“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time -- none, zero." - Charlie Munger
As technologists surrounded by the laptops and iPhones, we tend to overlook one of the most important technologies of human history: the humble book. I'm not sure if it's sampling bias, but readers are sparse in my programming circles. IMHO, it's a bit of a waste because books offer one of the greatest opportunities to increase your skills by leaps and bounds.
If someone asked you, "Would you pay $5,000 for one of the world's greatest programmers to be your mentor for the next three months?", what would you say? Probably "Hell Yeah!". If the same choice was offered, except this time it's $50 and you have to read, would you still agree?
Studying a great book is like being taken under the wings of a great mentor. Many great programmers, with centuries of experience between them, chose to distill their wisdom into portable, if slightly water sensitive, packages for your reading pleasure. Why would you not feast on this buffet of collected knowledge?
Here are the recommendations of some top programmers in the field. Take special notice of how some books keep coming up over and over again.
Thanks to Bob Belderbos for building this amazing bookshelf visualization.
Which mentor are you going to buy off Amazon?
Obviously, reading is not going to make you a master programmer. To become proficient, you need practice and a whole truckload of it too. However, books are still one of the best ways to learn the "Don't know that you don't know". If you have any other great recommendations, I would love to hear about them. You can reach me at louie @ [this website's domain]. Until then, happy reading!
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