Thoughts on “Reading List”

“Reading List” is the first in a set of design patterns written to help the apprentice craft a learning curriculum.  As more and more material becomes available, it’s important to carefully select a set of materials that can effectively guide oneself.

This particular pattern is focused on managing material, not necessarily curating it (although it does recommend asking mentors for suggestions).  The recommendation here is to create a list of reading material, and maintain it in a way that lets you see what you have read as well as what you have yet to read.  This allows you to fill in gaps as you go, even if the original list was not particularly comprehensive.  The basic form of the pattern is to keep a text file as a reading list.  In more complex implementations, you can use a version control system to track changes, or use a public form (like a wiki) so that others can benefit.

I am not sure how helpful this pattern will be to me.  While I do understand the need for continued education, and I do enjoy reading, I’ve found that I learn far better from practical, hands-on experience than books, blogs, or powerpoint slides.  While I definitely got a lot out of Clean Code, I got more out of taking Uncle Bob’s suggestions and putting them into practice.  I also tend not to take well to to-do lists, either making or sticking to them — although, perhaps, this pattern would give me an opportunity to expand my horizons in personal organization as well as software craft.

My implementation of this pattern might be a bit more complex than the simple suggestion of keeping a version-controlled text file.  I would prefer to curate a list of resources that contain practical, hands-on components (like Apprenticeship Patterns, although many of those are fairly abstract), or to learn from tutorials that give me room to experiment.

You could even apply this pattern to parts of a book (like Apprenticeship Patterns) that is more fragmented, or easier to digest across multiple readings.  Perhaps also to a video or article series.

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