Software engineers can’t survive only on engineering books. The books I recommended in the last two posts are all fantastic, and are a great reference for any serious tester…but you need more than tech knowledge if you want to be a good engineer. Even better, reading a few books outside of the tech realm gives you a better shot at dealing with non-geeks . I’ll fall back to my rating system of telling you about the books on my shelf with the worn spines. These are the books that spend as much time on my desk next to me as they do on the bookshelf.
On Writing Well, and 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing have both been valuable resources for me over the past few years. I’ve picked up dozens of tips from these books that have helped in my technical writing as well as in my blogging. Both books are probably more targeted toward journalists, but I would recommend them for anyone who wants to be a better writer.
The Art of Project Management is a good book for anyone who has to get projects done. I suppose that this book is technically a software book (it’s written by a former microsoftie), but the concepts are applicable to anyone running any kind of project or anything where you need to get a team of different personalities to accomplish something together. I found it interesting that Amazon groups this book with Getting Things Done in the “Better Together” sales ad – I thought GTD was a piece of crap – oh well.
Human Error by James Reason is a great book to read to understand why testers have jobs . This book investigates the nature and root causes of errors made by people. I find the book interesting every time I read it, and can’t recommend it enough for anyone who is serious about root cause analysis or defect prevention – or just understanding why you might walk into a room and forget why you went there.