Zak Knill

staff engineer

I work on:

  • leading teams 🔝
  • upskilling engineers 💪
  • solving scaling problems; org, and tech 📈
  • delivering customer value 🤑

I am a staff engineer, and an org and tech leader. I spend much of my time sharing my knowledge with other engineers and up-skilling. I’m currently working across teams at Attest. I am a seasoned reviewer of PRs, I give talks, write blog articles and contribute to opensource.

I work on scaling problems; team, tech, organisation. I’m very happy to share my experiences of this. You can contact me on twitter @zakknill or linkedin. Let’s solve hard problems together.

.. and aspiring code monster 👾


I keep a list of my decision making principles at principles.zknill.io covering software engineering, life, and work.

Reading list


  1. Philosophy of software design - John Ousterhout
  2. The go programming language - Alan A. A. Donovan, Brian W. Kernighan
  3. Concurrency in go - Katherine Cox-Buday
  4. Designing event-driven systems - Ben Stopford
  5. Site reliability engineering: how google runs production systems - Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff, Niall Richard Murphy
  6. The managers path - Camille Fournier
  7. How to win friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie
  8. Peopleware: productive projects and teams - Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister
  9. The checklist manifesto - Atul Gawande
  10. Cracking the coding interview - Gayle Laakman McDowell
  11. Gravitas - Caroline Goyder
  12. Behind closed doors: secrets of great management - Rothman, Derby
  13. Clean code - Robert Cecil Martin
  14. Design patterns - Erich Gamma, John Vlissides, Ralph Johnson, Richard Helm
  15. Pragmatic programmer - Andy Hunt, Dave Thomas
  16. Drive - Dan Pink
  17. Principles - Ray Dalio
  18. The New One Minute Manager - Kenneth Blanchard, Spencer Johnson
  19. Inspired - Marty Cagan
  20. Influence: The psychology of persuasion - Robert B. Cialdini
  21. Nonviolent Communication - Marshall Rosenberg
  22. Developer Hegemony: The future of labour - Erik Dietrich
  23. Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth - John Doerr
  24. Superthinking: The big book of mental models - Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann
  25. Bad Blood: Secrets and lies in a silicon valley startup - John Carreyrou
  26. Emotional Intelligence: Empathy - Harvard Business Review Press
  27. Emotional Intelligence: Authentic Leadership - Harvard Business Review Press
  28. Thinking in bets: making better decisions when you don’t have all the facts - Annie Duke
  29. Remote: office not required - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
  30. The Power of Habit: why we do what we do in life and business - Charles Duhigg
  31. Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking - Susan Cain
  32. The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction - Nate Silver
  33. An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management - Will Larson
  34. Finite and Infinite Games - James P. Carse
  35. Team Topologies - Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais
  36. Thinking in Systems - Donella H. Meadows
  37. Building a Second Brain - Tiago Forte


  1. Mental models I find repeatedly useful
  2. Ship small diffs
  3. A Key Efficiency Ingredient: Dissent
  4. Performing a project premortem
  5. Cargo cult science
  6. Eight (no, nine!) problems with big data
  7. Superforecasting: how to upgrade your company’s judgement


Marathon runner, code lover, reviewer of PRs.