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Discussion on: Three Books

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gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes Author

Ah. Good - dissenting opinion!

And I can't dismiss this position out of hand - I really enjoy your writing, and I'd always assumed a writer was a reader.

Yes, the idea of "seniority" could be parked - more meaningless drivel. Although I always like a yardstick of "can make other developers better developers".

I bought only a handful of books at university because they generally turned out to be a colossal waste of time.

I would've put money on you picking Barendregt.

a lot of developers learn by doing

I agree. I'd say every developer learns by doing. It's a practical subject. Book learning ain't no good unless it gets applied to a real problem. But are you concerned that the inverse might also be true; if you're only ever learning by doing, aren't we limiting ourselves to repetition of the same pathways that we've seen before? (I find the idea of praxis useful here - theory applied in practice (and then generating more theory)). What's a sufficient input to break habit and start building new pathways. I say "book", but maybe I could take "lecture series", as well as "paper".

But, I suppose, I should throw this back to you. How do you learn something new? Something, as we've said, "big and slow"?

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drbearhands profile image
DrBearhands

if you're only ever learning by doing, aren't we limiting ourselves to repetition of the same pathways that we've seen before?

Yes, but that's an extreme. Generally I expect somebody hears about something, reads up a bit, then tries something out. There's reading in there of course, but a book takes that to the other extreme, taking exploration and the practice out of the loop. That's always seemed to passive to me.

Now if you include papers and lecture series then I have read quite a few things, but most were not all that important on my knowledge and beliefs. Certainly not individually.
Of the three most influential things, I would name 1 lecture series (Bartosz Milewski's series on CT), a conversion I had with a teacher once about why functional programming was interesting for concurrent programming, and a disagreement I had about orthogonality with a presenter at a meetup one time.

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gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes Author

I was just thinking about the Milewski lectures/blog/book in relation to this. It's definitely a big "blob" of influential learning, whichever way it is consumed!