trinity-college-library-dub.jpgI have read a lot of books on a lot of different topics to become what I now am. A lot of them I own in a physical way, others in an electronic way. The amount of books tends to grow with the number of years in ICT. What is it about books that I like so much. I am not sure, I just love these big stores where you can go through the actual contents of a book. I have always been like that. I also still buy my music in true record stores or maybe cd shops nowadays. Picking up some cds, listen to them and of course buy them. With books it is a bit different, I buy a lot of eBooks, just because you have them available within a few minutes.

Read on for the reason of this post

I buy my eBooks at manning and apress. I just love the MEAP program of manning. There is a big risk in buying all these books. At a certain moment there is a risk of collection. Just buying to buy and have. I get a lot of mails from manning with discount up to 15 dollar (I will not make stupid euro jokes). That way I have a new book for around 15 dollars.

Some of the latest eBooks I bought are:

  • Google guice – by Robbie Vanbrabant. Have not read it all, but it is a good book to get up to speed with guice.
  • AspectJ in action, Second edition – by Ramnivas laddad. That is one of those books I was tricked into. Ah, must be interesting for a few bucks, did not read anything yet.
  • Jess in Action – by Ernest Friedman-Hill. A very nice start for learning about rule engines.
  • Flex 3 in action – by Tariq Ahmed. Fairly basic introduction into flex. To be honest, I like the online material from adobe better.

Back to the original problem. To many books, to easy to buy. Having these nice printed books is different. I usually buy other kind of books on paper. They are more focussed on the longer term and on more general topics. The problem is the price, internet is so much cheaper. It lost most of the charm of picking up the books, walking to the cash register and actually buy it. When I moved to JTeam B.V., that all changed. We moved into a building just around the corner of the computercollectief. These guys are cheap, they have a store, so it all becomes to easy and to much fun. These are the books I bought lately that are somewhat ICT related.

[amtap book:isbn=0321349601]
[amtap book:isbn=0596005814]
[amtap book:isbn=0743299795]
[amtap book:isbn=0321150783]

Than I am leaving out a lot of other books, I have read. I haven’t even spoken about all the blogs and articles out there that I try to read as well. Again information overload.

The time has come to do something about it. When I have to much code, preferably with unit tests, I tend to start refactoring. Finally the clue to the title, I want to refactor my library of information. Nope sorry, not talking about refactoring a java library. Can we apply some of the refactoring mechanisms to information overload?

Yes there are some means to make an end to this problem:

  • Find summaries of books, you probably miss the good stuff than, but you reduce the amount of information.
  • Make a good design upfront, than you will only buy the books you really need. That will definitely reduce the amount of information. I am just scared to miss out on something then.
  • Prevent interaction with the outside world, no integration points, by not subscribing to these damn rss feeds. You will only browse to the website to learn more and deviate from the path to lean and mean information.
  • Apply the circuit breaker pattern to reading books. Appoint someone else with the task of reading your book. Give him the task to keep the book closed to you in case buying it was an error. (sorry, I could not resist to mention the circuit breaker, more on this in another post)
  • The final and probably best advise is to refactor your book away by lending it to someone else. I lost quite a few books this way. I feel relieved that I do not have to read these books a second time know, because i do not have them any more.

Of course there is a risk in refactoring, you might brake everything beyond repair. Luckily we have versioning systems to help out. With printed books this is different. I refactored the following book away, and I regret it a lot. I do believe that information re-use can also lead to lean information. Going through a book again might prevent you from buying a new one. So if someone out there helped me in refactoring the following book, would you please be so kind to give it back to me?

[amtap book:isbn=0201485672]

You can recognize my book usually because my name it written in it.

Sorry for this post, it will not happen again, unless Freddie has more of these excellent ideas. Thanks Freddie.

Refactoring your library