Top Techies Share Their Summer Reading Lists

Ashok Rout

IT manager
Social Interest Solutions Inc., Sacramento, Calif.

Vacation plans: My son wants to go to San Diego and Los Angeles during his summer vacation, so we'll do that.

Reading wish list: Apart from my regular technology magazines and books, I am planning to read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I read portions of Pausch's lecture at Carnegie Mellon on the Web and was really inspired by some of his views on how life is a race against time and how one should manage it to make the best out of it.

Being part of company that implements solutions to give people who are less fortunate in life access to the benefits that they deserve, my job almost always is a race against time. So I strongly believe I can find a lot of relevance in this book and can learn a lot from it.

Text-delivery medium of choice: Although I use my iPhone to read various stuff, I was not able to get an electronic version of this book, so I'll read the paperback.

Book you'd most recommend to IT colleagues: Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal. This is a book that presents success stories of 20 entrepreneurs who had no formal MBA degrees and didn't hail from successful business families but defied all odds to become some of the most successful entrepreneurs. There is a lot to learn for IT people from this book, because technology would not have been where it stands today if innovators like the people profiled didn't dare to try to bridge the gap between vision and reality. This is what every person in IT needs to do.

More techie reads

The Society for Information Management's Regional Leadership Forum (RLF) puts out a list of required reading for its participants every year. The goal, says RLF director Bob Rouse, is to inspire more book reading.

"It's not that [members] aren't reading, it's that they're not reading very diversely, so we want to encourage that," he says. "We're trying to get people to become readers."

The RLF list includes 35 books, mostly nonfiction works focused on management, leadership and technology. Rouse notes, however, that there are some fiction pieces in there too. "We throw in some novels just to break up the pace, which is something that [most participants] aren't used to," he says.

Whether fiction or non, Rouse says the selected books are chosen to impart management and business lessons as well as encourage readers to take a wider view of their work and the world.

Here's RLF's current reading list:

  • Brain Rules by John Medina
  • Creating the Good Life by James O'Toole
  • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler and Stephen R. Covey
  • The Extreme Future by James Canton
  • First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  • Gandhi (the movie)
  • The Heart Aroused (CD) by David Whyte
  • Heart of Change by John P. Kotter
  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
  • Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson
  • Leadership Is an Art by Max DePree
  • The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem and Warren Bennis
  • Leadership Passages by David L. Dotlich, James L. Noel and Norman Walker
  • A Leader's Legacy by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Managing Transitions by William Bridges and Susan Bridges
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Nibble Theory by Kaleel Jamison
  • Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon Mackenzie
  • Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • Penguin State-of-the-World Atlas by Dan Smith
  • The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
  • The Prince by Machiavelli
  • Speed Lead by Kevan Hall
  • Synchronicity by Joseph Jarowski
  • The Theft of the Spirit by Carl A. Hammerschlag
  • True North by Bill George
  • Two Old Women by Velma Wallis
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  • The Zen of Listening by Rebecca Z. Shafir

Mary K. Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at marykpratt@verizon.net.

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