Books, books, books!
This year I made a concious effort to improve many things in my life. I have started to exercise regularly, improved my diet drastically, started to write a journal, and to retrospect my life and goals on a regular basis. One of changes that I am most proud of is my changed attitude toward books.
I learned to love books when I started university
When I was younger, I didn’t like books that much. I did read a lot, but mostly tutorials, documentations and studies that I could find online. This was probably fine for my adolescent years. The internet was full of well written articles about almost everything, but as my interests evolved from simple to more focused and specialized areas, the internet started to disappoint. There were many articles, but few of them had the precision and the level of quality I was looking for.
My feelings toward books have changed significantly when I started my first year of university. Suddenly, books were the best source of knowledge I could find, and slowly I started to prefer them over any other type of media. Unfortunately, unlike online articles, books were not free, and my limited student budget could only afford a few books.
Slowly, I learned to enjoy the smell of a freshly printed book like the smell of my morning coffee.
Then, I found my first job and I could fully embrace all the books at my office. Finally, I could read as many books as I wanted. I was checking them out one by one. I was like a child that entered a candy store where every candy was free.
Bootstrapping my personal home library
I am not a student anymore, and I can easily afford to buy several books per month, but my subconscious did not fully realized this fact for a long time. Buying a book was still a very special occasion for me. I purchased a book only when I was certain that I will like it.
I relied mostly on my company’s library to extend my knowledge, but many times I was wishing to read something unrelated, some book that was not present, or something that would benefit only my curiosity.
This was wrong! I missed out so much.
Finally, this year I have faced my irrational fear of investing money in books. I’ve set up a regular schedule where I order a new book every month. This was half a year ago. My personal library is slowly started to grow.
In a hindsight, I regret it every day that it took me so much to set up a regular book purchasing schedule. I should have done this 4 years ago when I got my first job. Imagine how many books I would have now.
The importance of keeping a personal library
Why I am sharing this story? If you are a young programmer, your personal library can skyrocket the amount of knowledge you can absorb in a given amount of time. It shows that you care for your future. It shows that you have a true passion for your job.
Books purchased from your own money will become far more important to you than the ones you have borrowed from someone else for free. You will feel the need to extract every penny worth of knowledge from these books. This in essence is a great trick your mind to read a book from cover to cover with maximal focus on every word.
If you are like me, you are probably ashamed that your are a grown up programmer without even one SQL reference book. Make this change, buy some books. Grow up.