A benignly malicious list of books


In line with the good old context-driven tradition I’m presenting, in this blog post, a list of books. I decided to use the adjective ‘malicious’ to characterize this list. As far as I know there are no books in this list that have actually done harm. But I think the knowledge in these books may be used in a benignly malicious way. If software testing is about evaluating beliefs in software systems and if good software testing is relentless in exposing the value of those beliefs then we, as testers, had better be armed with the knowledge to dissect those beliefs, ruthlessly. And since we are not paid to expose only those things that make everybody happy, there is a certain malicious aspect in our craft.

So what I want is to be as ruthless as possible in my analysis. And in order to achieve that a certain amount of knowledge is neccessary. Also, to survive as a software tester, it may be neccessary to be five or twenty steps ahead when it comes to reasoning. This list is one of the ways to get closer to that goal.

I did not read all of these books. In fact, most of them are on my list of books that I want to read. Most of the titles are taken from philosophy and psychology. I also decided to leave out, as much as possible, books that are said to be life- or game-changing. In other words, I  want the straight stuff, from the source, not from the hype.

I think Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art should be a very promising read. Furthermore Feyerabend’s Against Method seems to be one of the founding documents of context-driven testing. More on that book in some future blog post.



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