Learning from different types of books

Published on 17 August 2016

In the past, there were myths and legends passed between generations. Later Gutenberg introduced printing... the knowledge started to spread across the world rapidly. This day's books are the main sources of transferring knowledge. Open-minded people read a lot. I try to stay open-minded...

It's a sin to know how to read and don't use that craft!

Said that I have a goal to read 10-20 books a year. Sometimes more sometimes less. I do that for many years now I some patterns started to show up.

Book types

For the sake of learning I've recognizes so far following types of book:

  • Classics
  • Extra technical
  • Soft skills
  • Other POV/industries
  • Biographies
  • Diaries

All the above are complementary types to improve your software engineering skills.

Classics

The key feature of Classics books is that they are still up to date over time. They don't get outdated. If you consider yourself a professional software engineer, system architect or somebody with programming embedded in your DNA you have already a list of those in your head.

I would even recommend coming back to those kinds of books from time to time.

Examples:

Extra technical books

Extra technical books are focused on certain topic. Like .NET 2.0 or WPF 4.0. When I was raising my BizTalk programming skills I read plenty of that kind of books. The good thing here is that they provide very focused knowledge on the specific topic. They describe a particular software/platform/framework. Usually, they get obsolete after a few years or need an update when a new version of the software is released.

Examples:

Soft skills books

Humans are social persons. It's in our genes. Especially for teams that act together - play football, produce software or do any other activity where 1+1>2 :) Learning about humans and understanding yourself is a substantial asset. This enables you to be more effective.

Examples:

Other POV/industries

Those kinds of books extend self-awareness. At least this is how I feel it. Reading about economics or medicine is quite interesting if you understand all the keywords :) Abandon the book if you feel lost :)

Here is no example. Pick something that interests you and will extend your knowledge. Law, economy, innovation. Generally, if a book has 200 pages you should finish it in 3 days.

Biographies

I like reading biographies. They uncover people's wins and loses which allowed them to be who they are. Achieve what they achieved. You can connect the dots and deduct yourself what factors were in place for those people. What drives Elon Musk? How Socrates became famous?

Choose people who inspire you.

Examples

Diaries/histories

This type of books is quite similar to biographies except it focuses on companies, brands, products and other business/social initiatives. Generally, it uncovers again aspects that allowed particular companies to raise or die. How Inter, Ford or Microsoft became who they are. What happened to Kodak. Why .NET Framework was introduced. Why Tesla is so recognizable and so on :)

Examples

Reading recommendations

I have even made a list of my books recommendation available here: books.

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