I have decided to throw up a list of books I have read over the last year on my website. Up until .Net 3.0 I never really read a lot of tech books, the Google machine answered most of my questions. On the pending release of .Net 3.0 I realised that the web was not going to offer me the answers i wanted and the head start i needed, so i got closer to the source. I grabbed a few of the books and realised the benefit of actually reading up on info BEFORE you needed it.
My usual reason for reading articles, blogs etc was because I had a problem and need to get around it. To be honest that's a pretty bad way to approach your profession. A doctor doesn't go and read a heart surgery blog when he has accidentally torn the bicuspid... well i hope not.
Another push toward my now ever growing library was Alt.Net Seattle earlier this year. Sometime you just don't know how much you don't know. Meeting guys like Martin Fowler, Brad Abrams, Udi Dahan, Greg Young, Ayende etc and talking with them face to face, you soon get a reality check. Luckily I was not the only on there that felt this way.
A few of us (and i don't want to drag these guys down to my level) started interrogating the Big Guns on what we need to do to get to the next level. Now we are not schmuck devs, but we realised the way to get up to the next level is some structured learning. The likes of Dru Sellars, Greg Young, Ian Cooper, Udi Dahan and Jarrod Ferguson were incredibly helpful in passing on there recommendations.
Since then I have stepped up my reading of about 1-2 books a year to almost 20 since late April, that's just shy of a book a week! I feel like a sponge, sucking up everything I can get my hands on.
The improvement is the quality of code has improved, my ability to acknowledge that MY code may need to be refactored is now apparent. My TDD skills are far superior to the start of the year. DDD is something I actually understand and can implement (whether i do it well is up for debate). Because of my improve domains Service Orientated Architectures are easier to create and evolve. My awareness that as a senior/lead Dev coding is only one of the small areas of my job. The ability to release good quality, testable, stable applications and do it fast are all thing we must manage.
The only problem is what the hell do I do with all these books? Being the travelling man I am, I now have dozens of kilos of books that i can not (cost effectively) take with me back to Australia. Damn, because many of these are books you want to keep around the office or at least easily accessible at home.
Anyway the page is not up yet but it should be under http://www.fullstack.co.uk/articles/library.aspx soon. Check it out. I am only going to put up books i think are worthwhile reading, so if its on there go buy the book.