We should all read more books. Even the people that read too much should read more books. In our modern era, reading books has become an ancient art almost. I'm talking about a solid paper or hardcover physical book; not an eBook or an Audiobook, paper you can grasp with your hands. As I near the end of my first book of the year - one of my two books slated for the year - I begin to reflect on how it has helped me in both every day life and as a developer.
Firstly, and most obviously reading is a form of entertainment and gets you away from those devices. I am not talking about novels specifically. Pick up something you have never tried reading before maybe a magazine, manga or graphic novel. Grab a cutaway book, learn how things work. Remember, you are reading here for stress relief, pick up something that entertains you. Personally, I read mostly non-fiction or reference. I like to learn about "Do It Yourself", Survival and Homesteading. Not only am I entertaining myself I am gaining useful knowledge outside of the virtual world.
The point I am trying to make here is that reading can help clear your mind. As a developer, you will get stuck. You will sit there and stare at the exact same line endlessly. You will have to walk away. Grab a book, find a comfy spot and settle in.
Improves Communication Skills
Reading isn't the first choice for improving communication skills, practising is. Reading can be used to supplement practising. Reading can increase your vocabulary, improve your sentence structure, provides you with assertive phrasing and audience sensitive ways of delivering a message.
As a developer, you will work with a variety of people depending on your level in the organization and your specific role. If you deal with people, communication skills will help. Better communication skills with make you an easier person to work with; obviously taking personality traits aside. If you are in a lead or senior developer role the way you communicate is vital to relaying the tasks and objectives of the team.
People write things down in order to remember processes. They create instructions to follow. Books are (I am guessing) the oldest form of assistance to education. You learn from the history and work of other people. You gather this knowledge and use it as your own. Simple concepts.
There are books about programming in all forms. There are books on design, development cycles, straight up languages, game development, UI development, heck there are even books on game UI development! I even bought a book on hosting LAN parties for $2 (It was clearance at the College library; I couldn't resist). Books can help teach you the fundamentals as a developer, just be aware of how dated the book is as technology is changing all the time.
You do not have to recreate the wheel, however, you can make the wheel damn cool! Developers require creativity in their problem solving skills. As stated early, you will hit a wall. You will have to find a way to go over it, under it or right through it.
It is weird to describe, there are numerous times I have been reading and just had the "light bulb" turn on. This is where I find reading fictional stories helpful. Myself, I enjoy the Ender's Game series and the Walking Dead graphic novels. There is something about reading these characters progress through their own problems - even fake - that help me get through mine. The outside the box thinking in stories, in my opinion, can translate into a realistic solution to a real problem.
These are very simple benefits to reading. These are essentials; not only to your career, but to your life. Read more books.
Thank you for reading.