There are a lot of questions about what programming books should be on the programmer's bookshelf. How about non-programming related books that can help you become a better programmer or developer? It would also be interesting to know why they would help.

My first choice would be Sun Tzu's "Art of War" (however cliché), because it made it obvious that the success of any project depends on the strength of its weakest link (and warfare is a big project).

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  • Joel Spolsky recommends a creative writing and economics courses for students. The reasoning being that it helps you communicate better (expressing ideas, writing docs) and understand the business behind the software you write. Maybe a book on each of those topics would be a good idea if you haven't taken these courses at university. – Keyo Jan 6 '11 at 21:38
  • Does the [closed] mean that I have to save away this thread before it is removed, or will it stay here in a [closed] state? I really find this thread useful even if it does not meet all the quality standards of the (less formal than SO) programmers Q&A site. – FeatureCreep Oct 6 '11 at 12:56

34 Answers 34


Dan Millman's "Everyday Enlightenment". A self-help book, whose title is far more esoteric than the advice it actually gives. It is clearly written and structured, encouraging, and actually helpful.


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Conceptual Blockbusting by James L. Adams

A good book concerning problem solving.

  • Code complete

  • The Pragmatic Programmer

  • 13
    This are both programming books. – HerbN Sep 26 '10 at 5:55

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