The magic of books

What is it about books? They still hold a place of magic in our society and to me.

I have had a few opportunities to write a book or two now, at least the offer to begin writing one or talk about writing one. I have passed on all of them so far. Not because I don’t want to. I actually would quite enjoy it. However, talking to all the people I know who have written (technical) books have told me two things:

  1. It’s really really really hard
  2. It’s really worth it.

How am I supposed to process that? I suppose it’s much like asking someone whether their time in the military was worthwhile. They became a stronger person because of it and opportunities may have emerged because of their new credentials. But it probably wasn’t fun every single day and it wasn’t a quick process. I suppose when you really step back and look at it, the same is true for anything worth having.


The last time I met with someone to discuss a possible book, I couldn’t help laugh and think about the fact that it’s 2014 and “everything” is digital and we were talking about a book. A set of ideas captured statically and printed on paper not to be updated for a few months or whenever the information was needed to be updated. Hell, this blog gets updated more often than that sometimes (and that’s not saying much).

Still. Can’t say I haven’t thought about it a bunch. It got me to post again.

By Chris Gammell

Chris Gammell is an engineer who talks more than most other engineers. He also writes, makes videos and a couple podcasts. While analog electronics happen to be his primary interests, he also dablles in FPGAs and system level design.

6 replies on “The magic of books”

There’s still something special about reading an actual book. The look, feel, smell, sound all contribute to the overall experience not too mention the sense of victory one feels getting to the end of a really long one. A tech book on the other hand is probably nearing obsolescence before it hits print so write fast.

‘the Art of Electronics’ – Horowitz & Hill – the only pool-side reading this coming Summer : ) – Btw – love the ‘Amp Hour’ -the empathy between you & Dave really comes across – I look fwd to every episode – hey! – keep em’ comin’ : )

I love books and like Aaron said, the feel, the sell, etc. For practicality, I’ve switched to my iPad mini for all books. This way, I always have them with me (or on my phone). I can reach out during lunch a re-read a chapter that was interesting.

As far a writing one. I understand that it is quite the undertaking. I was asked a few times as well, but just couldn’t commit to it at that time.

Keep us posted…

Nice to read your thoughts about book writing! Indeed it is hard, it is like getting to depths of creative endeavours. While it might be easy to find words to express something, it is really hard to find the “right” words. And, then, you find out you don’t really express what you meant. But this kind of distilling thoughts is a cool experience. I am currently working on my second book (see ). Writing is really a kind of strange hobby, like others collect stamps.I try to collect words, phrases, ideas and concepts. Sometimes the feeling of controlling the mind of others is also interesting: – but it is not my motivation I would say. Among other things, I need a reason to play with electronic parts in my free tiem.

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