Monday, October 08, 2007

The value of information

Fellow developers have jokingly labeled me a book addict, and I can see where they are coming from. I think if it wasn't for the negative connotations attached to being an "addict" of anything, I would accept the moniker.

Every 3 months I get withdrawal since I haven't bought a book in 3 months! So I go trawling Amazon looking for my next purchase.

There are currently a total of 10 books on my shelf here on my desk. Looking at them I mentally total up how much money is sitting there, at an average of $30 a book, that makes for about R2500 in total!

But every cent is worth it.

So what about the contention that there is already enough information available for free on the net. People that say that are patently not aware of how different "pay per view" information is. It is just soooo much better, and for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is that with information that you buy, the better the quality, the more people will buy. Since free information is by definition, freely available, quality is not put at a premium because the author does not stand to gain from producing quality information.

That's not to say it's all bad. Both the spring online reference and the hibernate
online reference are very good. But as their name suggests they are more of the reference type of document. Bought information, as long as it's pitched at the right level, is usually a lot more comprehensive in it's treatment of the subject matter such that even for newbies it's comprehensible then free information.

Furthermore, because I have gained so much value from the books that I've bought, when it comes to hiring decisions people should take very seriously the candidate's attitude to books and such like.

Without the books I have on my shelf, I'd be nowhere near where I am today, and while I don't have a book on a particular subject, I feel there's a hole that must be filled.


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2 comments:

The CareBear said...

I totally agree with your feelings about having a book next to you. I currently have hard copies of Head First Design Patterns and Special Edition Using Java 2 Standard Edition next to me. I like to make notes in the books for myself :-)

Some books I would still like to buy is Hibernate In Action, Spring In Action and Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate & Eclipse.

mx said...

The sequel to Hibernate in Action, Java Persistence with Hibernate as saved hours of head scratching. Spring in Action is _very_ good. I'll lookup those two you reference because I'm looking for new books to buy.