A few weeks earlier I decided that I should get my personal Oreilly Safari Books Online subscription so I did. Although it does cost something (what doesn’t) and something that might not be a good idea for others I’d have to say that I find it very useful and effective. Let me share my thoughts [more]
I enjoy buying books and I do entertain stuffs like speed reading and other techniques but as most of you will attest, reading technical books might not be really applicable for speed reading (though again I’m no expert). I definitely try to use speed reading for news or pleasure reading but my mind has conflicting ideas about speed reading and the concept that the more senses are involved in learning, the more it becomes effective. Thus it does help if 1) you are holding, feeling and somehow smelling the book (not sniff it but even at a distance you can technically smell it) and 2) doing the examples in it.
But even with the points above about buying hard copies the fact is that here in the Philippines not much good books are available; even those considered by some as must reads. I see a lot of books about Java, C#, C++, HTML and books about how (how to do this and that) but not books about the why. (I could be wrong but mind you for someone who goes into bookstores when I see one, I do know). So most of the books I have and need to read I get from Amazon (and yes the amount bieng paid for Customs/Tariffs is not helping either) and most of good programmers/developers I know does that too. I also have tons of ebooks stashed away in my portable external drive and although I always bring along with me but I haven’t even read 1% of them.
I like to scan, read a little and jump to the next book, it may be good but if you keep on buying and just reading 1/3 of it then that’s a problem coz books cost money. It is worth the money if you do get a lot from it but as I’ve said, not reading in full is my problem and there’s also that valid argument that you only have limited knowledge of whether or not the book is good like book reviews, table of contents or excepts but it’s not always available or reliable. I also sometimes spend hours just trying to organize (categorize, unzip and rename) my ebooks (yes admitedly some of them are copyrighted books which I haven’t purchased but a little read and I like them I do) and books which is such time consuming if not a complete waste of time.
So to make the long story short, I got a safari subscription. Apparently Safari Library is not available here so got the Max 10-slot Bookshelf (along with 5-slot is the one ones available) which I eventually downgraded to Basic (no feature to download PDF chapters – don’t really need it) and so works pretty well so far. I haven’t read much so there might even be a chance that I’ll get it lower to 5 and just upgrade again if necesary. Turns out I don’t really need much slots. Safari Library (the no slot/limits plus access to rough cuts (early access to upcoming books) and videos still sounds like a good idea for me if it does become available to the Philippines but for now, it’s a good thing since I’m forced to select and decide well on what the best books to read and somehow gives me focus on what to read. And weird enough, although the books I’ve purchased costs more (a lot more) I feel that I must make the most of what I pay for monthly with this subscription so I tend to want to read more when I can (note: busy with work and stuff so only “want” and don’t always have the luxury to read aside from those directly related to the project at hand.
So this is my safari bookshelf story and for those who might just have the same concerns with path to learning as I do, try to look into safari if you haven’t yet. For me, it’s well worth my money. You can also ask your employer to subscribe for your team and that would work but I’d probably still get my own personal subscription just for the push/pressure to learn more from it (yes I enjoy my work and reading but the push is for the time constraints).
For my first recommendation. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
You might you know a lot there is to programming but have a little look and if the concepts are new to you then you should read this book. Truly, it a book from journeyman to master. You’d also be surprise how some of the concepts have been around for some time but still applicable for today and that you might even applied in your previous works unknowingly, how you thought things should be done but not how your company or people around you do it. It always feel good to be assured that there are people out there who think the same way you do or at least makes you think again if you’re really doing things right or wrong.
This not your typical book about “comment your code”, “indent your code”, limit lines of codes to X lines but more. Those concepts are good but there’s not everything that makes a good programmer/developer and a good software eventually.
I’ve read a couple of other books, a few of what other’s consider are of the same rating as this one but so far if you have to pick a book to become a good developer, start with this. For book on software developer this is pretty short and concise but IMHO every point is worth noting. And though different from Head First books (which I enjoy too) you’re likely to enjoy this one. 🙂 If you didn’t then let us know why we should think otherwise.
If I do find and read a book worth putting this aside then I’d be happy to but for now, again grab this one and let’s work building a world with less code/apps that are nightmare to read and maintain.
- Fight software rot;
- Avoid the trap of duplicating knowledge;
- Write flexible, dynamic, and adaptable code;
- Avoid programming by coincidence;
- Bullet-proof your code with contracts, assertions, and exceptions;
- Capture real requirements;
- Test ruthlessly and effectively;
- Delight your users;
- Build teams of pragmatic programmers; and
- Make your developments more precise with automation.