Recommend books for IT execs?
June 6, 2008 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any good book recommendations for IT executives?

So, I'm a journalist. I've been asked to compile a list of recommended reads for IT executives. In an effort to make my list suck a bit less, I thought I'd consult with MeFi.

I'm looking for books that are both thinky and timely (Nick Carr's The Big Switch, say), as well as the timeless-classic type. If you had to stick a good book in front of an exec, what would it be?
posted by bicyclefish to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Too easy, perhaps, but: The Mythical Man-Month.
posted by enn at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's a little hard to know what you mean by "IT." Some take it to means support activities limited to business. Others mean developers, support personnel, literally anyone who works with Information Technology of any kind.

I am currently reading Dreaming in Code which chronicles the development of an open-source project. It segues often and successfully into management, resource scheduling, and other matters that affect I.T. projects. It would be a good choice, I think.
posted by tcv at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2008

I dug up some decent booklists from notable development-oriented bloggers. I would start with the ones that are common to all. My personal recommendations for management/executive types especially are Peopleware and The Mythical Man-Month. Important but far more technical is Code Complete.

Steve Yegge
Jeff Atwood
Joel Spolsky
Eric Sink
posted by cCranium at 12:15 PM on June 6, 2008

Please DON'T do "Direct From Dell." Awful, awfully boring book, and I'm pretty sure they use the audiobook (narrated by Michael Dell) to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
posted by SlyBevel at 12:33 PM on June 6, 2008

If you want to keep up on the latest news on IT, products, software reviews, practices etc then InfoWorld is a must read. If you sign up, they will deliver it to your email box weekly.
posted by JackFlash at 3:04 PM on June 6, 2008

Your original post doesn't explicitly say "non-fiction" --my first thought was Cryptonomicon, a 1999 novel by Neal Stephenson. Also, Bruce Sterling's 1996 Holy Fire was great.

In the classic tech-biz non-fiction arena, I'd suggest Tracy Kidder's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Soul of a New Machine, from 1981.

Tom Wolfe's 1979 book The Right Stuff is much better than the movie.
posted by markhu at 6:39 PM on June 6, 2008

Edward Yourdon's indispensable Death March.
posted by nicwolff at 9:27 PM on June 6, 2008

Ellen Ullman has a couple of excellent books out.
posted by paulsc at 10:29 AM on June 7, 2008

Dress up your article by mentioning some authoritative cartoons: here's Strong Bad on IT and Business Trips.
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 PM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

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