Book reviews: The Bathtub Test

Posted on 11/16/2007 @ 2:29 PM in #Non Techie by | Feedback | 3062 views

I heard this from Chris Sells, but the test is so good in determining the worth of a book, that I am going to put it on my blog and use it over and over again.

I can sit with a book in my bathtub. Read it with great pleasure. But I cannot sit with a laptop in my bathtub, because I am afraid I'll drop the laptop and electrocute myself, or at the very least cause serious damage. A good book must pass the bathtub test. You should be able to learn a topic, comfortably, without having to pull out the laptop. It must leave no questions unanswered, nothing to be guessed. The logical order of content must be laid out in a manner that is comfortable to read and the reader can follow it very well.

Because, you'd rather not drop your laptop in the bathtub, but reading a book in the bathtub is a rather joyous experience.

This, my dear friends, is the bathtub test for a book.

Now I'll be using this blogpost in my book reviews over and over again.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..

On 11/19/2007 1:46:43 PM Peter {faa780ce-0f0a-4c28-81d2-3667b71287fd} said ..
I have yet to read a technical book that passes the bathtub test. More likely, they pass the "sleeping aid test", where after reading half a page (or less!) I fall asleep.

Every book on SharePoint ever released, 2003 or 2007, all pass the sleep aid test. I think it's too much to ask for a technical book to be a gripping Harry Potter pageturner. Does Harry die in the end?!? Does the page cache expire? DOES THE CACHE EXPIRE!?!

So readability is a definite plus, but you can't expect any technical book to score better than a C- in this area.

I say this holding an 1100+ page book on InfoPath. 1100 PLUS PAGES OF INFOPATH! INFOPATH!

On 11/19/2007 2:07:53 PM Sahil Malik said ..
Someone wrote an 1100 page infopath book? DANG!

Okay re: the bathtub test. Maybe not in it's entirety, but too many books don't even bother to try. Or they present the steps without the reasoning behind the steps, or they present code, before explanation.

I do feel that how most techie books are written, there is a serious room for improvement.