8 May 2008

On becoming a bookie again

Jeff Atwood's blog is something that I always look forward to reading. His articles carry an appealing blend of technically interesting & philosophically right stuff. For example, his take on reading books really set me thinking.

An interesting topic. I remember my early academic & programming career when I was crazy for tech books. I'd gather them with zeal, pore over them trying to understand the nuts and bolts of every new technology around the corner. Sometimes I 'd succeed, at other times it would still remain as a curiousity pinging at the back of my mind. I remember buying I.T magazines those days (half of which would be plastered with useless product ads). Yet I'd buy them for the 2 page article on Visual C++ or something else around the corner.

Enter Google and all that changed drastically. Nowadays if i have a curious thought nagging somewhere at the back of my mind - simple thing is to hit google and usually its cleared. Its really helpful - damn useful considering the proliferation of technologies and associated jargon one has to keep constantly updated with.

But it fails to address one part of the knowledge imbibing cycle that books do well. While reading books on any subject, you tend to develop a holistic view of that subject including nitty gritty details that may make or mar your complete understanding of the subject. Its not that way with searching on the web. The latter is more of instant gratification. You quickly get what you want and usually that information alone might be dangerous at times.

Speaking of Atwood's blog, it reminded me of that long pending task - reviving the book reading habit.

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