Required Reading

At work, we have a wiki page that’s called Required Reading. Named after that oh-so-lovely tradition in high school or college of having books that you needed to read over the summer before you started class. The idea being that they are relics of the culture of the company, and if you read everything, you will understand a lot about how work (and play) is done.

I think this is something useful that most companies should have. It was basically split into two parts: Silly and Serious. The silly parts are so that you can understand all of the inside jokes and references that people are bound to make. The serious parts are more philosophy and thoughts behind how we write code and do things.


Being a python shop, this Youtube Monty Python playlist is a must watch. It’s got most of the famous Python gags, and being knowledgeable about the languages namesake makes you a more rounded human being. Speaking of namesakes, Django Reinhardt is a great jazz player, so I recommend you learn about him as well. He was quite the bad ass.

After that, there are just some of the classic online videos that everyone should watch:

and such.


The serious posts are a little more relevant, because they are more about the philosophy of how to code. I have been looking through a lot of really great posts on this subject lately, and these are some of my favorites:

Then there are some of the more topical guides that give a good knowledge and understanding of some of the fundamental things that you do at work. The unit testing guide above is a good example, but there are a few as well:

I think that having a guide to the culture of the company is really useful for people that are getting started. Plus I think it’s a good way to remind people of what the values are of your team. Hopefully silliness is valued as much as good work, and you have a place to go when you want to see silly bits of the past.

I’d love to hear if other people have other ways of introducing culture to their companies. I’d also love to see some other really good topical guides on things that you may love, as I’m sure there are tons more out there.

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!