Wednesday, November 2, 2011

O'Reilly's 2011 best technical books from someone who reads a book a week

I've enjoyed a large collection of O'Reilly books. In fact I've been reading on average one book a week from O'Reilly and others and have gone through many fantastic books, covering topics like Arduino, iOS, TCP-IP/HTTP, and the goings on at Apple and Google

So, what are the best ones? Well, that is such a subjective question. What is of interest to one may not be of interest to others; the learning style of one may differ from others.

But I will go over my personal 3 favorite that I have read so far this year and why. For some it may be the writing, for some perhaps the material or topic, and for some it may simply be the presentation.

Here they are starting with #3:

Revolution In the Valley
A fantastic book on what it was like to build the Mac by one of the main developers of the Mac, Andy HertzFeld. The book is a collection of stories in chronological order dealing with all the aspects of making the Macintosh from the point of view of the development team.

The prose is enjoyable, the pace is perfect, and the subject matter engaging. If you like Apple, computers, history, or just want a deeper understanding of one of the major technological shifts in our lifetime, this is the book for you.

The #2 book...

iOS Sensor Apps with Arduino
Alasdair Allan has several books out on iOS and also some videos. All have been high quality books, such as Learning iPhone Programming. His pacing is superb, the content detailed, and his examples spot on.

But this new book brought me into the world of the Internet of Things and into the playland of Arduino. It's amazing to write an iOS program that interfaces with a small computer on a chip that can sense distance and that can be caused to activate LED's. This of course is simply a jumping off point as Arduino is unlimited in its application.

Additionally, Al's new book iOS 5 Sensor Programming will be coming out next year encompassing his four sensor books (including Basic iOS Sensors, Augmented Reality in iOS, and Geolocation in iOS) with additional material.

And the #1 O'Reilly book this year:

Gamification by Design

This book took me completely by surprise. I had seen it a few times and thought it was about writing games. Instead the book delves into the psychology of games and why people are geared for games in most everything they do. It details how to write programs and processes in a way that is engaging and motivates people in the same way that games engage people and get them excited about continuing.

The biggest reason this book is #1 because of the content. This book brought me to a new, important understanding that is critical for the success of my personal vision. Reading this book was one of those "Aha!" moments were I learned something I didn't know was there and realized it was important to have in my continued success.

Everything Else
Honestly all three of these books were great and it was really hard to rank them all separately. They pretty much all tied in their own way for first place.

In addition, all these books were great and some were phenomenal. Here is a list of the books I have been reading or have read in the past 12 months from O'Reilly. They are all high-quality books.

Programming the Mobile Web
HTTP Pocket Reference
iPhone App Development: The Missing Manual
Learning iPhone Programming
The Twitter Book
The Google Way
The Facebook Marketing Guide
Graphics and Animation in iOS
Basic Sensors in iOS
Getting Started with Arduino
Using SQLite
Mac OS-X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual
Gamification by Design
Revolution in the Valley
iOS Sensor Apps with Arduino
Arduino Cookbook
Core Network Protocols
Make: Electronics

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