Well, I shouldn’t say “recommendations,” since I’m just recommending one book: Testing Computer Software (Second Edition) by Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, and Hung Quoc Nguyen. This is an utterly invaluable book for anyone who ever aspires to be more than just a code monkey.
Technically speaking, this book was written more for “testers” and people who manage testing teams rather than “programmers” but as long as you keep that in mind it shouldn’t be a problem.
This book goes over everything that a good software testing team should do – from bug reports (including how a bug reporting system should be designed) all the way up to how to hire and manage a team of testers. There’s also a lot of stuff in there in regards to dealing with being a tester – because too often in a corporate environment, testers are really looked down upon, especially when finding bugs near the end of a deadline.
All in all, just a really great book.
The other day, I decided to go to my local bookstore and look for some computer books. I’d read Jeff Atwoods’s recommended reading list (as well as the latest podcast from StackOverflow which mentions “must read” programming-type books), and I decided it was time to update my library.
Unfortunately, most of the books weren’t available in-store – which is a shame. I don’t like ordering big, expensive books sight-unseen – call me old-fashioned, but I like to flip through some pages before I commit to buying a book.
I was able to find some other books on the list – although not many of them struck my fancy. The great age of reference books is behind us, thanks to the power of the Internet (and Google).
However, I did find one book that I really liked – “The Design of Everyday Things.”
After reading it, I’m amazed that we get anything done at all in our modern world, what with all the poor design everywhere.
Even if you’re not a computer programmer or a product designer, you should read this book – it’ll really give you an insight into why some things seem frustrating (and what effect that can have on you). Also interesting – the book was originally titled “the Psychology of Everyday things.”
Go here and download this free e-book and read it as soon as you can. Be sure to set aside a lot of time for it; if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put it down. You may not even want to break to go to the bathroom – that’s how good this is.
Once you’ve done that, get someone else to read it. Or talk about it with people who won’t read it or can’t read it. Anything.
This book is just so fantastically important I can’t even put it into words. But I can say that 10 years ago, it would have been science fiction. In another 10 years, it might be true – or it might have been prevented.
This book will open your eyes about a lot of things, about security, about politics, about terrorism, about databases, about privacy, about liberty, and all that sort of stuff that, frankly, we take for granted far too often.
It’s a free e-book, but if you really like it – as I did – feel free to buy it from the author, or buy some of his other books, or just send him a donation.
Peace out, yo.
I was re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon again last night (for about the 5 millionth time) and I thought I’d share this lovely passage, which really, um, speaks to me.
“It is trite to observe that hackers don’t like fancy clothes. Avi has learned that good clothes can actually be comfortable – the slacks that go with a business suit, for example, are really much more comfortable than blue jeans. And he has spent enough time with hackers to obtain the insight that it is not wearing suits that they object to, so much as getting them on. Which includes not only the donning process per se but also picking them out, maintaining them, and worrying whether they are still in style – this last being especially difficult for men who wear suits once every five years.”
So true, so true!