Tag Archives: books

MySQL Cookbook 4th Edition

A nomadic sailing dream that turns into book authoring and a new role…

The inception of the book

I want to start with a huge thank you to Sveta for her invitation to her engagement with O’Reilly as a previous author. Although I had mentioned that I had an inspiration to author a book and attempted to release a booklet in the past, this was somewhat unexpected in the midst of my first biggest pandemic. 

Unexpected and surprising developments

Let’s go back in time to the infamous covid-19 pandemic. We have been under pressure with the unknown virus with little or no hope of recovery anytime soon. I got an alert from one of the brokers about a sailboat I was interested in. After a few minutes of checking with my long-time friend Nurhan, I decide to make an offer. Unfortunately, our discussions didn’t go that smoothly, and I was informed that the boat was already sold to another buyer. I insisted on increasing the price and changing the wind direction to my side by writing a moral story to the broker, and he accepted it. Now, no flights were allowed during a total lockdown. 

The rest of the story is here

After three weeks of getting a special business permit, we landed in Zagreb, Croatia, and completed our purchase. The paperwork took about another three weeks to complete. That’s when I got the ping from Sveta about the possible authoring of a book. At the time, I worked at Percona as Sr. Technical Manager at the same company as Sveta. Strangely, I had an offer from another company within the same week. So I accepted to join PlanetScale as part of the Vitess Open Source project role. So now I have a boat to bring home, a new job to sign in, and a book to author. 

O’Reilly Experience

I had no prior experience authoring a technical book or working with a professional editor. The company has proven to be one of the best in the industry, working with the brightest minds and publishing hundreds of books annually. Here comes Sveta again for help while I’m planning a long pandemic-bound sailing journey and a new job with many unknowns. 

The MySQL Cookbook was initially authored by Paul DuBois and released three times. So it had massive content, and I had not gone through it in detail. Looking at the overall chapters and fast reading in 48 hours, I have decided to accept to co-author 4th release of the book. The original agreement was to update %60 of the content of the last edition. Since a significant time passed and MySQL advanced to hole new levels with MySQL 8 altering for new release would merely touch every part of the book. Not only MySQL itself, but there were also new programming languages to be added, and deprecated code had to be removed. 

Developments in making

Discussions and agreements were made based mainly on Sveta’s input on all the chapters, and I was mostly monitoring how this book could be turned into a new release. Besides the technical content and programming languages used, there was another challenge to the authors about the platform. 

It’s not a simple Word document or gdoc that had to be used, but DocBook and XML had to be mastered. After two years, I still lack the skill to do both. 

The process of authoring new chapters was more effective than rewriting or editing existing chapters. For example, the book used a different data set throughout the chapters, and we decided to change that. Finding a sample data set that is freely available and suitable for the entire book is difficult. So we had to go to multiple sources. 

The older chapters also had a lot of deprecated values and updates, which changed the storyline of the content. To fix those, we had to rewrite most of the chapters and revisit them repeatedly to ensure referenced content was not missing from other chapters. 

Key Takeaways 

Before agreeing to author a book, talk to other authors about the time and material, it takes for the type of book you are getting in. This will allow better planning of your work/life/book balance hence avoiding burnout. 

Once agreement is made, research the platform you will be responsible for authoring and training yourself—for example, Gitlab, DocBook, XML, etc. 

Take advice on how to plan or co-author the parts you’ll be responsible for. Record all agreements you made to keep track of the progress. Take everything very seriously and ensure it does not impact your other responsibilities. 

Be well organized in your time and planning. What times and which days you’ll be spending time on the book where? Create a cadence around this dedicated time, and it’s no different than finishing a degree. 

Allow extra time to deliver sections you’re involved in, as there’s a deep feedback circle. If you are authoring alone, this time will be reduced, but you’ll get feedback later in the process. If you are co-authoring, every chapter you’ve split will have to be reviewed before the first editorial. After the initial review, you’ll get feedback to clarify, modify, remove and rewrite multiple times. Some sections go into an endless feedback loop for a very long time. You’ll receive at least four to six technical people’s feedback later in the process and additional editorial feedback. So expect to return to a section or chapter you were involved in a year ago. 

Last but not least, do never over-commit yourself. This will decrease your productivity and lower the quality of the output. Timing is essential to fulfilling this lifelong dream of being an author. Some do it earlier in their career maybe a better result for authoring other books.  

I want to thank my wife, Aslihan, and my daughters, Ilayda and Lara, for their patience and support when I needed to focus and use family time to write this book.

Many thanks to my colleagues and team at PlanetScale, especially Deepthi Sigireddi, for her extra care and support. Special thanks go to the MySQL community, friends, and family members.

I also want to take a moment to thank Sveta Smirnova for her endless support while coaching me throughout my first book journey.

You can read the book here,

Thank you

Where did I start reading?

In this blog post, I’m going to try to cover my reading initiative. As you already know one of the difficult tasks in professional life is to find a balance to enhance or develop new skills. In today’s world, we’re lucky to reach all the information we need to get better at things we do. Several of those include learning new things, doing things more efficiently and finding the balance between work and life.

I get a lot of questions on the reading list that I had. When I started my own approach I really had no guidance. There were few recommendations but they were all related to the specific subject not broader plan that I could use. So I started my own learning program to learn how to read first.

I’ve given advice, list of books and often times examples from the books or digest of ideas from many books I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve read enough books yet but if someone tells you they’ve speed read a book in a week and they can repeat that for weeks maybe in months, please don’t take that as an example. It’s really not recommended.

In my opinion, a good book should be:

  • Relevant to what you are trying to achieve in life.
  • Easy to follow and understand clearly.
  • Interesting and intriguing to your objectives.

Until and after you read a book, you will not know if the above is true. It’s also true that I’ve had a few disappointments myself due to different factors.

Where did I start to learn what books to read?

I can only think of one book straight out and recommend a great book by Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful . This book was not only a great beginner’s book, it was also exactly the purpose of the situation I was in. Interestingly enough, the order of the book that you will be reading will define the path you may follow. So I think this is the reason behind this blog post. I’ve had another adventure on Brain Rules. Not that it’s a wrong book or anything timing was not right. After reading several leadership books, you can easily find most information references what’s in this book. Both books are great and had me find my real journey to the rest of the grand plan.

I’ve continued with The Personal MBA. This book not only talks about what you’ve been doing wrong all along also comes with The 99 Best Business Books list. Basically, after subscribing Josh Kaufman’s email newsletter you get an email with this comprehensive list of books to read. Before moving on anything on this massive list grouped by different business subjects it’s wise to read his second book advised. The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! 

Once you start with the above information, you will have a pretty good idea to pursue to focus on what you want to achieve.

Here’s a list of the top 10 books that had an impact on my business life:

  1. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  4. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
  5. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
  6. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues
  7. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
  8. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  9. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  10. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

The order may vary by purpose and person. Again remember the idea is to figure out what’s out there and focus on purpose. This is not the full list of books I can recommend rather a give you guidance.

If you are a slow reader, maybe start with this 10 Days to Faster Reading: Jump-Start Your Reading Skills with Speed reading. I prefer Audible – Audiobooks & Podcasts. Audible mobile apps allow offline versions of audiobooks, which are perfect for long flights without the internet. Audible is also a space saver during travel due to baggage limits. I carry all my technical books in a cloud drive where I can pull offline if needed. So Audible solves this problem by bringing non-technical books to my iPad/iPhone. Cloud sync also allows devices to remember where you left off.

At the time of writing this blog post, I’ve been reading Business Model You: A One-Page Method For Reinventing Your Career and was pretty impressed by its content. In conclusion, reading self-development books is helpful in business and personal life but not enough. Eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy work-life balance to achieve greater success.

Are you a Workaholic?

           The workaholism is one of the biggest problems where professionals face challenges between work and life balance. It is self-destroying inner impact to working people eventually spreading side effects to family, friends and even colleagues.

            The overwhelming pressure at work or in today’s terms ‘want to be the company’s rock star’ along with perfection instinct can bring serious consequences.Once, it leads to make one workaholic rather than a self-disciplined hard worker, the impact to person’s surroundings is irreversible.

            Experts and researchers in this area of work life balance and addictive working found out that, generally people forced to adult responsibilities in early ages ends up being a workaholic. They feel in need of doing everything themselves and become self sufficient while controlling surroundings (The Workaholics).  Moreover they will turn in to a person they aren’t meant for. Responsibilities may come from loss of family member to an individual in very early ages. The scenarios leading to taking too many responsibilities on early ages will eventually start causing physical and mental breakdowns. Furthermore some of mental side effects may turn in to anger management issue as well.

            While there’s a need for professional help on finding out whether one is a workaholic or not, it is clear if following symptoms exists;

  • Excessive worries about work and deadlines.
  • Intense work style, always feeling pressured.
  • Being state of panic and watched at all times.
  • Far away from teamwork environment.

There is a possibility leading to become workaholic if not already in process. As always one other method determining a workaholic is whether they accept being one or not.  If an individual worker showing signs of workaholism but refuses when asked, he/she is usually a workaholic.

            There are many ways to have a good work and life balance starting for limiting work hours. It is also very important to work efficiently during business hours by avoiding unnecessary distractions. Small but seriously time consuming events add up during the day and in total, consume a lot of unrecoverable time. Focusing on work with self-discipline will help getting work done in timely manner and will avoid extensive overtime. Addictive but short-lived interactions such as extensive gaming, smart-phones, tablets and Internet takes quality time away from family, friends and natural beauties surrounding us.  Healthy living is the key for success at work. It can easily be achieved with quality food, exercising and a complete good night’s sleep. 

            In conclusion to avoid becoming a workaholic follow simple steps of healthy living and question constantly what is important is in life. The answer is always be enjoying the life as much as possible with loved ones.




                        The Workaholics  (Killinger , n.d) Understanding the Dynamics of Workaholism, Retrieved from, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-workaholics/201112/understanding-the-dynamics-workaholism

                        Treatment for Workaholics (Addiction Treatment Magazine,  2009) Treatment for Workaholics, Retrieved from, http://www.addictiontreatmentmagazine.com/addiction/treatment-for-workaholics/