Tag books

Top 7 Lessons From 134 Books

This post is a quick summary of the Top 7 Lessons From 134 Books video by the OnePercentBetter YouTube channel. I am posting it as self reference and because I'm interested to know what works for my readers.

Lesson 1: Boost your happy chemicals

The essence of this is to get your 8 hours of sleep, exercise regularly and eat healthy.

Couple of years ago I was a sugar addict and stopped cold turkey. Then I tried fasting for a year, strictly following the religious calendar every day (wasn't that hard). Then I started doing some moderate exercise.

As boring as it may sound it does actually work. I still have my urges but I am feeling much more energetic right now. I am able to maintain concentration for longer periods and I am actually more productive.

Lesson 2: Forget self-help, be kind

Just be kind!

Lesson 3: Value your time

One of the lessons which very much resonates with me. I hate people who don't value their time, mostly because when I have to interact with such people they are also wasting my own time.

Not caring what others think about you also falls into this category.

Lesson 4: The 80/20 principle

80% of the returns come from 20% of the causes. Again one of my favorites which I learned from The 4-Hour workweek by Tim Ferris.

This principle can be applied to every aspect of our lives to maximize the returns. I still not very good at applying it (I think) but I'm trying to figure it out.

Lesson 5: Learn how to win friends and influence people

This is from another favorite book of mine. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Just read the book!

Lesson 6: Create, don't consume

It is only when we start creating that opportunities start coming our way! I can confirm this from experience. It is because of this blog, my open source work on GitHub, my teaching work and my speaking engagements that people contact me every day with opportunities and work related proposals.

Sure you need the skills to back those up, but the strange thing about creating is that it actually improves these very same skills (plus teaches you a few other) and that helps you deliver on the new opportunities that just came up. It's like an enchanted circle but a good one!

Lesson 7: Mind over matter

No drama, please. There are events in our lives which we can't control. Why then bother worrying about them and spending energy? The only thing we can do is choose how to react when these events happen. I'm not saying don't care about anything but rather care more selectively and spend more energy on the things that matter.

Bonus: 7 more lessons

OnePercentBetter made a new video called 7 Unconventional Lessons From 179 Books (NOT Taught At SCHOOL) which adds the following lessons:

  1. Future blindness - people sucks at predicting the future. If you want to know what it is really like to be in somebody's position just ask them.
  2. The 1% rule - small improvements applied continuously over a period of time have drastic effects.
  3. University is a scam - this one is controversial but the idea is that information is everywhere and accessible for free and opportunities are ripe. You don't (always) need to go to university to become successful.
  4. Don't give a fuck - what people think about you
  5. Mentorship is the fast-track to success - find a mentor to speed up your learning, your success rate, etc, learn from other people's mistakes instead of committing them on your own. I will also add learn how to and become a mentor yourself.
  6. Direct your efforts - set a goal and work towards it every single day. This gives meaning to everything you do.
  7. Pseudoscience can be beneficial - sometimes we don't have strong scientific proof that something is beneficial but experience tells us it probably is. Don't rush to decisions, analyze the risks and potential benefits before jumping in but do keep an eye on new methods and techniques. If they seem to work why not reap the benefits before the masses ?

Thanks for reading and don't forget to comment and give me your feedback!

Social media image source: https://elearningindustry.com/top-10-psychology-books-elearning-professional-read

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Free Software Testing Books

There's a huge list of free books on the topic of software testing. This will definitely be my summer reading list. I hope you find it helpful.

200 Graduation Theses About Software Testing

The guys from QAHelp have compiled a list of 200 graduation theses from various universities which are freely accessible online. The list can be found here.

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Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don't have a good distribution strategy.

Mark Andreessen, venture capitalist

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers introduces startup founders and employees to the "Bullseye Framework," a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth.

Too often, startups building a product struggle with traction once they launch. This struggle has startups trying random tactics - some ads, a blog post or two - in an unstructured way that leads to failure. Traction shows readers how to systematically approach marketing, and covers how successful businesses have grown through each of the following 19 channels:

  • Viral Marketing
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Unconventional PR
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social and Display Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as Marketing
  • Target Market Blogs
  • Business Development (BD)
  • Sales
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Existing Platforms
  • Trade Shows
  • Offline Events
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Community Building

The book is very easy to read and full of practical advice which should serve as a starting point and give you more ideas how to approach a particular distribution channel. It took me two days to read and I already had some ideas to test even before reading the whole of it. My next steps are to apply the principles to my current startup Obuvki 41 Plus and a future one I have in mind.

To anyone building a startup of any kind I would recommend the following selection of books:

Start reading right now (and also support this blog) by following the links below:

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Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss is one of my all time favorite books. The basic idea is to ditch the traditional working environment and work less utilizing more automation.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.


The book starts with a story about the Tango World Championship semifinals in Argentina and poses the question “What on earth would I be doing right now, if I hadn’t left my job and the U.S. over a year ago?” Can you answer this? Keep reading!

Step 1: Definition

Tim defines two groups of people. The Deferrers, those who save it all for the end only to find that life has passed them by and the New Rich.

  • The employee who rearranges his schedule and negotiates a remote work agreement to achieve 90% of the results in one-tenth of the time, which frees him to practice cross-country skiing and take road trips with his family two weeks per month.

  • The business owner who eliminates the least profitable customers and projects, outsources all operations entirely, and travels the world collecting rare documents, all while working remotely on a website to showcase her own illustration work.

  • The student who elects to risk it all—which is nothing—to establish an online video rental service that delivers $5,000 per month in income from a small niche of Blu-ray aficionados, a two-hour-per-week side project that allows him to work full-time as an animal rights lobbyist.

The possibilities are endless. What defines the New Rich is their unrestricted mobility and availability of free time! Money alone doesn't count anymore. Its practical value is multiplied by the what, when, where and with whom you do what you do.

From that point of view earning less money but spending far less time on that is much more powerful than working 80 hours per week for a million dollars.

Step 2: Elimination

One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.


In this chapter Tim talks about developing selective ignorance of information, the 80-20 Pareto principle, gives tips for faster reading and battling interruption like checking your e-mail and smart phone.

Step 3: Automation

Outsourcing and technical automation are the keys here but there is more. Tim talks about income autopilot - designing your income sources in such a way so that they don't consume much of your time and continue to produce income even after the initial time investment.

Think about the following: working a 9-to-5 job yields an income only during office hours. Having written a book yields income whenever a copy is sold, which is while you're asleep and long after the initial time investment required to write the book.

Then you can diversify your income streams and voila - you're making money automatically :)

Tim also refers to the business management side of things. Why become the manager when you can be the owner of the business ? It's kind of hard to let virtual assistants run your business and resolve issues for you but that frees up your time which is more valuable.

In between he also mentions why as a business you should keep prices high! Counter intuitive, isn't it?

This is easier said than done but I've been working on it for the last couple of years and its starting to take shape nicely so there's truth to it.

Step 4: Liberation

This is the chapter which helps you escape the 9-5 office hours through some interesting techniques. This is not only for freelancers like myself but also for the regular employee. One of the principles is to ask for forgiveness, not a permission (which will be denied anyway).

Another one boils down to:

  • Increase company investment into you so that the loss is greater if you quit, e.g. corporate training;
  • Prove increased output offsite - call in sick Tuesday to Thursday but continue working. Produce more and leave some sort of digital trail, emails, etc;
  • Prepare the quantifiable business benefit - you need to present remote working as a good business decision and not a personal perk, for example you've managed to bill more hours to your company's customers. As explanation use removal of commute and fewer distractions from the office noise;
  • Propose a revocable trial period - plan everything that will be said but play it cool and casual. You want to avoid the impression that remote working will be something permanent (for now). Find a relaxed afternoon and give it a shot!
  • Expand remote time by making sure you're most productive on your days out of the office and if need be lower the productivity inside the office a bit. Then give it a shot for a longer trial period or more days working remotely;

There's also another one called the hourglass approach, so named because you use a long proof-of-concept up front to get a short remote agreement and then negotiate back up to full-time out of the office.

I personally had it easier in terms of remote working. Before I became a contractor I've been working with folks in the US to whom it doesn't really matter whether I was based in Czech Republic or in Bulgaria. Also I've been sick at that time and had an important project to manage which all just played nicely in proving that I can be productive in any location.

Then comes one of my favorite sections Killing Your Job. Boy you just have to read this. Lots of people need to read this! Everything you are afraid of and keeps you from quitting your job is total bulshit. There are always options. It might be emotionally difficult, but you won’t starve!

Extended edition

This extended edition of the book completes with blog articles and bonus sections like Killing Your BlackBerry.

I’m a 37-year-old Subway franchisee owning and operating 13 stores. Been doing this for seven years. Prior to reading 4HWW I was KING at W4W (translate: work for work’s sake)

Crunched my “always open” workweek into four days and 20 hours. I immediately began taking Mondays OFF, giving me a nice three-day weekend. Tuesday to Friday I work 11 A.M.–4 P.M. (20 hours per week).

I was forced to appraise everything through the 80/20 filter and found that 50% of the 80% was pure crap and the other 50% of the 80% could be done by someone on my payroll.

I still carry portable e-mail but I’ve killed “auto-sync”. Now it’s on a Tues–Fri, 11 A.M.–4 P.M. schedule.

My e-mail autoresponder eliminated 50% of my e-mail within two weeks as people sending me meaningless crap got fed up looking at my autoresponder and stopped including me.

ANDREW, self-employed in the UK

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Book Review: How to Win Friends

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie teaches you how to deal with people. The book briefly explains some easy to use principles, why and how they work and then provides tons of real life examples behind those principles. This book is a must for everyone but especially parents and teachers and folks in sales, management or business leaders.

I will only highlight the key points. What follows are direct quotes from the book.

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

'If You Want to Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over the Beehive' - PRINCIPLE 1: Don't criticise, condemn or complain.

The Big Secret of Dealing with People - PRINCIPLE 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

'He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way' - PRINCIPLE 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

Do This and You'll Be Welcome Anywhere - PRINCIPLE 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.

A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression - PRINCIPLE 2: Smile.

If You Don't Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble - PRINCIPLE 3: Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist - PRINCIPLE 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

How to Interest People - PRINCIPLE 5: Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

How to Make People Like You Instantly - PRINCIPLE 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

You Can't Win an Argument - PRINCIPLE 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It - PRINCIPLE 2: Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, 'You're wrong'.

If You're Wrong, Admit It - PRINCIPLE 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

A Drop of Honey - PRINCIPLE 4: Begin in a friendly way.

The Secret of Socrates - PRINCIPLE 5: Get the other person saying 'yes, yes' immediately.

The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints - PRINCIPLE 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

How to Get Cooperation - PRINCIPLE 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You - PRINCIPLE 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.

What Everybody Wants - PRINCIPLE 9: Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.

An Appeal That Everybody Likes - PRINCIPLE 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.

The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don't You Do It? - PRINCIPLE 11: Dramatise your ideas.

When Nothing Else Works, Try This - PRINCIPLE 12: Throw down a challenge.

Part Four: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin - PRINCIPLE 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

How to Criticise – and Not Be Hated for It - PRINCIPLE 2: Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.

Talk About Your Own Mistakes First - PRINCIPLE 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.

No One Likes to Take Orders - PRINCIPLE 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

Let the Other Person Save Face - PRINCIPLE 5: Let the other person save face.

How to Spur People On to Success - PRINCIPLE 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be 'hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise'.

Give a Dog a Good Name - PRINCIPLE 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct - PRINCIPLE 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

Making People Glad to Do What You Want - PRINCIPLE 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

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I Want to Be a Robot - Book Review: The Singularity Is Near

I've just finished reading The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology and all I have to say is "I want to be a robot"!

This is one of the books that took me the longest time to read. It's a hard to read book because it is full of technical and scientific details, quotes a great deal of facts and research and leads your mind into fields which deserve a separate books for themselves.

The purely technical side of the book makes it a bit hard to follow as you need to have a good deal of understanding of computing technology and concepts and keep in mind what's been said in previous chapters.

Ray Kurzweil starts with historical data about evolution and technological progress. He postulates his theory of technology evolution called "The Law of Accelerating Returns" and lists a great deal of examples to prove that evolutionary processes are indeed not linear but exponential.

The next two chapters explain how much is the computational capacity of the human brain, how to achieve that and how to reverse engineer the brain itself. Think about 3-D molecular computing, quantum computing, brain imaging and scanning :)

Increased computing capacity and understanding of the human brain (and general progress of science and technology in the mean time) will lead to the three revolutions which will make the Singularity possible: Genetics, Nanotechnology and Robotics (Strong AI). Ray gives a lot of examples and current research which is well under way currently or will become a reality in the next 10 to 30 years.

Following in the book is a list of impacts caused by the advancement of technology and the Singularity itself. On the human body and brain, on longevity, on warfare, on work and learning and play, on the Cosmos.

Because the Singularity is not a single event but rather many events which happen in parallel and gradually over time we will have a hard time defining what a human means. What is human, what is consciousness and where the line is are questions which need to be taken into consideration. Ultimately the human race will become (predominantly) non-biological.

How do you deal with dangers and shortcomings in technology? I myself as a QA engineer have seen software fail in spectacular ways. How about machine failures? Now how about nanobots in your blood stream or strong AI gone wild? Ray explains some of the possible threats and proposals to overcome them. His point is that benefits from advanced technology will be far greater than dangers and we will be able to first design our defense systems before anything else that may threaten our existence.

The last chapter contains examples of criticism and explanations why they are incorrect which is the first of its kind I've seen in a book.


Human Centrality. A common view is that science has consistently been correcting our overly inflated view of our own significance. Stephen Jay Gould said, "The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos."

But it turns out that we are central, after all. Our ability to create models-virtual realities-in our brains, combined with our modest-looking thumbs, has been sufficient to usher in another form of evolution: technology. That development enabled the persistence of the accelerating pace that started with biological evolution. It will continue until the entire universe is at our fingertips.

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Book Review - Last 3 Months

Hello folks, this is my book list for the past 3 months. It ranges from tech and start-up related to Japanese and kid stories. Here's my quick review.

Lean UX

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience is the second book I read on the subject after first reading UX for Lean Startups.

It is published before UX for Lean Startups and is much more about principles than any practical methods. Honestly I'm not sure if I took any real value out of it. Maybe if I had read these two books in reverse order it would have been better.

The Hacienda - How Not to Run a Club

The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club by Peter Hook is one of my favorites. It covers a great deal of music and clubland history, depicts crazy parties and describes the adventure of owning one of the most popular nightclubs in the world. All of that while struggling to make a buck and pouring countless pounds into a black hole.

The irony is The Hacienda became a legendary place only after it had closed down and later on being demolished.

A must read for anyone who is considering business in the entertainment industry or wants to read a piece of history. My favorite quote of the book:

Years after, Tony Wilson found himself sitting opposite Madonna at dinner.

‘I eventually plucked up the courage to look across the table to Madonna and ask, “Are you aware that the first place you appeared outside of New York was our club in Manchester?”

‘She gave me an ice-cold stare and said, “My memory seems to have wiped that.”’

Simple Science Experiments

Simple Science Experiments by Hans Jürgen Press is a very old book listing 200 experiments which you can do at home using household materials. It is great for teaching basic science to children. The book is very popular and is available in many languages and editions - just search for it.

I used to have this as a kid and was able to purchase the 1987 Bulgarian edition at an antique bookstore in Varna two months ago.

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter

Decided to experiment a little bit and found Ronia, the Robber's Daughter. It's a child's book telling the story of two kids whose fathers are rival robbers. The book is an easy read (2-3 hrs before bed time) with stories of magic woods, dwarfs and scary creatures mixed with human emotions and the good vs. bad theme.

Japanese Short Stories

I've managed to find a 1973 compilation of Japanese short stories translated into Bulgarian. Also one of my favorite books.

If I'm not mistaken these are classic Japanese authors, nothing modern or cutting edge. Most of the action happens during the early 1900s as far as I can tell. What impresses me most is the detailed description of nature and surrounding details in all of the stories.

The Singularity Is Near

I've also started The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil.

It's a bit hard to read because the book is full of so many technical details about genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and AI.

Ray depicts a bright future where humans will transcend our biological limitations and essentially become pure intelligence. Definitely a good read and I will tell you more about it when I finish it.

What have you been reading since January ? I'd love to see your book list or connect on Goodreads.

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Book Review - January 2014

Sorry for not being able to write anything this month. I've been very sick and hardly even touched a computer in the last few weeks. I promise to make it up to you next month. Until then here's the books I've managed to read in January.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked is an ebook for Kindle which I luckily got for free on NYE (it's paid now). The book describes the so called "Hook Model" which is a guide to building products people can’t put down.

The book goes through a cycle of trigger, action, variable reward and investment to describe how one can design a product which users keep using without you doing anything (pretty much). There are plenty of examples with products like Instagram and Pinterest.

I really find the book interesting and will strongly recommend it as a must read to anyone who is building a product. If you're thinking about a mobile app or an online service this book is definitely for you.

CyberJoly Drim

CyberJoly Drim is a 1998 cyber punk story by Polish writer Antonina Liedtke. One I've heard about through the years but found just recently. It's about a love story although everything else is fiction. PDF format is around 30 pages.

I found it hard to read especially b/c my Polish is totally rusty (not to mention I hardly understand it) and Google translate didn't manage well neither. Anyway, not a bad read before bed time if you like this kind of stuff.

The First in Bulgarian Internet

Last a book about Bulgarian Internet pioneers. The book compiles a great deal with historical data as well as interviews and web site descriptions. It's said to mention about 400 persons.

The events start around 1989 with the BBS systems at the time and the first one to appear in the country with accounts of first time logging into the network and pretty much seeing a computer. Then it goes to tell the story of first companies and Internet providers, how they started business, how they grew and formed the country's backbone infrastructure. There's lots of personal memories and stories as well. This goes to about 2002 when the book was written.

The second part of the book mostly describes various websites, some of the first ones and some milestone or famous ones. It's organized by date of website launch but isn't that much interesting. I find the local contents at the time a bit boring.

The book isn't what I initially expected - I wanted more personal stories and more news from the kitchen. It's not that, it looks to me the people who were interviewed had chosen their words very carefully and didn't reveal any sensational stories.

The nice thing about all of that is I've started using the web in early 1998 and remember most of the events and websites described in the book. It's good to remember the history. I own the book and can give it to you if you like. It's on the Give Away list.

I hope you find something interesting to read in my library. If not please share what did you read this month.

PS: I'm currently in Milan and will be visiting FOSDEM at the end of the week. Catch you there if you're coming.

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Book Review of 2013

Happy New Year everyone! I was able to complete reading a few books in the last days so this first post will be a quick review of all twelve books I've read in 2013.

Technical Blogging

I've started the year with Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise into a Remarkable Online Presence by Antonio Cangiano. This is the book which prompted me to start this blog. It is targeted primarily at technical blogging but could be useful to non-tech bloggers as well. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is writing for the web.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. This book I found at a local start-up event and is one of my all time favorites. The basic idea is to ditch the traditional working space and work less utilizing more automation. This is something I've been doing to an extent during the last 5+ years and I am still changing my life and working habits to reach the moment where I work only a few hours a week.

A must read for any entrepreneur, freelancer or work from home folks.

The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber is the second book I've found at the same start-up event mentioned previously. I found this one particularly hard to read. What I took from it was that you should think about your business as a franchise and document processes so that others can do it for you in the same way you would do it yourself.

Culture and Wine

Next two books are in Bulgarian and can be found at my Goodreads list. They are about culture and religion and wine tasting 101.


Accelerando (Singularity) by Charles Stross is also one of my favorites. I've heard about it at a local CloudFoundry conference a few years back and finally had the time to read it. This is a fiction book where events start in the near future and drive forward to dismantling the planets in the Solar system, uploading lobsters minds on the Internet, space travel, aliens and family relationships. I will definitely recommend it, the book is a very relaxing read.


What Is DevOps? by Mike Loukides and Building a DevOps Culture by Mandi Walls are two short free books for Kindle. They just touch base on the topic of DevOps and what it takes to create a DevOps organization. Definitely worth reading even if you're not deeply interested in this topic.

DevOps for Developers by Michael Huttermann is a practical books about DevOps. It talks about processes and tools and lists lots of examples. The tools part is Ruby centric though. I found it a bit hard to read at times and it took me a while to complete it. I'm not sure if the book is really helpful if one decides to change an exiting organization to a DevOps like structure but it is definitely a starting point.

The days of waterfall software development are gone and knowingly or not most of us work in a DevOps like environment these days. I think it's worth at least skimming through this book and taking some essentials from it.

UX For Lean Startups

UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein is a very good book about designing user experience and validation which I've reviewed previously. I strongly recommend this book to everyone who is building a product of some sort.

Bulgarian Comics

At the end of the year I've managed to read two comics books, both in Bulgarian. The first one is a brief history of the comics arts in the country in the past 150 years with lots of references to good old stories which I've read when I was a kid.

The second one is a special edition (ebook only, print edition is out of stock) of the popular Daga (Rainbow) magazine which ceased to exist 20 years ago. There are some new episodes of the old stories drawn by the original artists.

Both books seem to be a turning point in Bulgarian comics art and market. Hopefully we'll see more cool stuff in the future. These books are not available on Amazon but there are some free comics books for Kindle which you may give a try.

I hope you find something interesting to read in my list. Also feel free to comment and share your favorite books in the comments below.

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Book Review: UX for Lean Startups

Recently I've finished reading UX for Lean Startups and strongly recommend this book to anyone who is OR wants to be an entrepreneur. Here is a short review of the book.

This book is for anyone who is creating a product/service or is considering the idea of doing so. It talks about validation, interaction design and subsequent product measurement and iteration. The book demonstrates some techniques and tools to validate, design and measure your business ideas and products. Its goal is to teach you how to design products that deliver fantastic user experience, e.g. ones that are intuitive and easy to use. It has nothing to do with visual design.

The author Laura Klein summarizes the book as follows:

User research

Listen to your users. All the time. I mean it.


When you make assumptions or create hypotheses, test them before spending lots of time building products around them.


Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.

Early Validation

This chapter helped me a lot to understand what exactly is validation and how to go about it. The flow is validating the problem you are trying to solve, then the market and then the product.

I will also add that by using some of these research techniques around a vague idea/area of interest you may come around a particular trend/pattern or problem and develop your business from there.

You’ll know that you’ve validated a problem when you start to hear particular groups of people complaining about something specific.


Your goal in validating your market is to begin to narrow down the group of people who will want their problems solved badly enough to buy your product. Your secondary goal is to understand exactly why they’re interested so you can find other markets that might be similarly motivated.


You’ll know that you’ve successfully validated your market when you can accurately predict that a particular type of person will have a specific problem and that the problem will be severe enough that that person is interested in purchasing a solution.


Just because you have discovered a real problem and have a group of people willing to pay you to solve their problem, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your product is the right solution.


You’ll know that you’ve validated your product when a large percentage of your target market offers to pay you money to solve their problem.

User Research

Next few chapters talk about user research, the various kinds of it and when/how to perform it. It talks how to properly run surveys, how to ask good questions, etc.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is about measuring what real people are actually doing with your product. It doesn’t involve speaking with specific humans. It’s about the data in aggregate. It should always be statistically significant.


Quantitative research tells you what your problem is. Qualitative research tells you why you have that problem.


If you want to measure something that exists, like traffic or revenue or how many people click on a particular button, then you want quantitative data. If you want to know why you lose people out of your purchase funnel or why people all leave once they hit a specific page, or why people seem not to click that button, then you need qualitative.

Part Two: Design

The second part of this book talks about design - everything from building a prototype to figuring out when you don’t want one. It assumes you have validated the initial idea and now move on to designing the product and validating that design before you start building it. It talks about diagrams, sketches, wireframes, prototypes and of course MVPs.

I think you can safely skip some of these steps when it comes to small applications because it may be easier/faster to build the application instead of a prototype. Definitely not to be skipped if you're building a more complex product!

Part Three: Product

This section talks about metrics and measuring the product once it is out of the door. Supposedly based on these metrics you will refine your design and update the product accordingly. Most of the time it focuses on A/B testing and which metrics are important and which are so called "vanity metrics".

I particularly liked the examples of A/B testing and explanations what it is good for and what it does poorly. Definitely a mistake I've happened to made myself. I'm sure you too.

Let me know if you have read this book and what your thoughts are. Thanks!

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Give Away List

I have accumulated some items which I don't need or will not use anymore. Some of them I am willing to give away while others can be borrowed for a while.

Rules Of Engagement

  • Items are tagged with a prefix. It is self explanatory;
  • Requests are served in a FIFO fashion; If some items are returned back to me the next one in the queue will be served then;
  • If you'd like to have an item comment below! Requests via other platforms such as Facebook will NOT be taken into account although I may reply there occasionally. This is both for easier tracking of requests and for transparency sake! You are warned!
  • Your name (and possibly a link to you) will be published on this page upon request of an item;
  • You can give me something in exchange if you like but this is not necessary!
  • Feel free to share this page with your friends!
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and subscribe via email to get notified when I add new items!

Free e-Books

Books in English

  • taken by Geno Rouspky, give-away - The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation ( Amazon | O'Reilly )
  • taken by Стилиян Стефанов, give-away - 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know ( Amazon | O'Reilly )
  • taken by Стилиян Стефанов, give-away - 97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know ( Amazon | O'Reilly ) - Barbee Davis
  • borrow - The Art of Unit Testing: With Examples in .Net - Roy Osherove
  • borrow - The Gentlemen's Clubs of London - Anthony Lejeune, 1984 edition
  • given to Lyubomir Petkov, borrow - Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise into a Remarkable Online Presence ( Amazon | O'Reilly )
  • borrow - Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice ( Amazon | O'Reilly ) - Daniel Lathrop

Books about living small

Books in Bulgarian

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Tip: Save Money on Amazon - Buy Used Books

I like to buy books, the real ones, printed on paper. This however comes at a certain price when buying from Amazon. The book price itself is usually bearable but many times shipping costs to Bulgaria will double the price. Especially if you are making a single book order.

To save money I started buying used books when available. For books that are not so popular I look for items that have been owned by a library.

This is how I got a hardcover 1984 edition of The Gentlemen's Clubs of London by Anthony Lejeune for $10. This is my best deal so far. The book was brand new I dare to say. There was no edge wear, no damaged pages, with nice and vibrant colors. The second page had the library sign and no other marks.

Let me know if you had an experience buying used books online? Did you score a great deal like I did?

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StartUP Talk#5 - book list

Yesterday I have visited an interesting talk by Teodor Panayotov held at betahaus Sofia. He was talking about his path to success and all the companies he had worked in or founded.

I'm writing this post as a personal note to not forget all the good books Teodor mentioned in his presentation.

I intend to read the these four as a start:

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time (Gartner)

Business Models Made Easy

The rest he recommended are:

How to Get Rich: One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

The Law Of Success: Napoleon Hill

If you happen to read any of these before me, please share your thoughts on the book.

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