Popular books for testers

I love to read and I own many books on testing, software, management and other stuff that relates to my work.

But what should a tester read? On this blog I recommend several books in my great resources list. And what do other testers recommend? My curiosity kicked in and I sent out an email to my tester friends around the world.

Every year the Dutch association for software testers TestNet organizes two one-day conferences. This year TestNet has chosen context-driven testing as the theme for their autumn event in October (call for papers is here). To help the Dutch community evolve to learn, think and do more skilled testing I want to advocate some interesting books to the community. Here I need your help! Please send me your personal top 10 of best books testers should read. It can be any book, it doesn’t have to be a book on testing… I will collect the submissions and create a list of most popular books amongst testing professionals. Please send me your list of favourite books! Hope to hear from you soon.

testerbooksOne of the testers replied that he could not send a list. “What you should be reading depends on what you are ready to learn about next, and that varies from person to person”. And I agree with this statement. This list of books can be useful when used as a list to inspire. Another tester replied: “the reading that has been most helpful in my career has been centered around blogs and twitter far more than it has been around books”. For testers blogs you can check my colleagues list. Maybe creating a list of most popular testers blog will be my next project 😀

Anyway, this is the top 10 of most mentioned books:

  1. Lessons Learned in Software Testing – Cem Kaner, James Bach, Brett Petticord (31 votes)
  2. Perfect Software and other Illusions about Software Testing – Gerald M. Weinberg (19 votes)
  3. Agile Testing – Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory (14 votes)
  4. Thinking fast and slow – Daniel Kahneman (12 votes)
  5. How to Break Software – James A. Whittaker (11 votes)
  6. Tacit and Explicit Knowledge – Harry Collins (10 votes)
  7. Explore It! – Elisabeth Hendrickson (9 votes)
    Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar – James Bach (9 votes)
    A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design – Lee Copeland (9 votes)
  8. An introduction to general systems thinking – Gerald M Weinberg (6 votes)
    Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams – Timothy Lister & Tom DeMarco (6 votes)
    Quality Software Management Vol. 1 Systems Thinking – Gerald M. Weinberg (6 votes)
    Secrets of Consulting – Gerald M. Weinberg (6 votes)
    Testing Computer Software – Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, Hung Q. Nguyen (6 votes)
    The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (6 votes)

180 different books where mentioned by 43 participants. 15 (!) different books by Jerry Weinberg where mentioned. The full list of books can be found here. An overview of all participants and their personal lists can be found here.


  1. Geoffrey Barnes

    Hey ,

    Thanks for putting together this post popular books for testers .It is a great read. I particularly find your list of the top 10 most mentioned books
    Keep up these insightful posts.

  2. robertoh2

    Do you have electronic or hard copies of these books? Just wondering what your preference is.

  3. Types of Software Testing

    good job! really like your post ans also some new books a re waiting for me to read them :D..

  4. danashby04

    Thanks for the list of great books!!
    There are many in there that I haven’t even heard of which look good.

    I’m quite surprised that none of Ed De Bono’s books made it into the top 8 though…
    His “Lateral Thinking” books is an essential read for any tester!

  5. Petteri Lyytinen

    Excellent work there, mate! Gave me a couple new books to read. 🙂

  6. srinivas kadiyala

    In the list: It has been wriiten A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design – Lee Copeland (9 votes)

    But http://www.huibschoots.nl/downloads/Best%20Books%20for%20Testers.pdf
    shows only 7 votes for it.

  7. srinivas kadiyala

    Thanks for sharing the excellent resource.

  8. Ruma

    Could you suggest a good read on Performance Testing.
    I am already reading The Art of Application Testing.

  9. Mike Talks

    And these are just “testing” books. The thing about testing – as I believe James Bach alludes to – there are a lot of parallel fields which also support and develop strength which are useful to our development as testers.

    One such book that comes to mind is What Do You Care What Other People Thing by Richard Feynman which is an amazing voyage into a scientific critical thinking and how the Challenger disaster happened because people were complacent.

    Likewise Between Silk And Cyanide taught me a lot. It is the autobiography of an SOE cryptographer during WW2, who has constantly to educate his superiors on the risk of the coding and decoding they’re doing. His managers find his arguments abstract so rubbish him. So instead he needs to find ways to get his technical message over to them (and sometimes be down right subversive to serve a greater good).

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