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3/9/2016
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Michelle Maisto
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9 Books Every IT Leader Needs To Read 

Reading sharpens our reasoning, reduces stress, advances our careers and, when done deeply and broadly, is a key habit of successful leaders.
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(Image: Warchi/iStockphoto)

(Image: Warchi/iStockphoto)

Elon Musk, a voracious reader, has no formal education in aerospace and automotive engineering. He read his way into his expertise. Warren Buffett, one of the world's most influential business people, estimates that he spends 80% of his time "reading and thinking."

Reading is a favored pastime of some of the world's greatest thinkers and leaders, for a number of excellent reasons. It's also been shown to improve both emotional intelligence and abstract reasoning skills.

It's even physically good for us. Reading has been linked to preventing Alzheimer's. A mere six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress levels by 68%, according to research by the Mindlab International at the University of Sussex. It also works more quickly than do other recommended stress relievers such as walking.

Reading is also good for professional advancement. There's a strong correlation between learning and sustained employment -- and reading is frequently linked to positive leadership.

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"Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy and personal effectiveness," John Coleman, author of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders, wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

Coleman also noted that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books a week, that Winston Churchill won a Nobel Prize in Literature (not Peace), and that leaders who read across various fields are "more likely to innovate and prosper."

Steve Jobs is a perfect example of the latter idea. His decision to learn calligraphy is credited for making Mac the first computer with beautiful typography options. He famously liked to say that Apple exists at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.

Career coach Joyce E.A. Russell has remarked that none of us can afford to remain stagnant in our knowledge. We need to keep inspired and excited, up to date on our areas of expertise, considering the problem solving that's taking place in other industries and unrelated areas, and growing emotionally, verbally, and intellectually.

It's within this framework that we've selected the titles here. These books were chosen based on their relevance to IT leaders or their focus on enhancing leadership skills and, in some cases, both.

Once you've reviewed our recommended reading list, let us know if you've read any of these titles. Do you have a favorite book that you feel has helped your career? Are any of these going to be on your list of priority reading? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Michelle Maisto is a writer, a reader, a plotter, a cook, and a thinker whose career has revolved around food and technology. She has been, among other things, the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise Magazine, a reporter on consumer mobile products and wireless networks for ... View Full Bio

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