Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A tester’s bookshelf

The inspiration for this post is from a blog post I saw by Paul Gerrard on top ten books for testers.  Which was in turn inspired from a question asked by Huib Schoots via the Software Testing Club.

I thought I would put a different take on the question and not put together a top ten list or anything like that but more a list of books I have recently read, am currently reading or intend to read soon.  This is not a post recommending these books, rather an insight into my eclectic choice of reading and for some of you who read my blog may find it useful.

Recently Read

Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder -  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
A great book for testers, it talks about how we can get better by subjecting ourselves to more stress and disorder. There are many connections to how we think and do testing.   How we can do small things to gain large rewards.   There is a video from the New York Public Library of a discussion between Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman about how do we make decisions when faced with uncertainty, I highly recommend watching this.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson 
One of the best fiction books that I have read this year a great story and one I enjoyed.  The book tells the life story of a 100 year old man and the famous people whom he met on the way.

You are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, and 46 Other Ways you’re Deluding Yourself.  David McRaney
A nice and easy book to read and some great biases and cognitive illusions explained in simple easy language.  If you are a tester you may find some of this very useful. 

A street Cat called Bob – James Bowen
I am a cat person (get over it).  A true and remarkable story of a homeless man who finds a cat takes him under his care.   – You Tube has a cool Video of James and Bob

Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing -  Elisabeth Hendrickson
Once of the best books I have read on using exploratory testing (outside of the Rapid Software testing course).  It is permanently on my desk at work and one I refer to at least once a week for ideas when I am suffering from a testing block.  It is great for inspiring ideas and thoughts on all aspects of testing.


Tacit and Explicit Knowledge -  Harry Collins
Started this on recommendation from Michael Bolton and I am only a couple of chapters in and finding so much related to testing and especially the way we learn. I feel this could have a significant impact on the way we teach testing.

Blah Blah Blah – What to do when words don’t work – Dan Roam
A great book on how we report information – almost finished this book and has some ideas on how I can report better and convey information in a way in which I am not misleading people.

Intend to read next

This explains everything – John Brockman
What drew me to this book was the names mentioned on the cover, Nassim Taleb , Richard Dawkins  , Steven Pinker , Martin Rees – to name a few.  All who have wrote books I have read hence it piqued my interest – hopefully we be as good as I expect.

Game storming – Dave Gray
I have an interest in how we can be more creative and create more ideas, very useful for when testing and especially test planning.  So I got this book based upon the concept that it contains useful techniques to improve idea generation and creativity.

Making Social Science matter – Brennt Flyvbjerg
I have finally got around to adding this to my bookshelf after being recommended sometime ago by Michael Bolton (again).  I have a great interest in social science and how we can within testing learn from this area.  This book presents new thoughts and thinking on how to approach social science research.  I feel there could be some good connections with testing within this book based upon what I have read of the reviews.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many more books I could have included in the recently read section but I wanted a nice short blog post for a change.  I should note that the books I intend to read in the future can also change based upon what interests me at that time.  This is the reason I could not do a top ten list of books, the list would depend so much on context.  It would depend on so many different things and I would find it hard to narrow it down to one context since within most books I read I can relate something back to testing, even the fiction books.

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