Category Archives: agility

5 books that made me think hard these last two years

Every once in a while, between strange stories, I like to read books that make me wonder about what I do, how I work and hence, how I spend my days. While your book selection really depends on your personal interests, I think listing them can still be quite of interest for most people since I’m often asked where I learned this or that. That’s why I’m writing this post today, maybe these books will inspire you as much as they did me…

Zen-To-Done — Léo Babauta

Zen to done

Along with its companion book, “The power of Less“,  this book really lowered my everyday stress level. It also helped me to organize myself and plan a bit more. I highly recommend it if you receive too many emails, can’t focus on your work, always have your mind cluttered by 1,000 ideas or you want to achieve something big & new –and btw, GTD didn’t work for me.

The Pomodoro Technique — Francesco Cirillo

The Pomodoro Technique

While this technique is in fact very simple, it really helps to organize and keep calm when you have a lot of stuff to do. Basically, you use a kitchen timer to split your time between 25min work sessions and 5min rest sessions. It sounds really naive, but by using tense / release cycles, it really keeps you in the flow, and therefore, motivated. Just give it a try, it’s wonderful!

Gamestorming — Gray, Brown & Macanufo


You know how meetings can be boring. To me, this is pure nightmare and I totally agree with Getting Real‘s motto “Meetings are Toxic“. At Fuzzy Frequency, we try to avoid them as much as possible, but sometimes, we can’t. That’s why one day, I decided to put some fun back into our meetings. So, I ordered Visual Meetings, Gamestorming and Business Model Generation. Clearly, this one was the most valuable for me by providing a LOT of ideas for animating meetings and creativity sessions.

The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses — Jesse Schell

Art of Game Design

This one might look an intruder to you. It’s not, at all. In fact, this might be the most interesting book I’ve read since a few months (years?). While I’ve picked it for a game project I’ve started a few months ago, I found this book to be awesome blend of psychology, sociology, mathematics, writing, graphic design and much more… If you consider life and work as “Big Social Games”, then this book might give you a fresh look and let you imagine how to play and shape them differently…

Rework — Fried & Hansson


I had to include this book in the list, even if it’s already well-known, because it’s really awesome. I had the chance to be part of a young and innovative startup for 3 years but still, the principles explained in this books weren’t used at all… meaning many people should still read it. You’ll learn how to rethink the way you handle your projects, manage your team, engage communities, pick a business plan, etc… Oh, and consider “Getting Real” even if you’re not into the Web, there are very interesting advices inside it too.

To be honest, I think my work (and hence, life) would be different today if I didn’t have the chance to get inspired by these books, so I can only encourage you to read them too ! :-)

Synching an Arduino with gnome-shell-pomodoro

Having fallen in love with gnome-shell-pomodoro, I’ve stopped using my good old kitchen timer for the pomodoro sessions. The problem is I used to put the timer on top of my screen, so that my coworkers could see when I was available or not. With a software such as gnome-shell-pomodoro, this is of course not possible anymore. And here came the disturbing questions every 3 minutes…

So first, I tried to use both the software and the timer, starting them (almost) together. It was boring, and as you may guess, I stopped doing that after 2 days. I had to find something better, something lazier & a bit more clever. I therefore decided to hook up an Arduino with a flashy, blue, LCD screen to my computer and started hacking a little sketch for it. Then, I modified gnome-shell-pomodoro to send commands to the serial port when changing its state. The result was a simple, yet effective, way to show to my coworkers when I’m available or not… and in how much time they will be able to ask for a question.

Once it was working, and since I don’t like maintaining forks, I asked the upstream if it was a good idea to add support for this into the software directly, through Dbus. The answer was quite positive, so I’ve started working on adding that, wrote a python daemon and published  the arduino sketch into this repository. It’s still very rough, but usable. I’ll enhance the dbus support and usability on both sides during the next weeks, to match my daily usage and make it cleaner.

If anyone’s willing to add support for another software or enhancing the arduino sketch (it really needs a better timer), then please go ! :-)