Gien Verschatse's Top 4 Software Design Books

Our senior software design consultant, Gien Verschatse, shares her favourite software design books ahead of DDD Europe and our book swap initiative.

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My Top 4 of Software Design Books

Hello, I'm Gien Verschatse, a senior consultant here at Aardling. Here are four books that have changed how I think about software design.

The design of everyday things (Buy on Amazon)

by Donald A. Norman

Most of the books I read have a less obvious impact on my way of thinking. I can only see the value of reading it after a couple of months or even years. "The design of everyday things" was NOT one of those books. It changed the way I looked at design and usability, both in general and designing software specifically, instantaneously. It was first published in 1988. Due to its popularity, it was revised and extended in 2013. It is sometimes a bit wordy, but a very interesting read nonetheless. My reading notes can be found here.

A Philosophy of Software Design (Buy on Amazon)

by John Oustenhout

A Philosophy of software design looks at the creation of software through the lens of complexity in your system. This book is in in my top 4 of design books because it is very digestible for people dipping their toes into good software design. It is very small, only 200 pages, and gives you an introduction to solving complex problems in software. It covers the basics of complexity in software design, and it is up to you to venture out and find a more in-depth book on one of the topics in it. My favourite quotes from the book can be found here.

Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail (Read more Goodreads)

By John Gall

This book is also an oldie but a goodie. It was first published in 1977, and is also known as `The systems bible`. For me, it deepened my knowledge on system thinking. I would not recommend reading this book if you have never read an introduction into system thinking. It also has some very funny stories on (unexpected) failure within systems.

System design heuristics (Buy on LeanPub)

By Gerald M. Weinberg

If you want to extend your collection of design heuristics, this is the book for you. It has a lot of great heuristics, with great stories that use these heuristics in practice. Unfortunately, the book is unfinished since he passed away. Still worth reading!

At DDD Academy, our commitment to reusing, repurposing, and recycling extends beyond software architecture—it’s the essence of knowledge sharing. This year, we're introducing an addition to DDD Europe 2024: the DDD Academy Book-Swap!

By participating in the book-swap, you contribute to our sustainable initiative of reusing and recycling books. Together, let's reduce our ecological footprint and promote eco-friendly practices.

The book-swap is a place to share your favourite books and discover new ones. Spread knowledge and share stories! Read more about the book-swap here.