The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce
What is on your bookshelf? I have worked a few places that have well stocked bookshelves. In IT information changes quickly, but I still think it is important to have some good references. We can Google a lot of information very quickly and that is art in its self. I think that getting a basic grasp is very important and books are very helpful in that matter. I have worked with people in IT that believe books are no longer needed, “we can find it all on the internet.” When I recently started at Zirous I noticed they had a fully stocked bookshelf. I have also noticed how many developers have multiple books on their desks. It is great that people take their craft seriously and try to improve on their current skills.
Books are just one way to learn information. We can learn a lot of different ways. Some learn by reading, some by doing, others figure things out. I like to learn by all three methods as well as talk to experts if you can. If I just read passively I don’t retain as much. I like to read with a highlighter and note-cards, scribbling down any information that I find helpful. The best thing to do is to learn how you best consume new information.
Next time you go to a business, look around and see what ways they have to learn new information? Books are one of many ways. They may have a virtual bookshelf like a subscription to O’reilly books. Posters of a process also may convey information to new members of the group.