I've always kept almost every technical book I've ever bought. I guess I wanted to keep a historical record of my career by being able to look at my bookshelves. I imagined being 60 years old, reminiscing to some kid fresh out of college, pointing over to my original copy of Don Box's classic Essential COM and saying, "See, son, back when I was your age, we had to program uphill... both ways."
But I decided it was time for some real-life refactoring. Time to throw out all that dead code -- er, books, that is. Here are many of the books I just took out to the curb (snif). This picture kind of represents my work life for the past 10 years in one glance (click to zoom in if you really want to read the titles):
Now for me, this was actually a hard thing to do. Those old books you see in the picture at the top (plus others that I didn't get into the picture) represent uncountable hours of work, fun, stress, and growth for me over the past 10 years or so. Sure, I don't really need them anymore - I do Ruby full-time now - but it's still hard to make such a big change without a little fear.
Getting these books out of my daily sight was one way for me to make my committment to Ruby more tangible than ever.
It's similar to how I feel when I refactor a big ugly function, or remove a lot of deadcode, and then I run the tests and they still pass - I feel so much better. So much better.
And now, here's the glorious picture of all that remains: books that represent my current career and interests:
(There's one cool book missing from this picture because I have the .pdf of it instead, and another life-changing book that's missing because the co-writer of this blog borrowed it about a year ago and still has yet to return it... but I digress...)
What books on your shelf today were once important but don't really represent your interests anymore? Or perhaps, what books have you acquired recently that you would recommend?