On some conferences, time and space is reserved for some shameless book-promotion. Sometimes entire reviews are published in magazines and if you have written a book, you are almost automatically considered the authority on the subject. Test books are popular and in these days of crisis, it seems that even more books are published.
Personally, I don’t read a lot of books. At least not on the subject of testing, and here is why:
- A book is an old technology. There is no interaction, no feedback, no discussion. Especially on the subject of testing, the interaction and discussion is very necessary.
- The content is already old when the book is published. The IT world goes faster and faster these days, but books must be reviewed, edited, printed, distributed, etc. And a good book gives discussion. This discussion is never printed (see point 1), but corrections resulting from this discussion are only published in later versions of the book.
- The purpose of the authors of test books is often for their own promotion. It looks good on their CV, not that of the reader.
- Test books are rarely based on good research. E.g. the kind of research done at universities. This makes the foundation very thin and often applicable to a very specific situation. What is left are opinions. Blogs and online fora are far more suitable for that.
- I am, and this a personal one, a slow reader. I simply don’t have the time to read boring books of 400+ pages.
This does not mean that I don’t educate myself. I read a lot of blogs, magazines, participate in online fora, and goto events and conferences when possible. For me these are valuable sources of information. They provide me with tips, new insights, hints, etc., and keep me up-to-date with the latest from the testing field. And in a much faster, honost, and direct manner.
No doubt that there are exception and that there exist books that do not have one of the drawbacks mentioned above. Let me know if you’ve found one.