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How many books do you read ?

How many Technical/non Technical book do you read per month (roughly)

I am just curious coz I am very lazy and cannot find the time (Yeah! I know time management and I never been really friends) for reading.

Friday, January 11, 2002

Mostly, I don't read technical books. When I do, I buy 4 or 5 and read them over the space of a week.

If I am not reading technical books, I am reading fiction or history or whatever, also at the rate of 4 or 5 books a week. When I used to smoke, I would read a book each day, while smoking.

Jeff Paulsen
Friday, January 11, 2002

probably around 15 - 30 (non technical & technical) every year.

Prakash S
Friday, January 11, 2002

depends on how you define "read." 


one technical book/every two weeks (aprox. page count prolly on average around 500-600 pages)
two non-technical books in an average week (inclusive of both fiction and non-fiction-average page 400 pages probably, a bit lower for fiction, a bit higher for non-fiction)

skim/selected sections/chapters/etc.:

i probably have interactions with a half a dozen technical books in a week-often 2-3 chapters to clarify something or to learn a new facet of a language

on the non-technical side, probably only a half a dozen books in a given week, almost all non-fiction.  i tend to do a lot of "research" if i want to devote time to reading fiction to make sure i'd like it based on past experience and current tastes-so i generally finish fiction

this is a *current* average-i tend to read less fiction during the summer for some reason- though my non-fiction tends to stay even.  of course, i do a lot more outdoor things in the summer.

i'm pretty new to software development-my background is technical (chemistry) but not computational, so *have* to do a lot of reading to assimilate and understand what's going around me.  i suspect my intake of technical books will decrease over time-or at least change in some fashion.

time is certainly a factor in everyone's life, but unless you're working 80 hours a week (i work anyware from 30-50 depending on the week) i think everyone can find time for books if that's a priority*.  you just have to allocate time, and also, i've noticed that a lot of people spend time sitting around or waiting for something, which adds up to a lot of downtime.  one thing i like to do is have a book whenever i watch TV, i simply turn the to mute when the commercial comes on, and i read.  that's ~ 15 minutes per/hour, assuming i watch an average of 1.5 hours of TV per/day (probably close), that's 22.5 minutes a day, that's about 2 1/2 hours for the week.  assume i read 50 pages/hour (my average), that's 125 pages that could have been wasted on commercials.  you get my point. (i also generally have a book open when i'm cooking, go to the bathroom, and will have a pocketbook when i go the grocery store and the like-i believe that there's always a constant "drippage" of data out of our heads, and i always try to make sure that i stay *at least* at a constant level by adding something)

* of course, i'm single right now, if i was married with kids-i'd have a lot better excuse on why i couldn't get through the new O'reilly book.  but as i said, i think a lot of the people in this discussion group are like me, in their 20s & 30s and unattached. to read a book :)

razib kahn
Friday, January 11, 2002

hey, a followup.  i did the math on my estimates, and it seems i get an average of 3 hours of reading a day taking into account my page/average and all. that's about right.

razib kahn
Friday, January 11, 2002

Even married with a kid & another on the way, I manage to make time for technical reading -- probably 8-10 books a month to keep up with the field. Pleasure reading is where child care has cost me the most time; I'm down to perhaps3-5 books a month. But I view keeping up with the technical literature as part of my job.

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, January 11, 2002

Because of university studies - my max is about 1 technical book a month. Waiting for much better times !

Evgeny Goldin
Sunday, January 13, 2002

I once read somewhere that most developers do not read  more than 1 (one) technical book a year. That is, one book that will have a direct impact on the knowledge of their trade.

I personally read one technical book a month from cover-to-cover, and keep various references at hand.

There's a little trick that compels me to read new books (at this point I am almost done with the most popular classics). I try to learn a new programming language every year, and write a non-trivial piece of software with it. That should keep you busy with about one book a month for the next 700 years or so. :)

Beka Pantone
Tuesday, January 22, 2002

A quick question to those who read several technical books a month, how do you manage to consistently find books that are worth reading? I work in programming myself and have maybe 30 books that I consider of use, I have partially read many books and then stopped reading because they just did not seem well written or they gave that horrible "author doesnt know the subject matter but is writing the book anyway" impression.

Do you go on amazon reviews, word of your peers or just buy everything that comes out and read it anyway? Or is there some hidden website that reccomends only the best technical books and that I have never heard of?

Wakka Wakka Wakka
Friday, January 25, 2002

Wow, I think it's insane that some of you guys claim to read >1 technical books a month.  I'm trying to picture this...

- Stroustrup's C++
- Petzolds's Programming Windows

- Foley, Van Dam, et el.'s Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice
- Piegl & Tiller's The Nurbs Book

- Cormen's Introduction to Algorithms
- Aho & Ullman's Principles of Compiler Design

- Holzner's Inside XML
- Graham's ANSI Common LISP
- Hoproft's Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation


Yeah, right.  Perhaps you should be a bit more selective instead of reading the books that are all filler.  In any given category there are usually 1-2 outstanding books that tower over the rest and they can rarely be read and fully understood in a month.

Friday, January 25, 2002

Wakka Wakka Wakka,

Despite the humorous tone, there's actually a hidden site that recommends the best books: [ ].

After its initial surge in popularity, it sort of died out, but there's still quite a bit of reviews from that time.

Also, on sites like [ ], you can ask others in an article or diary.

Amazon is a fine place, once you know a book.  Amazon maintain links to other 'similar' books, and reviews often mention other related books. 

And then there is the ol' bookstore, if you're fortunate to live near a large one.  There you can randomly find those you'd never have found elsewhere.

To find a good one on theory, I went to [ ], asked the resident expert Alex Boldt, visited Amazon to check it out, and found one that was much more available and probably better.  I also learned a couple from asking here.

Oh, going to [ ] is also a good idea.

Tj G
Friday, January 25, 2002

For reviews of computer-related books I generally look
at (I have reviewed one there myself)


Tim Sharrock
Friday, January 25, 2002

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