By October 8, 2015

Some Criticism of Soft Skills

In this episode, I talk about some criticism of Soft Skills. The Audible edition is out, get it here.


Full transcript:

John:               Hey, what’s up? John Sonmez from I am back from Europe, finally. You might be wondering why isn’t this a high quality, high definition video, well, I have got to get my camera crew out here. I haven’t had time to record videos yet but I do have it scheduled for next week so I’ve got a couple more videos that I am going to be shooting from my iPhone camera.

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about today is—in fact, I thought this would be a great topic since I’ve got some big news which—this will be a little bit old by the time that I talk about this but the audio version of my book Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual, if you haven’t got it, check it out, is on Audible so you can go find that on Audible. I’ll put a link in the video here where you can check that out. I had spent a week recording it before I went on my big journey through Europe and it’s 13 hours worth of audio. I think it came out pretty good. I’ve been listening to it, so. Anyway, I have some bonus content in there as well. I went off script a little bit. Definitely check that out if you’re interested.

What I want to talk about was some of the comments that I got on the book. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a person who definitely believes that you should be able to take criticism but I did want to address some of the issues that—the most common thing I’ve heard about the book and the negative. Now, again, don’t get me wrong. There’s like 158 reviews on Amazon and I think all but 4 of them are 5-star reviews, so most people liked the book. Most people have given me phenomenal reviews. Thank you if you have done a review. If you haven’t please leave one, it would be awesome.

But anyway, so there has been a few negative reviews, again, not many, but I did want to address the one thing that came up in almost all the negative reviews. A lot of the reviewers who negatively reviewed the book or had something bad to say about the book they said okay, the topics aren’t covered very in-depth because there are so many chapters and then also they said that you could do a Google search and find this information somewhere else or there’s a lot of good books on these subjects that you could find somewhere else and get that information from.

So this is—the answer is that’s not actually really true. You can do a Google search, and you can find books in all the topics that I talk about on your career, on fitness, on productivity, on all of these things but a lot of what you’re going to find out there is bullshit. I hate to put it so bluntly but it’s true.

What I did was I compiled what actually works in the best of this material and that I’ve actually applied and used in my life. It’s not theoretical. BS that it doesn’t have application in real life. I read a lot of good books. There’s a lot of good books out there on a lot of the topics that I talk about but in the essence of making the complex simple I’ve tried to take all of that complexity, get rid of the stuff that’s just total trash and simplify it.

So yes, yes, you can find more detailed things. You want to learn about the stock market? One chapter in my book is not going to give you an in-depth education of the stock market but I’ll tell you what it will do. It may give you the same amount of information that you might glean from reading an entire couple of hundred paged book because I’ve distilled it down to what you need to know, the basics and I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible. That’s the theme of my blog. That’s the theme of my life. That’s what I try to do here with these videos. That’s the case.

Yes, you can find a lot of this information out there on health, you can find it on your career, but my advice is boiled down to the small—here’s the other piece of this. A lot of the stuff out there is not very good information. It’s not true. A lot of what you’ll find me saying—and I guess this is where some people might get this idea that, “Oh okay, well, let’s look for a better source. John’s book doesn’t make sense for learning about finances. Why would I learn finances from John?”

Well, here’s the thing is I’m actually disagreeing with a lot of the information out there and giving you a total different path. For example in the financial section of my book, I talk about something about something that I haven’t really seen very many people ever talk about and you’re not going to find it in financial advice books or talking to financial advisers. I talk about the idea that there are 2 paths to retirement. There’s the idea of the slow path where you retire essentially when you’re in your 60s or there’s the fast path of retiring now. Yes, there’s a good book that does talk about that, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco. I’ll put a link there as well.

But essentially I talk about how you can’t straddle—putting money in your 401K might actually hurt you on the fast path. I think that there’s a lot of advice in there that I give that it may look like the same kind of things that you’d find in another self help book or in some other book out there, but it’s not exactly the same because I’m actually contracting some of that based on experience, based on reading a lot of books on the subject and distilling it down.

Anyway, I wanted to just address that a little bit in the book and kind of give you my perspective on it. I’m not some super genius. It’s not like, “Oh, if I say it, it must be true and these other people must be wrong.” But I’m giving you the practical advice from my research, from the benefit of my experience that I’ve actually done these tings, I’ve actually been a professional in some of these areas and I’ve actually seen results.

Again, like I said, it’s not that I’m just skimming these subjects and just taking a little bit from here and a little bit of there and putting it together. What I’m doing is I’m distilling things down. I’m trying to make them simple and in some ways I’m contradicting a lot of the traditional advice out there. Yes, you can go out and find information on all these topics and 90% of it is going to be all the same stuff, but I think what we are going to find in Soft Skills is you’re going to find a different approach. You’re going to find a different way of looking at things and it contradicts some of the things that so called experts say and that’s really the value. The true value that I’m giving you is I’m giving you the stuff that actually works. I’m giving you the advice that’s contrary to popular opinion that a lot of people who understand these things don’t share but I’m sharing it there and that’s the key.

Again, I appreciate criticism. I’m happy to have criticism on my book but I want to just clarify that point. I want to make it pretty well understood that yeah, I understand what you’re saying. I understand that you’re saying it’s a summary of all these things, but it really isn’t.

Anyway, that’s it. I’m going a little bit too long about this, but definitely check out the book if you haven’t already. It’s—I put a lot of work into it. It’s a nice long book, it covers a lot of topics. I’m thinking about doing either a second edition or a similar book or maybe a follow on, there’s a lot more topics to talk about and now you can check out the audible version. You can listen to it while you’re running, while you’re working out, while you’re commuting in your car. That’s it for now. I will talk to you next time and I think probably a couple more of these videos and then I should have a pretty good match of high quality videos. I’m also excited to check out the ticket in an iPhone 6S and check out the 4K video there. That seems like pretty interesting.

Anyway, subscribe. You know the drill. Talk to you next time, take care.


About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."