If you’d asked me a year ago, what the last book I read was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I pretty much didn’t read books, back then. I was pretty good at RTFM, but books? Expensive, and they quickly get out of date. What changed?
Those who know me personally know that I’ve always been interested in technology and programming. I had several years of experience, even before I decided to start a bachelor’s in computer engineering. It was mostly learning by doing. Automating things, running my own websites, and helping friends and family. When necessary, I would dive into documentation, or end up reading source code, to figure things out.
When it changed
It wasn’t until my second year at the university (fall of 2015) that I began reading computer science / programming books. At the time, I was taking a course on computer networking, and the course book was Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach (Kurose & Ross). I felt the lectures weren’t in-depth enough, so I picked up the book. Before that, I had gotten decent grades by mostly attending the lectures, labs, and not buying any books, other than books required for mandatory task work.
After reading a couple of chapters in the computer networking book, several concepts that I didn’t fully grasp from the lectures, clicked. The book was over 800 pages, and during the last few months of the semester, I read most of it. It gave me a much more complete understanding, than I would have gotten just looking up terms on Wikipedia.
Reading more, and writing about it
When the semester ended, I had a lot of free time, and decided to grab a few more books on topics I found interesting, to see if it was just a one time thing, or if I would find other books enjoyable as well. Using a combination of the university library, Amazon, and free books online, I read one, two, three books. And then some more.
Eventually, I my list of books to read ran low. The ebook selection available through my university wasn’t that impressive, and buying books from Amazon all the time, for someone like me, living mostly off of my student loan. That’s when I discovered Safari Books Online. It’s a subscription service owned by O’Reilly. Sort of like Spotify, but for ebooks. Mostly in computer science, business, economy and other engineering / technology related fields.
I’d tried blogging several times, but always failed. What did I know, that was worth sharing? Not much, really. Then I thought, maybe if I wrote about the books I read? Then I would force myself to remember what I’d read, and really think about what I learnt. I did, and the vast amount of what I posted here in the beginning, were summaries / reviews of books. Just the act of writing these summaries, made it easier for me to write other texts too. English isn’t my first language, and while I feel quite comfortable both reading, writing and speaking English, that used to be mostly short pieces. Now I’m trying to push myself further, and write regular posts, more frequently. Both my server logs, and Google Webmaster Tools tell me that people actually visit my blog. Not many people, but some, and that’s encouraging.
Thank you, for reading this.