Which factor influences you the most in buying / selecting a book?
Is it the author? (buy all Tolkien's books)
Subject? (I might like "Rise and Fall of Third Reich" because I love history)
General Reviews? (Thomas Paul said this book is good. So let me get it)
Publisher? (O'Reilly books are great. Let me try this one too)
Personal Suggestion? (My friend & I have a same frequency. He likes it and he suggests it, so I might also like it)
Or anything else?
I have tried every method, and failed most of the times. It might be a great book, but for some reason I don't like it. I have wasted a lot of money and time in buying & reading books only to feel unsatisfied.
On the other hand, most of my favorite books are the ones which came to me accidentally!
How do you feel when you buy a book and find it disappointing? Any suggestions to select a good book.
[ September 30, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
What I like to do though is check out the reader reviews over at Amazon....
That's a nice idea. But what about Non-English books? I prefer to read books written (or translated) in my native language (Tamil), and sadly we people don't have such luxury
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Are you talking about technical books only, or books in general?
Since Jason said that this question is not for him, I assume that this is for me
I'm talking about books in general. Let it be technical, novels, biography, poetry or what ever it is. (Cheque books excuse).
There are probably similarities, yes... What's different for me, a publisher name has some weight in choosing tech. books and none for non-technical. Maybe I am just not as much accustomed with non-tech (actually, non-programming) publishers. Also, for non-tech. books I often use "explore similar items" feature on Amazon, to circle the whole group of books on certain thematic and then decide which I am more interested in by reading reviews.
Regarding recommendations, here is my favorite quote (I am probably posting it for the third time already, but as long as I've not been caught... )
"When I want to educate myself regarding a topic, my first step is to find a place where interested people congregate (it could be a mailing list, if I am doing my research in virtual mode) or a collection of useful documents. When I find people who impress me with their insights or who simply intrigue me with their points of view, I spend more time reading what they have to say and ask them for pointers to new material.
Most subtle, perhaps, is the way I discover new topics of importance by following what interests the people I respect. For instance, if I learn from someone's views in a particular software area and find that he's becoming obsessed over some piece of hardware, I decide that it's time to look into that hardware. I don't simply screen out this new information because it's different from the software area that we've always talked about."
But most important is practice, like with everything else. When I was younger, my reading was totally chaotic, and then some order emerged... Sometimes it's intuitive and not very well examined, so thank you for asking, now we can reflect on this process.
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Moving this to Bunkhouse Porch.
How could you do this?
Hmmmm...okay I understand now. I shouldn't have mentioned your name in the my post with the comment I have tried every method, and failed most of the times. My fault
To Jason & Map: Thanks for the replies
To Thread: RIP
Well, for technical books it's been based on the following:
I just bought "In search of Stupidity" only because Michael recommended it. I'vehad a number of people I trust and respect on the Ranch and from my offline life recommend books and I'll go with that.
Very often I see one book mention another, or a few others. If I liked this book, and this author though enough of these other books to mention them, then it follows that I should consider those books. Of course, I mostly read process / project management books, and this may make more sense than for technical.
- Authors / Publishers
There are some authors I like. There are also some publishers (Dorset House) where I generally think they produce very high quality books.
Mostly authors (Asimov, Bradbury).
I judge it totally by it's cover. Sure this doesn't work for books, but for magazines if the naked woman on the front is... oh um, wait, nevermind. The articles, I buy magazines because they have good articles. :-p
I get to enjoy a lot of books that I would probably not have chosen using the criteria listed earlier, but I do get to read some books that count as just a waste of time.
For fiction books I go overwhelmingly by author; authors get added to my pool by personal recommendation by people I respect, authors leave the pool when they produce a couple of stinkers in a row.
Non-fiction books about non-computer topics I almost always get from bibliographies and reading lists associated with a course or topic of study. I'm always taking courses of one sort or another, and they always have book lists.
For non-technical books, subject, author backcover text in that order (though there are some publishers I don't buy because of the generally poor quality printing and binding they produce which I consider a waste of money as I don't generally buy books to throw them away after a single reading).