Arduino book recommendation

This isn't exactly a shopping question, but it certainly has its share of problems.

  1. It will generate a list of responses, rather than one correct answer.
  2. Answers will be rated subjectively, rather than by objective criteria.
  3. It will require maintenance as new revisions are published

As such, it seems like a perfect question for the "Not Constructive" criteria:

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

To further reinforce the problem, it's disallowed by the FAQ:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site

The Meta.Stackoverflow.com question Are recommendation questions acceptable kinds of Lists or just plain Lists that we need to close? and the Programmers.Stackexchange question Are book recommendations on-topic? offer a similar perspective and additional reasons.

However, the linked question has an upvote and two answers. There are also other equally or more successful questions, as evidenced in this search. Why should these questions be allowed, or, more to the point, why shouldn't past, present, and future questions like this one be closed?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Point #1 isn't really legitimate, as most engineering design questions don't have "one correct answer" but instead an assortment of answers with different tradeoffs - the one that's best for the needs of the person posting the question may not even be the one that is best in the majority of similar situations. Which brings us to point #2 - objectivity is subjective to the unique application and preferences of the engineer making a design decision. And #3 - new technologies get released too, almost anything about a specific microcontroller for example can suffer similar obsolescence. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3, 2011 at 5:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like Chris's comments and agree with his arguments. I think that the book questions are OK, and can be very helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tevo D
    Dec 3, 2011 at 15:00

4 Answers 4


Based on this query, they are a good fit on this site.


  • questions and answers with multiple upvotes
  • not a large amount of chattiness
  • few or none "is so / is not" exchanges

Relatively speaking, there are far fewer electronics books than computer books, and the fundamental knowledge base of electronics changes far less rapidly than in the computer field.

Personally, I'm pleased that I learned about The Art of Electronics from this question. Steering beginners (such as myself) towards this kind of solid, well-written material is an excellent accomplishment.

Basic Electronics Book

So I would say that based on current usage, book recommendations help fulfill the educational goals of this site and should be allowed or encouraged. Of course, if in future it is observed that book recommendations are causing a problem, I would be happy to revise my opinion on this.


I know that we are independent, but the this question has already been given a lot of thought. In addition to the OPs links see:

How to request book recommendations

Exceptional cases for list questions

and at least one Literature SE user had some sense that book recommendations killed their site:

book recomendations being on-topic, and the corresponding lack of relevancy those questions had to other people, which didn't help this site.*

*From their 052012 data dump.

I looked up this question based on Good book for PIC 18F beginner? which I see as being too subjective as right off I want to know: How does the OP define Beginner? Is the OP looking for projects? The OP then expands to cover C and Compiler programming, which personally I feel are not only not beginner topics, but also additional questions. Not to mention the other issues I brought up in my answer to the first meta question.


I don't have a problem with book recommendation questions. And from what I've seen of quite a few other sites in the stack-exchange network, they're usually allowed and are often quite useful.

Yes, there's an element of subjectivity there, but per the comments above, that is arguably true of almost anything in this field. I personally think the value that a good book recommendation adds more than outweighs whatever negatives one can associate with that degree of subjectivity.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you name any of these sites with a policy to allow book recommendations? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2011 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope... I have no idea if any of them make it official "policy" or not, nor do I care in the slightest. I just know that I see book threads on other SE sites as I browse them, and the ones I've seen have been well received from what I've seen. \$\endgroup\$
    – mindcrime
    Dec 4, 2011 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ And the time we waste here worrying about "policy" is time that should be spent doing something more productive. All this navel-gazing isn't helping anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – mindcrime
    Dec 4, 2011 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mindcrime by spending some time on policy now, it will prevent the same fights coming up over and over again, and then wasting even more time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Dec 12, 2011 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kellenjb - you can avoid both the "policy" issue and the "fights" by simply ignoring edge-case questions you don't feel like answering. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2011 at 20:49

My personal reaction to many of the book recommendation requests is that an actual bound, printed book would not be my first choice of reference material for that subject.

As a result, I think there is often benefit to accepting these questions, so that alternative references which may be more easily obtained and current can be cited.


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