I also excluded all books that dealt with specific technologies, such as Java, .NET, Ruby, PHP, and BoogieWoogie 3.1. I was only interested in the potentially timeless software engineering classics. Technology books don’t fall into that category. And I did include books on project management (as project management is one of the competences in SWEBOK) but only when those books explicitly dealt with managing software development. (That’s why you won’t see any generic PMP-related stuff on the list.)
Finding the Books
To find all these potentially timeless classics, I checked the best-selling books in these five Amazon categories:
After I found all best-selling software engineering books, I subsequently found many other books through the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” cross-reference thingy. That’s how I finally ended up with a list of 250 books, and a headache the size of one of Jupiter’s moons.
Doing the Calculations
Then it was time to do the calculations. I checked the number of customer reviews on Amazon, and I ranked the books according to these numbers (= a measure of quantity). I also calculated the average Amazon ratings, and I ranked the books according to these ratings (= a measure of quality). I then checked the number of Google hits for each of the books, and I ranked them accordingly (= a measure of popularity). Finally, I took the three rankings, added extra points for all winners of Jolt awards, and then re-calculated it into a final ranking. This resulted in the list you now have before you.
I can guarantee that the system I used is scientifically incorrect and artistically atrocious! Nevertheless, the results are quite interesting, and I’m sure this list can be of great help if you want to broaden your knowledge of the field of software engineering, in all its exciting dimensions. I suggest you start with number 1, and then slowly work you way down. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of years.
Now, I’m sure you will understand that the creation of this list cost me many hours of work, some sleepless nights, and a couple of broken relationships. If you think the list is interesting, or even valuable, then I suggest you digg, stumble and bookmark the hell out of it! This is the first time I honestly think I deserve it. On the other hand, if you don’t like the outcome, and you’ve got something to complain about, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll do my best to think of some innovative ways of ignoring you.
Furthermore, if you want to receive a PDF MS Word version with the full Top 100 list, including ISBN-numbers, release dates, Amazon ratings and Jolt awards, then you can download it here.
Send me an email and simply ask for it. I like getting email. And it will help your request tremendously if you told me that you’ve subscribed to my blog/feed. And don’t you dare lying about it! I’ll be monitoring the feed statistics actively, so I know it when you people are playing me false.
(Oh, and please allow me at least 24 hours to reply to your mail. I might be trying to recover from the hours of sleep I lost…)
Thanks for your feedback, and happy reading!
UPDATE: This is an old post. The list will not be updated anymore.
Wait! Don't stop reading now. I have some more interesting lists for you: