What books are people reading that you would recommend.

I've just finished up "Beautiful Testing" (which I would highly recommend) and need to pick up another book.

I'm looking for something fairly current. The content should be somewhat generic to testing. I don't want a "how to" on scripting or coding or a particular tool. I've read the James Whittaker "How To...." books, so unless he has a new one out I'm unaware of I've read those all. If it were inexpensive, or available used on Amazon all the better.

So what do folks suggest?

  • 10
    Can this be community wiki - there's no "right" answer for this question.
    – Alan
    Jun 6, 2011 at 13:55
  • Agreed. There is no real straight good answer for this.
    – Hannibal
    Jun 6, 2011 at 14:01
  • when you say fairly current, I think anything in the last 10 years will be good. Still be careful to eliminate Classics (such as "Software Testing Techniques" by Boris Beizer) that will be much older and contain very valuable information in that they layout foundational principles that we are still using today. Jun 6, 2011 at 15:00
  • @John. I agree there are some very good classics out there, but unfortunately for my certification anything too old I'm not able to count towards my annual hours. So I lean towards newer books.
    – CKlein
    Jun 7, 2011 at 12:36
  • 2
    Not sure if you count it as a "How To..." book, but Whittaker does have "Exploratory Software Testing" out which might not be one you've read. I think it might be a year or two old, and I just picked up a copy this weekend, so haven't read it and can't recommend it or not recommend it yet, but thought it worth mentioning. Jun 7, 2011 at 22:52

11 Answers 11


Lessons Learned In Software Testing - Cem Kaner, James Bach, Bret Pettichord.

293 short lessons on various aspects of software testing, you're bound to find something useful in it.

  • I second this recommendation. Jun 6, 2011 at 20:50
  • Great recommendation. The short lesson format is fantastic for reading in sessions.
    – maznika
    Mar 31, 2012 at 1:08

"Perfect Software and other illusions about testing" by Gerald Weinberg should be on your "to read" list.

Here's an interesting example that will give you a flavor of the book.

In chapter 3 "Why Not Just Test Everything?", Weinberg has a section called "There are an infinite number of possible tests." He talks about a backdoor placed into a highly secure program whereby the ordinary password protection could be bypassed by typing W followed by three spaces, then M followed by three spaces, then J followed by exactly 168 more keystrokes without once using the letter L. Then he writes:

"Do you get the point by now? If you didn't guess that the number of tests required to exhaustively test software is infinite, or at least "a number greater than I could run in my lifetime", you didn't understand the point of this chapter. Now you do."

If you are looking for a "how to" book, you should look elsewhere. If you are looking for a "why" (and sometimes "why not") book, this might be for you.

Another really good one is "How We Test Software at Microsoft" by Alan Page, Ken Johnston, and Bj Rollison.

The excellent explanations of Equivalence Class Partitioning and Boundary Value Analysis are among the best I have ever read.


One book that I would recommend is Debugging by Thinking by Robert Charles Metzger

This is a very unique book in that it approaches how to do testing the way Sherlock Holmes and other fictional detectives might have done it, looking at logic, psychology, engineering, etc.

The book is pretty comprehensive and would be useful for a wide range of engineers both SW quality and SW developers.

Good luck, hoping this question get a lot of answers

PS. I know that "Testing" (Debugging) and "Quality Assurance" are not the same. But good testing skills are paramount to becoming a great SW Quality Engineer!


A number of expert testers like James Bach have put their bookshelves online and I talked about them here: https://sqa.stackexchange.com/a/2685/1455.

Basically what I said was software testing expert James Bach has a growing list of books on his Tester's Bookshelf that are worth looking at: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/satisfice/testersbookshelf

James Whittaker has a new book coming out How Google Tests Software but that won't be available for another month or so.

I'm in the middle of reading a few books: Amplifying your Effectiveness by Gerald Weinberg, James Bach, Naomi Karten and An Introduction to General Systems Thinking by Gerald Weinberg. Looks like as of 3/8/12 the Kindle version of Introduction to General Systems Thinking is less than $4.

  • wondering how valid Whittakers book will be seeing as he's now left Google... Mar 8, 2012 at 20:55
  • 1
    I think a more accurate question is how long the book will be valid now that he's left..? Mar 8, 2012 at 23:54

Try this one Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams by Lisa Crispan

  • 3
    perhaps you could elaborate more on this. What makes it a good book, what did you like about it, etc. Typically I would expect a recommendation to include more than just a title and author.
    – corsiKa
    Apr 17, 2012 at 18:06

Others have already listed many books that I would have listed. To add some more recent books that I have liked:

Specification by example: How successful teams deliver the right software by Gojko Adzic
This book introduces one way for specifying a product and making sure that the intended product was actually built. Many of the ideas are usable in any environment and will make communication between team members better.

Security and usability by Lorrie Faith Cranor and Simson Garfinkel
I have not finished this book yet, but it is an interesting take on how to think of combining usability and security which are often seen as opposites of each other.

From more classical books I could still mention
Testing Computer Software by Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, and Hung Quoc Nguyen.
This is a good book for learning all the basics of testing.


Already mentioned Lessons Learned In Software Testing plus two relatively new ones: How Google Tests Software and Exploratory Software Testing: Tips, Tricks, Tours, and Techniques to Guide Test Design by James A. Whittaker

  • Could you comment on what you have found particularly useful or interesting in the latter two books?
    – dzieciou
    Apr 18, 2012 at 22:56

Any book is a good book if you can apply it to QA and testing. It depends on if you're trying to be a better tester, or trying to understand the domain language better, or you want a new perspective on problems, or you're trying to get a certification.

I recently wrote about the board game Zendo being great for understanding elements of exploratory testing. I believe James Bach reads anything BUT testing books! (Great talk by him on the subject of what to read, amongst other things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKFqwKSon-E)

Saying that I won a copy of How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing that I particularly enjoyed. A collection of various long articles on how to reduce "costs", with many different authors and many different perspectives on reducing cost, what "cost" means, and even if we should be focusing on reducing cost. I like books that inspire me to a way of thinking, and this had many ways of thinking to be inspired to.

  • While I'm at it I recommend online blogs and lectures on the subject. Mainly because they are fantastic and free.
    – kinofrost
    May 1, 2012 at 11:09

Selenium 2 Testing Tools: Beginner’s Guide


Testing web applications using Selenium is made simple with this tutorial. Written for those

with no prior experience, it helps you learn through practical exercises and code samples.

The perfect entry point to Selenium 2.

About This Book

Automate web browsers with Selenium WebDriver to test web applications Set up Java Environment for using Selenium WebDriver Learn good design patterns for testing web applications

Who This Book Is For

If you are a Software Quality Assurance professional, Software Project Manager, or a Software

Developer interested in automated testing using Selenium, this book is for you. Web-based

application developers will also benefit from this book.

What You Will Learn

Learn the basics of breaking down a web application for testing Understand AJAX calls and how they work with your tests Create basic scripts that allow you to recreate issues quickly Set up Firefox Driver, Firefox profiles, and extensions Get your tests working on mobile devices Migrate your tests from Selenium RC to Selenium WebDriver Handle tests quicker by running them in parallel and reduce build time

Head First Java, Second Edition


Head First Java delivers a highly interactive, multisensory learning experience that lets new

programmers pick up the fundamentals of the Java language quickly. Through mind-stretching

exercises, memorable analogies, humorous pictures, and casual language, Head First Java

encourages readers to think like a Java programmer. This revised second edition focuses on

Java 5.0, the latest version of the Java development platform.


Effective Unit Testing by Lasse Koskela

It's not really generic as some already mentioned books. The subtitle of the book is "A guide for Java developers" and all the examples are written in JUnit.

Nevertheless, the major part of the book is it's Catalog of "test smells". There we get nice list of usual mistakes/bad practices (and advices on how to avoid them) that are often encountered in unit testing in general.

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