Do you consider reading books a must?

Christian Vasquez on October 09, 2018

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Yes. It's a must.

The majority of books I read are non-tech books as I can learn better from videos and actually doing what I learned.

From what I've learned/read, creativity stems from connecting dots in your brain. One of the books I read talks about how words we use are grouped together in our brain (words you use for programming, such as JavaScript, Web, coffee are stored near each other while words like truck, sky, fan, etc are stored far from where tech words are stored).

I believe reading books would help you bridge gaps between words/ideas you normally don't use together. (another way is to use analogies daily by using words/ideas that are not related. As a simple/contrived example, "Her eyes are as blue as sky". Eyes & Sky are not related and rarely associated together. And your brain would try to create an association between those two words).

While reading books, if you might run into situations you've never considered before, thus brain creates association between gap of what you know & just read/learned.

So the gist is, reading should be a must IMO.
(Sorry I didn't have time to edit it to make the reply shorter).


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sung!

"One of the books I read talks about how words we use are grouped together in our brain"

That book sounds really interesting, would you mind sharing it's name/link to it?


Ah, it's a Korean book (,which doesn't have English translation...😢) titled 열두 발자국 (Literal translation: Twelve Steps) written by a renowned/well-known Korean physicist who studies how brain 🧠works.
(That's right. He's a physicist/doctor but not a MD 😀).


I feel that reading, in general, is important. How and what type of information you consume is up to you. I mostly read tech/startup/science/math related books, but I've started to pick up slightly non-technical books over the years. With my limited time, I can't get myself to read outside of those areas (other than news). What about you? Would you recommend reading something outside of tech?


I've always struggle to read actually. Other than being forced to read a book during school/college, I have only read Clean Code and The Clean Coder by Uncle Bob to be honest.

My father reads a lot, part of being a lawyer I suppose, and he's been recommending me these:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  • The 48 Rules of Power.
  • The Art of Loving.

Some others (Design related):

  • Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.
  • The Design of Everyday Things.

Definitely reading 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' helps a lot no matter what kind of work you do. Absolutely a great book and easy read. Each chapter has multiple short real life events and one moral/guide line.


I guess I need to order How to Win Friends and Influence People :)

Has anyone read How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age? Is this considered a revision of the previously suggested book? Can't decide which one to read.


How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Is the best I have found in self-help.


Reading as a form of relaxation/entertainment can be good, but with many being conditioned for short bursts of quick and easy to consume media it's becoming harder and harder to sit down and just read. It really boils down to do you enjoy it or not. I personally do, and have since I was very young. Does everybody? No. Is that a bad thing? Not really.

From a technical perspective, you basically have to read. Whether that's technical documentation, textbooks, etc. it's basically inescapable. If you aren't reading, you should be listening to podcasts, presentations, more experienced peers, or watching videos. It doesn't matter so much how you intake information, but the fact that you are (and by extension, how you apply the information you take in).


If we're talking about books in general yes, I couldn't live without them, on paper or in electronic form, I read quite a bit.

I love being transported for hundreds of pages in a well written fictional story. The character building, the mastery of the language, the clear OCD great writers have... if you combine it with the fact that most great fiction is just a metaphor on the real world (of the past, present or possible future)... well books are amazing!

If we're talking about tech books, I don't read that many anymore. I still value books about fundamentals but in general the size, the hefty price, the short span life and the impracticality of reading them in PDF makes me shy away from tech books favoring articles, tutorials, documentation and in-depth essays, or even reading source code. And to be honest, some tech writers who write books aren't good at writing books and this is a no-no for me as you might have guessed :-D I still have books bought in a frenzy that are basically the online documentation of the technology with some comments here and there. No thanks.


Yes. And the best way to do that it to spend a full day in a huge library or book store. Just wandering between the shelves, picking a book here, reading a few pages, putting it back, until you find one that draws you into the story and you want to bring it back home. It can be anything. Tech, poetry, a novel, a graphic book, anything. Books make your mind wander in places where you would have never thought of going before, or you would have never thought actually existed. It's magic.


There is too much garbage on the Internet. The only way to get accurate verified non-opinionated information today is to take a good old book.


Yes. Reading books, the kind with no hyperlinks or any mechanism that allows you to jump from thought to thought, promotes deep thought and concentration which we need for learning. Learning happens in the space where the brain can concentrate and can operate uninterrupted. There are many books about this, a few that comes to mind are;

  • Focus, by D. Goleman
  • The Shallows, by N. Carr
  • Deep Work, by C. Newport

Absolutely yes, We need to read more books, articles, guides whatever you want or you prefer, I think this helps us to improve on different ways.

In my case my English is not fluent, so every night I try to read one article about something that is my interest also I try to write little articles and shared with the community for improving my English.

But yes I am sure that is necessary to read more.


I don't like see much TV. So I need keep a book near to me and not only tech/programming books.

I like read SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Mythology and Terror books because give me another vision about the world (or other Worlds) and afford problems in a different way than usual.

One little book that change my mind was Nightfall (Asimov).


In this career in computer science (and other tech-related areas) not only reading is a must but being very selective with the books being read and also any other sources of learning.


Which books would you recommend for anyone?


I am not sure if this helps.


There has been multiple posts on books in dev.to. I hope you find something that you are looking for.


@subbramanil reply is spot on, 'cause I feel that in development books there are as many as programming languages. I'd recommend more books that can help anyone become better regardless of their tech-stack. For instance, some titles that come to my mind right now are 'Start with Why' by Simon Sinek, 'The power of habit' by Charles Duhigg, the 80/20 principle of Richard Koch and my personal favorite 'The 4-hour Chef' by Tim Ferriss

Thank you 👍. I recently finished, 'Start with Why' and if you apply properly it really changes how you view things from a different perspective. I have the 'Power of Habit' in my library and haven't started yet. Will check it out the other books that you mentioned.

Solid recommendations👍


Yes. To me, it's a must. Reading is one of the best ways to use my free time. So I don't just mean technical books, but any kind.

When I got stressed more easily, it was always reading that could calm me down.

Reading became almost as important for me as eating. One is food for the body, the other is for the mind.

You might be interested in this article, about why and how to read more.


For me it is a must.

  1. I just plain enjoy reading, I could be called a voracious reader. Software, psychology, biography and science fiction are my main genres.
  2. For me it is a good way to learn new things, which we all need to do in this profession. It can be tech or non-tech. I mix it with online courses, mainly pluralsight and the linux foundation.

One thing I will say is it has to be active reading, for lack of a better word.
I make notes all over my books, reviewing what I have written after every reading session and chapter, making notes of further reading and how i can apply it to work.


No, I suppose I don't consider reading books a must... since I almost never read them myself. Outside of what was required for school, I can probably count on my hands the number of books I have read. However, I read ridiculous amounts of technical articles online, on all kinds of subjects.

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