Book club with a twist

While walking the path of becoming a great tester, I have noticed that patience is one of those abilities that help you vastly along the way. The downside is that it’s never been one of my strengths.

In sports that I have practiced (rinkball, boxing, ice hockey, etc.) I have mostly lacked the patience on doing my daily rutines and trusting that it will define my success. I have wanted the results as soon as possible and have put equivalent effort on achieving that goal. And it has taken time. Usually a lot of time.

Now I am facing the same situation, but this time it’s not sports that I’m dealing. It’s the profession of software testing. And I don’t have as much time available as I had during those days when I was practicing all those sports. Especially this strikes me when I’m reading books. I’m not the fastest reader so the slow pace of reading the books is getting frustrating.

You can see the portion of the books, that I want to read in near future, from the picture that I took from our office. Besides those there are infinite amount of other interesting books and new ones coming daily basis (especially interested in understanding more of sociology and psychology). Here is a list of some of them (mainly from http://www.ilari.com):

 

  • Mindset – Carol Dweck
  • The Goal – Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  • I want you to cheat – John Seddon
  • Tacit & Explicit Knowledge – Harry Collins
  • Thinking and Deciding – Jonathan Baron
  • The Concept of Mind – Gilbert Ryle
  • Exploratory Research in the Social Science – Robert A. Stebbins
  • Laws of Seeing – Wolfgang Metzger
  • Mind over Machine – Hubert L. Dreyfus & Stuart E. Dreyfus
  • Co-active Coaching – Henry & Karen Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl
  • Dialogue, Skill and Tacit Knowledge – Bo Böranzon, et. al.
  • Poke the Box – Seth Godin

Speeding up (without breaking the progression?)

I was trying to figure out a way to speed up the progress of reading the books. I did not want to do this though in the expense of my learning. And so I came up with an idea: book club with a twist.

Like a book club, but everyone reads different books. All the books are new for everyone participating. Idea would be then that everyone reads their books, makes a mind map or some other equivalent way to represent the content of the book (not just chapters) and then we arrange sessions where the people, who have read the book, represent their content to others. And in particular I thought about putting some effort on thinking this from the viewpoint of software testing (e.g. how can I use the information provided in the book for becoming a better tester).

Details are still unclear, but I have now made few plans for attempts to try this. First only me and other tester (@pekkamarjamaki). Also talked with few colleagues of trying this with them too after the summer holidays (that’s one month here in Finland).

I see at least two advantages in this approach. Firstly I need to put more effort on understanding the book I am reading. Besides there is the part where I have to explaining and discussion part which will test my knowledge about the book. Secondly I will gain understanding about books, I have not read, faster than I would have by reading it by my slow pace. On the other hand, this can be a disadvantage. Reading the book by yourself is rarely the same as how someone else has understood it. But I don’t mind. This is an experiment and I will see how it will turn. I will try to though keep in mind the words of Elisabeth Hendrickson: “Don’t confuse speed with progress”

I’ll try to report about the things we learn by trying this book club with a twist. And please share if you have tried something similar.

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