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4/2/2015
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David Wagner
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10 Management Books Every CIO Should Read

On the rare occasions when you do have time to read, these hand-picked titles will give you a return on your investment.
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(Image: Celestine Chua via Flickr)

(Image: Celestine Chua via Flickr)

CIOs only have so much time in a day. You've got to keep the "lights on," as the saying goes, while also serving the business, hopefully transforming it when possible. CIOs also need to keep up with the latest technologies, the latest business news, the inner workings (and politics) of their own company, and, occasionally, even see family and friends.

So, when do you have time to read, and what should you read?

Fear not, we've got you covered. Throughout the year, we'll be assembling lists of books that you can count on being worth your time. Sometimes they'll be new. Sometimes they'll be classics you don't want to miss. Whenever they were written, you can count on the fact that our hand-picked titles will give you a return on your investment of time and money.

With this list, I've picked mostly classics. For the most part, they're what I'd call "new classics," books written in the last five years. CIOs, more than anyone else in the C-Suite, need to stay current. If you browsed the CIO literature from just a few short years ago, it would feature tips on running the data center with the fewest costs possible. The myth of IT as a cost sink is long gone, replaced by the need to transform the business. So some older classics, while great for the time, are dated.

When I do reach for older books, you can bet there's a reason. That's because they still deliver useful and thought-provoking content all these years later.

On the following pages you'll see my 10 favorite "classic" CIO books. Tell us which ones you like best in the comments section below. And let us know what you're reading right now.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/6/2015 | 6:03:09 PM
Re: The Phoenix Project rang true
@danielcawrey- Well, I'm of the general attitude that everybody is a startup these days the way things move. But I susppse if you work for the right kind of well-heeled, legacy-filled blue blood company, it might not apply. But i think at this point we're all gasping for time, money, creativity, etc just like a startup. And we all need new ideas fast.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/6/2015 | 6:00:48 PM
Re: Good to Great
@chris- I very seriously considered Good to Great, but I didn't for the simple reason that many of those "great" companies are now no longer great. I don't blame Collins for this. Leadership changes. The world changes. Etc. Collins actually recognized this when he wrote "How the Mighty Fall," 

But i just felt like while some of the lessons are still apropriate, some of the case studies are not (even with some of the updates of the later editions).

That said, I think i want to feature some Collins books in a future book list as I do believe he's quite good.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/6/2015 | 5:56:36 PM
Re: The Phoenix Project rang true
@whalton3031- Thanks for the endoresement. It is especially nice when a book helps us through the worst times. I think one of the hardest thing about writing management books is they often have to assume an ideal world. If you have time to do x,y, and z you will succeed. Sometimes, the crisis makes x, y, and z impossible. What then?
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2015 | 3:33:28 PM
Re: The Phoenix Project rang true
I have been wanting to read "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" for some time – just have not had time to read it! Since I work at a startup, it would probably make a lot of sense – and it seems as though it had more general practicality than I had previously thought if it is being recommended for CIOs too!
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
4/3/2015 | 12:16:26 PM
Re: The Phoenix Project rang true
Definitely agree that The Phoenix Project is well worth the time for any CIO or other IT leader struggling to deliver innovative solutions amidst peers who tend to do more damage than good.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
4/3/2015 | 9:41:39 AM
Good to Great
I would add Good to Great, as an unabashed Jim Collins fan. Clear-eyed perspective on the role of technology in company transformation -- its limits and its power.

And "The Goal." The Phoenix Project is something of tech-centric ode to The Goal, so that's on my to-read list. At last year's InformationWeek Conference ex-Netlfix cloud architect Adrian Cockcroft recommened Phoenix Project -- I'm overdue to get it read! 

 
whalton30301
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whalton30301,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2015 | 9:35:26 AM
The Phoenix Project rang true
In my experience there have been only a handful of managers who could make it in the scenario in that book.  The hero was very lucky to have a wise old guru in his corner.  In most cases, the upper management are just as overwhelmed as the rank and file employees.   Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, & George Spafford  showed they knew the issues in managing through a crisis.  It was a good book to give ideas for my own crisis points.
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