Trying to build your IT library can be an exercise in frustration—and economics. When you’re handing over $4.99 for a cheap sci-fi thriller, it’s no great loss if the writing is weak or the plot absurd. But when you’re putting up thirty dollars or more for an IT text, you want the money spent to be worth it.
You can’t judge a book by its…well, you know
All too often, we rush through the book-buying process focusing only on the title and find ourselves with nothing more than a weighty stack of fire kindling.
In my own search for the right IT text, a common problem I’ve run into is books that are short on content, using the first third or more of the book to present material that most programmers already know. Sometimes the content you’re seeking is so hard to find that you waste time, skimming pages for hours before realizing that the book simply doesn’t offer the information you’re seeking.
Even worse, many of the books I’ve bought offer sample code that won’t run, and even if the sample code does run, the authors are often lax about including comments within the code. Without these comments, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to understand exactly what the authors are trying to accomplish.
So how do you know if a book’s content stands up to the promise of its cover? Short of taking up speed-reading, there’s no way to know for sure that the book will have exactly what you’re looking for until you spend some quality time with it, but there are some tricks to knowing if the book is worth its price.
We want to know if you’ve read a particularly helpful, informative, or well-written IT book. Send us a note and let us know the book’s title, author, and why you think it deserves special recognition.
The search is on
Going straight to the source
The bottom line is that not all IT books are created equally, and you owe it to yourself and your wallet to do a little digging before you find yourself with a bunch of forty-dollar paperweights.
Do you have a tip for buying the perfect IT book? Post a comment or write to Bob Johnson and share your thoughts.