DiscoPosse Review: Designing for Behavior Change by Stephen Wendel

designingforbehaviorchangeEvery once in a while I happen upon a book that is an unstoppable read. This was one of those books. As a behavioral analysis nerd (as in I read stuff like DSM-IV for fun), and a massive fan of diving into psychology to understand how people use systems, this is a one-stop-shop for me.

Stephen Wendel (@sawendel) brings together analytic data with human behavior and shows us how to apply these tools to build effective systems. This isn’t just a proposal of how things may work, but instead shows historical proof of how systems have been built successfully and why.

The proof is in the content because of the real life cases that are highlighted throughout the chapters. Top the examples off with thoroughly backed, research-based behavior analysis and you have one of the most exciting books I’ve seen in quite some time. If I could glue this to The Phoenix Project it would be the perfect pairing!

Move that Cheese!

You’ve probably heard of the classic book “Who Moved My Cheese?” which talks about how to introduce change at work and in life and how we are naturally resistant to change. These are precisely the types of books that help us to better understand ourselves and others. If we want to be able to create a path towards change, we have to understand the factors that prevent that change from being accepted. Designing for Behavior change is the new Who Moved My Cheese in my opinion.

Trust me, buy the book!

If you do any system design, or application design, I can tell you that you would undoubtedly gain from reading Designing for Behavior Change. If you want to introduce any type of new pattern to yourself or others, such as a diet or exercise regimen, a study pattern, or anything at all for that matter really, this book is absolutely appropriate.

Each chapter is nicely laid out with effective examples, footnoted with great references, and also has an “On a Napkin” summary at the end, which is the TL;DR for the overall content of each chapter.

What is even more exciting is that Stephen Wendel encourages continued conversation about the content of the book, and about the subject in general. You can visit his about.me page here: http://about.me/sawendel and make sure to follow Stephen on Twitter (@sawendel) and let him know what you think of the book.

To order the book, you can click the link below and Amazon will do all of the work for you! I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I have 🙂

DiscoPosse Review: MySQL Troubleshooting

mysql-troubleshootingThis book could easily be called “Everything you wanted to know about MySQL, but were afraid to ask”. I’ve seldom seen this much deeply documented troubleshooting and tips in one book. Kudos to O’Reilly and Sveta Smirnova on this book. It is now an invaluable member of my bookshelf and referenced often.

The book is nicely divided up among topics stretching from general troubleshooting of MySQL command syntax, right through to deep technical guidance on solving performance and operational issues.

Thank you to Sveta for this great guide and once again to O’Reilly for producing spectacular content.

If you use MySQL, I highly recommend this title. You’ll find value in no time with some great quick hit suggestions, and the overall performance and operational troubleshooting tips will be a life saver if things go awry in your environment.

Click the link below to buy the book and let me know what you think in the comments. You can also follow Sveta on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/svetsmirnova

DiscoPosse Review: Troubleshooting vSphere Storage by Mike Preston


UPDATE 11/21/2013: That’s right folks! It’s time to order your TroubleShooting vSphere Storage guide because it’s now available. Order through Packt directly by clicking the image on the right, or through Amazon by clicking this link and make sure to reach out to Mike to say congratulations!


With all of the administrative work that vSphere admins are doing, an often overlooked issue is storage performance and troubleshooting. Luckily, we have something cool coming our way from Canada’s own Mike Preston (@mwpreston) who is a popular virtualization blogger with his site www.mwpreston.net.

Mike has authored an upcoming book for Packt Publishing which you can pre-order here, and I was lucky enough to be a part of the technical review process.

Designed with everyone in mind

Mike has done a great job of covering all bases on vSphere storage challenges, ranging from design considerations to active troubleshooting using tools like esxtop, and lots of great tips on where to go for tracking down issues in the vSphere log environment.

So many of today’s vSphere administrators have not had exposure to command line tools, so there are tips and tricks for every level of admin knowledge. It is

Pre-order now from the Packt Publishing site and prepare to add this great book to your bookshelf of awesome vSphere guides to help up your game with vSphere storage.


DiscoPosse Review: Test-Driven Infrastructure with Chef by Stephen Nelson-Smith

tdi-chefWith all of the tools available for infrastructure automation, the next challenge is picking one to use and finding great resources to help you along the road of fully realizing the benefit. Look no further than Test-Drive Infrastructure with Chef by Stephen Nelson-Smith from O’Reilly Books because this is a phenomenal place to begin.

For those who haven’t taken a look at Chef (www.opscode.com), I highly recommend that you get started. Whether running as a standalone implementation using chef-solo, or the full infrastructure (chef open source or chef hosted), there is a huge community behind the product and Stephen’s book will get you diving into the code in no time!

Infrastructure as Code

The movement towards “infrastructure as code” is an important one. This isn’t your typical way of doing things for systems administrators today, and we are taking a page from the book of agile organizations and lean startups by driving towards this new way of managing infrastructure.

Don’t be afraid to be involved in the research process if you don’t think that it is directly applicable either. While you may not have the need for this today, it is almost inevitable that you will encounter orchestration platforms in your IT career, and what is even better is when you can drive towards the goal before it becomes something you’ve been told you missed out on.

Not just deployment

Test-Driven Infrastructure with Chef uses examples which show us how to write code, deploy machines, manage cookbooks, create unit testing strategies and more. This may seem like a hefty undertaking for some, but the truth of the matter is that you only finish a marathon by taking the first step.

The book has just had its full release so get on over to the download by clicking on the link below or the image above and get your chef on!