I was chatting to a friend about book recommendations. His strategy is to only take the recommendation for a book if it has been recommended to him at least three times. At which point he is pretty sure it will be fairly good.
He reads a lot more books than me as I tend to read more technical books. Recently for me I have not taken any book recommendations as a source to find books. If I am considering reading a book then I may ask around to see if others thought it was good.
We both have a fairly long list of books to read but I found the strategies we had arrived at quite interesting.
So what is a recommendation. At worst it is someone who really likes a book and just want to share this find with everyone. At best it is some taking a considered view on the book and guessing you will also enjoy the book, that is they are not recommending it to everyone. They have a model of your interests, a model that may or may not approximate reality.
This means if you take recommendations you are having what you learn biased by the friends you have. Perhaps everyone is recommending python books but you heart is not in python, but you keep trying them. Or maybe people keep recommending the Rust book, you try it and fall in love with the language. Is there a better way of finding books? Are your own bias’s better or worse than your friends. Should I just browse Amazon to find books. Perhaps just give up and watch YouTube?
Seriously I don’t have an answers there. I allow recommendations to sway decisions which I think is sensible but am keenly aware that friends persons goals or desires in life do not precisely match my own. Of course at the moment I have too many books on my list so will be avoid adding any more for a little while.
You can stop reading now:
Next is a really meandering bit of text as I try to work things out.
Procrastination over the past few days made me realise I haven’t quite set up a series of goals that align with where I want to go. Mostly because I have not decided where I want to go. Decisions are hard which is why I have given myself July to figure it out and accept some false starts.
This did give me insight to what book recommendations are in terms of models your friends have about you. So it is tangentially related to the first topic of this post.
I know I desire to build things and really like learning. That’s not enough to have direction.
What I know I want to do:
- Broaden my programming knowledge. I am currently think diving into AI/Machine learning. A secondary goal is end up with a process that I can use for exploratory programming.
- Explore the Raspberry Pi, that is the sensor side of it. Do some small hardware projects.
- Improve my maths skill, really to power the other things I want to do.
- Design a few games. That is explore the design side rather than the tech side.
- Low level game/graphics. Perhaps write a simple engine.
- Enjoy tech with an active blog and some streaming!
Not that is a lot but I am not starting from scratch on all of it. I used to be a Game Developer who spent a fair amount of time with Game Designers and prior to that I studied Physics giving me a reasonable back ground in maths.
Probably the most alien to me is the Raspberry Pi side of it.
Having said that I may drop some of these as time goes on, particularly if I find I have a project I want to progress on. But for the next 6 months this set of things constrains my learning.
I know I have not been producing much in my spare time the past few years and my goal is to change that. Part of the reason I set up this blog was to motivate myself. I really don’t mind if no one reads this. Motivation and encouraging myself to think deeply about things is reward enough.
The game development is somewhere where I just can’t quite get the right project. I think I aim for games to simple that I loose interest. I also think that I conflate my desire to delve deeper into the lower level code with the game design. Perhaps I should be practising the game design in a high level language to avoid distractions? Although I think I need to get better at picking the games to make, so they fit more closely with my own tastes. After all I am not looking to make money from this.
So in summary. Struggling with the Game design portion which seems to be causing procrastination. I need to sit and think through what is causing this “writers block”. If I can’t push through it perhaps I should drop it for this 6 month block. I certainly should not let my desire to play with lower level tech interfere with this goal.
Enough from me. I seem to be in a writing mood so could probably ramble for a few more hours.