11 Books To Help CIOs Become Better Leaders


CIOs are expected to be experts in tech as well as business while leading diverse and complicated intiatives and teams. But they don't have to go it alone. Here are 11 books to help CIOs -- and aspiring CIOs -- get better at many of the critical facets of their complex jobs.

Books are so old-school. Coming in at many more than 140 characters, they're tough to read in 30-second bursts. On the other hand, going old-school can have some real benefits -- benefits like being able to take advantage of wisdom gained through other executives' mistakes.

Reading a book, whether it's in paper or on an electronic device, is a great way to pick up information at your pace and the asynchronous nature of reading means that you can stop, ponder, make notes, digest information, or discuss ideas with colleagues without having to re-wind, re-load, or re-acquire contents.

CIOs are hybrid executives, required to have expertise in both business and technology. And so the books on this list span subjects that CIOs need to master. There are books on leadership, organizational structure, innovation, and a couple that are just about being a better person who happens to be an executive.

[See 10 Big Data Books To Boost Your Career.]

Now, it's important to note that this is my list. I've been reading books on management and technology for more than three decades and I've seen a lot of management fads come and go. Over the years I've talked to a lot of CIOs and managed a lot of people, and the books on this list are some that I rather wish had been available to me much earlier in my career. Beyond that, though, they're books that I have either read or are on my reading list now because I don't think any executive can afford to stop learning.

When it comes to how the books were chosen, it involved talking to people, asking questions on social media, scanning reviews, and searching to see if there were books that had been recommended by a lot of CIOs. I combined all of the books (which resulted in a list much longer than this one), then winnowed them down to 11 that I think will have a great impact on the CIOs and prospective CIOs who take the time to read them.

I recently wrote an article on books for programmers. There was some great discussion around the list and I learned a lot from the points made by readers. I'd love to hear what you think about these choices. Have you read any of them? Do you agree that they should be on the list? Is there a book that has had a profound influence on you from a management, leadership, or innovation point of view? It would be great to hear what you're reading -- and have read in the past -- that should be part of the CIO bookshelf.

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