When you have read deep enough into “Apprenticeship Patterns” as much as I have, you start to notice a key feature of the book: many of the practices found within it are pre-requisites or co-requisites to other practices. Similar to a tech-tree structure found in a video game, proper software programming practices go hand-in-hand – this allows one to become proficient in many skills at once.
As usual, I have found that “Reading Constantly” is actually a practice that I already engage in. However, in contrast to the book, my level of “daily reading” is much smaller; I read for about 5-10 minutes each day, and it may not necessarily be related to the programming practices I need to study on. However, the book does state that reading during down time (even standing in line) is beneficial – perhaps, in an attempt to disagree, I was corrected by my own reading. This reinforces the idea: read, read, read!
I agree with Apprenticeship Patterns, and must also state that you should have a “queue” of books lined up; as you finish one, immediately start another. Tying in with “Practice, Practice, Practice”, constantly reading will keep you well-informed and up-to-date on problems that are relevant in today’s programming era.
When it comes to professional applications, “Reading Constantly” does not simply involve reading to obtain more knowledge. It also consists of:
- Reading to acquire new connections within the academic community
- Reading to apply skills from previous experiences
- Reading to non-verbally communicate the idea that we are willing to improve ourselves
So, by taking some time to read every day, I am essentially performing both a “working” and “recreational” activity. I am able to boost my workplace performance in an enjoyable manner. Similar to the ideas found in the coding dojo, reading should come at ease, with information effortlessly flowing in like a gentle stream. Forcing yourself to learn new information is both un-enjoyable and ineffective.
Overall, I think that everyone and anyone who is considering an advancement in their career to read constantly. In a way, it makes us similar to our machines – we take in new input, compute it within our brains, and create solutions as output for our audiences. It’s a beautiful cycle, and it all starts with a good book.