I would like to ask a question about setting up a library of book resources for a team. I have looked at the questions on prog.se and on so and they are all about individual books recommendations, not about what would be useful as a combined resource. I would really appreciate an answer on what books should be in a dev team library (I would want it to be platform / language agnostic) but I am not sure if it would be able to be phrased in such a way that would fit with the faq guidelines and be beneficial to the community. Any input on:

1) How that question should be phrased to get sensible, valuable responses

2) Whether that question is valid for prog.se

Would be appreciated.

  • 2
    I'm not sure I understand how your question is different from existing book recommendation questions. Would taking answers from those and buying those books for your library work?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Mar 2, 2011 at 15:28
  • I think the point I am making is that the current lists of books are very binary, this book or that book. What I am looking for is to compile something more like a reading list with books from novice to advanced topics across the dev project lifecycle. I would also want to consider books that are perhaps quite niche and would not be the "best" on anyone topic but are a good comparison book or reader. However, having thought more on this I am really not sure how it could be achieved through a stack exchange question so I think I will leave it to my own research.
    – AlexC
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Your best bet when asking a question about resources like books or libraries is to ask how to solve the problem yourself:

  • How can I select the best books for X?
  • What should I keep in mind when building a library for Y?

Asking for a list of books isn't learning. The next time someone has that question, but with a slightly different set of circumstances, they're going to ask the same question but with a new qualifier. That's not really constructive.

But if you ask how to find the types of books you're looking for, others can apply the advice given to you to their own situation and get what they need even though they don't have the exact same situation as you.

For more information, check out Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping!, which describes this problem in detail:

If I had to summarize our network in a single word, that word is “learning”. People come to our sites to learn about topics they are passionate about. As the old Chinese proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Every question and answer ultimately should be about teaching and learning — yes, even the shopping ones.

To this end, we've been taking care of the book recommendation questions, as they aren't in keeping with the spirit of this site.


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