On The Bookshelf – Aug. 28, 2009

With some free time, finally, upon the completion of the 4A semester, I’ve gotten around to reading some books I’ve been meaning to for a long time.

The Photographer’s Eye

This fantastic work of art by Michael Freeman aims to address one of the key components of photography: composition. I sometimes get wound up in the technicalities of photography, cameras, lenses, accessories, that I forget about what’s important.

The picture.

Photographer's Eye

This book was highly recommended at some of the photography forums I frequent, and I picked it up to help refocus on getting the picture and not the gear. I’m only about 50 pages into the nearly 200 page book of fantastic imagery and tips, and I’m learning new stuff left, right, and center (literally?). Most of the basic composition concepts I know, including rule of thirds/geometric divisions, leading lines, contrast, have already been covered in only the first couple chapters. I’m eager to find out what fills the remaining 150 pages.

I really like how the book is designed. Each topic is surrounded by several examples, with commentary delving into the reason(s) the photograph ‘works’, tying back to the technique at hand. Photography is one of those skills that is most readily learned through the study of many, many samples. I got a glimpse of the technique via various online forums and Flickr, but this book condenses everything down into concise, to the point data.

Making Things Happen

In preparation for the program management position I’m about to throw myself into in a few days’ time, I’ve restarted reading Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun. I purchased this book not long after I got the Microsoft PM job, early this past spring. Something called university really got in the way of all my readings, so this book was left unattended to.

Making Things Happen

Scott Berkun worked at Microsoft as a Program Manager for several years, so he has great insight on the processes and mindset that happen there. Although I’ve held a couple co-op positions as a ‘Product Manager’, the level of responsibility and independence afforded by Microsoft to its PM interns is, from what I hear, quite unheard of. I don’t want to go blundering off a cliff, so I’d better learn as much as I can quickly.

Interacting with co-workers, especially in the Microsoft model of a PM working with a couple devs and testers, in a close-knit team, decision making, managing schedules and plenty more (I’m about 1/3 of the way through the book) are discussed. Being an intern, I’m uncertain of how the environment will look and the responsibilities that will be placed on me. This book has at least given me insight on how the full-timers do it. 🙂

Note: Both product links are through my Amazon Associates account. Help me pay for web hosting, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the books mentioned here. Thanks!


3 Replies to “On The Bookshelf – Aug. 28, 2009”

  1. I plan on doing so.

    Just from a quick glance of Getting Things Done, it looks like I already subscribe to the main theme – externalizing tasks, writing them down, etc. It’s quite invigorating to be able to see tasks being completed one by one. I’ll be sure to take a look at that book. Thanks for the suggestion!

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