are, and how our past has shaped the evolution of our societies, our culture, and our way of life.

“Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, Ashlee Vance

Recommended by: Yevhen Andreiev, Software Engineer iOS at TomTom

Yevhen finds that tapping into the minds and lives of successful tech thought-leaders is a really effective way to learn how they think about the problems they encounter. That’s why he recommends biographies.

In this book, Vance explores where Musk’s vision comes from, where he gets his gusto, and how his tumultuous South African upbringing has shaped SpaceX, Neurolink, Tesla and more.

“iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It”, Steve Wozniak

Recommended by: Hannes De Jager, Senior Software Developer at Bol.com

Keeping up to date with technical news and hearing from the best in the industry is really important for Hannes. Although he reads his fair share of technical books, a genre he particularly enjoys is biographical books on software’s most legendary icons. Tapping into the minds and lives of thought-leaders helps Hannes understand himself and his approach to tech much better.

In this book, Steve Wozniak looks at his and Steve Job’s relationship, Apple, and how Wozniak has driven forward the technological revolution and innovation of his career.

What are your favourite books? Let us know in the comments what books have helped you in your career, and why they’ve had such an impact!

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