'Buying Programming books are a bad way to learn' my housemates opinion, he did get a very good degree recently, but really?

My house mate told me it was a bad Idea buying programming books! he said the best way to learn is to write programs and take notes (but more to focus the brain) and check this...don't look at your notes to go over something again, re learn and make those brain pathways stronger.

Now I have doubts about this because the books seem really helpful and make things clearer (im looking to grasp why I keep getting race conditions updating the ui thread despite handlers in android)

I was tempted to buy an e reader and pirate everything but they are way to small.

I like to work from a book rather than another screen, I can focus better for some reason, plus some books are very good like Bjarnes principles and practice, nicely written and things are explained in depth, however my housemate says I can look online, apply it to my program and work out why it didnt work :/

for android this isnt working for me at the moment and im looking ot get books, he did back up his arguments for the brain learning with facts and links to real peer reviewed studies+ his good degree, however I dont like his argument.

I think books will make learning android easier but I lack a good self argument, he may be right, maybe the books wont tidy up the mess in my brain box, so I want to hear your arguments.

Last edited on
closed account (3qX21hU5)
He has a point but I think he might be taking it to the other extreme. I think somewhere in the middle is the best bet (IE Learning from books but also making sure you program as much as possible). If you just study books and rarely actually program anything you will know the language sure but you won't know "how" to program. And if you just try programming without having any guidance yes you probably will learn it soon or later but it will take most likely a considerable amount more time.

I do like his point of not looking at your notes every second to figure out how to do something though. Just like not looking at code examples online whenever you run into a program. This way you think it through yourself again which will help reinforce what you learned a second time.

But ultimately it is up to the individual to figure out what works best for them. Not everyone learns the same way. Some people learn better with hands on work like just diving in and programming, while some learn better from advice from others and mentoring and some learn better by book. There are many ways to learn so just pick whatever works best for you.
Last edited on
I will order the book, something better about the quality of writing in a recommended popular book written by a well funded company than a lot of the stuff on stack overflow,youtube or just sifting through answers and samey tutorials.

My house mate will use me not taking his advise against me some point in the future, must finf a good argument, thats the annoying thing about intelectuals, they cant help but always take you on intelectually, just started uni, better learn how to deal with it apporpriatley.
Last edited on
All that I have learned has been from books and from practicing, and from a few isolated articles on the internet.
So I disagree with your roommate. I mean, I'm certainly not the best programmer ever, but I'm definitely not shit at it either. You've seen me code devon, judge for yourself.

First post after a months hiatus. Uni is pretty rough this semester.


Zereo wrote:
I do like his point of not looking at your notes every second
I like this as well. I've been doing this for my electromagnetic physics class. Every time I forget a formula or something I try to derive it from the basics. It really help to solidify your understanding of everything.
Last edited on
Agreeing with Zero on this one, he has a point but he's taking it too far.

A somewhat poor analogy...

Which three of these methods do you think is the best way to learn Biology?

a.) Study constantly out of books.

b.) Make observations in the woods and talk to Biologists and view their work

c.) Consistently read books, make observations, perform experiments, discuss topics with other Biologists, view the work of others.

I find your friend would sort of follow answer "b.)" logic. Also brings up, which is better after "c.)", "a.)" or "b.)"? Personally in programming I'd say "b.)" period, but in some things it can depend on the person.
I'd say ignore your room mate. One thing that tells me he is just saying that because he likes to hear himself talk is the fact that he got a degree. If you believe books are useless then you usually wouldn't mess with college as they are academia based (books out the wazoo). Like the others said, he is partially right, but mostly wrong. Books are a great source of information, and cover things that are normally forgotten about in tutorials and articles written on the subject. After reading them they make for great references later. Also, with programming, in any language, it is better to read a detailed book, try their source code, tweak the code and get an understanding of what is going one, try writing your own code and simple idea, and finally, on a regular basis, just code tests to keep it fresh in your mind. The saying goes, "If you don't use it, you'll lose it."
Topic archived. No new replies allowed.