Retiring Technical Books


Having a 20 year old collection of technical books means that from time to time you need to clear out some of them to make space as the technology becomes either redundant, out of date, or simply unused.

Every time I have a clear out of my old tech books, there is a simple rule:

Buy books on a particular language or about development in general. Never, ever buy a book on a particular framework.

More recently, the new rule is:

Buy only ebook versions.

An iPad makes a pretty good reader for all epub and pdf formats.

Reference material for programming over 20+ years, has changed significantly. Pre-2000 the Internet wasn't particularly fast, available or friendly: Microsoft's docs were a mess, and adoption of IE6 lead to some really rather poor documentation websites. Stackoverflow didn't exist. Online C++ documentation didn't really exist. Now there is cppreference and ISO C++.

Which books are in the recycling bin?

  • Win32: Petzold.
  • Win2000: Richter.
  • All C# books.
  • All Java books.
  • Perl books.

Amongst the books staying are (a very short non-exhaustive list):