+John Cook has a short blog post — more of an extended citation, really — about why technical books still matter when we have all the information at our fingertips already.

In short, books tell you a story about the stuff. If you want to learn, say, Android programming, then the web will give you lots of documentation on the APIs and tools (the docs at the official site are really excellent). But they don't really tell you how they fit together in the context of actually designing, writing and publishing an Android application.

A good book, such as +Reto Meier's book* on Android application development, will take you along to create the story about how you learned Android development. It'll help you understand not only why you should care about any particular thing, but the structure of the book itself tells you when you should care.

It's really the same thing with manuals in general. The difference between a really good product manual and a bad one is often subtle, and more often than not it boils down to whether it is just a pile of facts or whether it tells you the story about how you use the product.


* Why can't we have named links inline here? http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTitle/Professional-Android-4-Application-Development.productCd-1118223853.html
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