2015 Books of the Year

There are so many worthless eBooks (real eBooks as well as PDFs) out there. There are many books overflowing with facts and knowledge that I didn’t find quite useful (for me). Several Data Science books from which I learned a lot but couldn’t yet put that knowledge to good use. They pointed me in good directions but, there’s just such a wealth of really great Data Science resources out there it’s almost silly to just pick one or two.

These are the books that had a significant, positive impact on my learning and productivity this year.

  • JavaScript & jQuery; Interactive Front-End Web Development by Jon Duckett—see my glowing, gushy, and concise review. Most beautiful book since 1997’s Web Sites That Work.
  • Interactive Data Visualization for the Web by Scott Murray has been an almost constant companion the last few months.
  • Free Software Free Society is a collection of essays by Richard M. Stallman. I constantly see potential employers say they look at potential employees’ participation in open source projects. I didn’t really get that until I read this book. Both of Stallman’s books are available all over the web–free, of course.
  • 10 Keys to Great Landing Pages from iThemes.com was surprisingly useful in getting me to focus and, if for no other reason, it introduced me to Dieter Ram‘s 10 Principles for Good Design.
  • The Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick is just plain inspiring.
  • ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World’s First Computer by Scott McCartney was educational and inspiring.

Update: Honorable Mention

Web Sites That Work by Roger Black has never ceased to influence my thinking and my work. People who say it is outdated are not just incorrect but wrong. Here’s a condensed version but the entire, beautiful 237-page book is only 1¢ on Amazon.

Another Update: Last Minute Worthy Addition

As I said, tons of Data Science books, articles, sites … but only the one DataViz book (Murray’s) until I’d finished writing this post and started reading Data Visualization with Javascript by Stephen A. Thomas. I picked it up from the library about a week ago but didn’t start it in earnest until Jan 30. It’s been in my hot little hands almost constantly since then. Like Murray and Duckett’s books, I’m going to renew it until the library police raid my home.

I want to say it’s not as beautiful as Duckett’s or Black’s books (but a close second) but that’s not really accurate. Those books are, visually, like Aphrodite–a goddess. Thomas’ book is like Helen–a mere mortal, but the most beautiful of mere mortals.

What makes the difference? The Aphrodite books use paper of a far heavier weight and almost every page bleeds full-page background color. Thomas’ Helen book is much lighter paper and, while the book is in finely-detailed, wonderfully-used, lovingly-formatted full-color, all the backgrounds are white. And it’s worth mentioning that the illustrations in Thomas’ book are far superior to those in Murray’s book.

And … Oh. My. Gosh. Just look at the ridiculously elegant design of his website. I enjoy just sitting and staring at it like I’m at a museum. I haven’t even clicked anything yet. They don’t like it when you touch the paintings.

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About jotascript

Aiming to please. Seeking to impress.
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One Response to 2015 Books of the Year

  1. Pingback: 2016 Books of the Year | jotascript

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