Johanna Rothman gives a very interesting take on how to convince your manager to buy books. If you don't know who she is, she's a world class consultant who's also been doing lectures here in Israel at SELA university about product development and project management. We've also met her for a Blogger dinner some time ago, it was really interesting.
My take on Johanna's words:
- some books do not go old or stale even after 20 years (Code Complete (which actually has version 2.0), PeopleWare, Design Patterns… and many more)
- Some books go stale after a while but the benefit you get from them reimburses you many times over in that period of time. (plenty of those)
- People feel like you are taking care of them when you make a library and invite them to take books home.
- Books are often better than online material because:
- You can take them with you to the bathroom, or bed, or train
- You can hand them over for someone
- It is harder for most people to read from the screen of the computer
- I'm not waiting for management to buy me books. I buy them myself. But management *should* buy them, because there's nothing better than a library to get to at the end of the day and pick out something you've been really wanting to read, like project management, architecture, problem solving or the .net framework annotated reference.
- I don't think there is one developer I know that thinks books are not a good investment. That many smart people can't be wrong.
BTW : one comment listed under Johanna's post says that the guy would rather buy his own books so that he can take them with him when he moves jobs. Definitely something to think about. One thing you need to remember is that regardless of management - you should worry for your own education. No one else will. It also makes for a great answer to one of my favorite interview questions: “So tell me about the last book you've read to do with technology”.