Books, more books and yet more books

For the last 12 months I’ve been spending time tracking what I’ve been doing in my journey through my testing career. It’s been mainly at a higher level but in some areas I’ve delved deeper. I’ve tracked the books I’ve read, the content I’ve created, my thoughts on testing, my inspirations and ideas, my successes in testing and of course, areas for improvement.

One of the main areas of inspiration for me is the area of reading. I like to read. And from reading I learn. But I also get inspiration for blogs, for content for The Software Testing Club and for other side projects which I’ll be sharing with you throughout this year. I guess this is a form introspection.

It’s a chance to pass a reflective thought over what I’ve been doing.

It could even be called a journal. It could also be a form of measure.

A way of managing my thoughts and ideas.

Like Jurgen Appelo states on his latest blog post – “You cannot manage what you don’t measure.”

Whatever I call it, it’s a really great way of looking at where my learning is going, where I draw inspiration from and what makes me tick.

Why am I doing it?

It’s a way of me looking for patterns in my reading habits. I’m also able to compare what I’ve read to what I’ve created (I’ve not shared that part as there are still lots in final prep – due out this year through The Software Testing Club). This introspection could lead to all sorts of insightful information about me and what I do. Some positive, some not so.

Why Share It?

Lots of people share their book lists and I think it’s important to share information like this so we can all grow our learning if we wish to. I look at other peoples reading lists and add them to my backlog of books with the aim of getting round to reading them…at some point.

Is it complete?

Not at all. I am sure, especially in the early months of last year, that I didn’t record everything I read. I have also not included blog posts, PDFs and other online content which takes up a huge amount of my reading time. I’ll be including that for this year’s record.

Why a timeline?

I stumbled across the TimeGlider software around Feb last year and loved the ease and simplicity of it. A timeline is also a great way to track my work and the software enables links and other information to be included.

I’m also interested in finding new ways to show data and this mini project has given me a chance to experiment with TimeGlider and timelines as a way of sharing content.

What findings did you stumble across?

I’m still looking through the book list but I’ve noticed some trends:

I often have multiple books on the go at once. I dip in to books for a few chapters at a time. I read based on my mood, my level of concentration and my interest in that subject at that time.

I read a lot more about topics outside of Testing than I do testing books. I do read testing blogs though, so maybe blogs have surpassed books for my test learning.

I read about business, sociology, communication, people, teams and management.

I need to start adding in the eBooks and PDFs I’m reading as they give a much more rounded view of my learning and reading. I probably read more PDFs and eBooks than I do “normal” books. I shall add these throughout this year.

There is a spurt of reading about Creativity. This was in the lead up to Agile Testing Days where I presented on Killing Creativity.

I read a lot of “old school” literature from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I like the way the writers of the time framed ideas and views. I think ideas from this long ago haven’t changed that much. There is a lot to be learnt from writing from all periods of history.

I can see lots of seeds of ideas for my blog posts and content when I compare my list of reading to list of writing. Maybe I should also add in a list of listening to or watching. I get ideas from all over but I suspect the management of this kind of information is maybe too much.

I have periods in the timeline where I don’t read much. This was partly due to prepping my presentation for Agile Testing Days but also because this is when I’m writing material, editing The Testing Planet or taking time out to rest.

How to Use The Timeline

At the right hand side there is a zoom viewer. Best to use it at a level around 28 (1 qtr). Each item is clickable which will open a small dialogue box. In the dialogue box is the book information and a link to the book on Amazon. (the links are NOT affiliate links)
Scrolling left and right is done by clicking and dragging on the canvas (background)

About The Data

All of the references and book information is taken from
All of the links are to except the direct links to original download sources.
None of the links are affiliate links, so click away.
The date of the entry does not always relate to the date of finishing the book. It is within about 2 days though….
The only exception to the above is The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook which I’m still reading on and off. On initial purchase I skimmed through the pertinent information for my context. I see this book as a reference book.

So what’s next?

I have lots to get done this year but I have some very clear community projects which I’d quite like to get rolling. One of which is community led book listing using a Semantic Web framework called Exhibit. I have a test server up and running and I have a couple of people in my mind who I’d love to be contributing to it also. Once the proof of concept has been done then I intend to open this Framework up to the community as a whole, maybe with some checks and filters in place on content submission. I may ditch the whole project though for a number of reasons. But I’m experimenting with community led data, so expect some projects to rise and fall over the next 12 months.

I’m also experimenting using Exhibit Framework for managing and reporting on Exploratory Testing. It’s got a great potential to offer simple ways to manage lots of data and make it searchable. I’ll also be exploring how we can use the Exhibit Framework to manage all sorts of other test related data such as notes, ideas, to-dos, test, reports, learning sources etc. So watch this space.


If you can’t view the embedded timeline below, it’s available here too :