What CIOs Are Reading This Summer

What CIOs Are Reading This Summer

If you’re looking for something entertaining and thought provoking to read, there’s no need to look any further. We’ve compiled the ultimate CIO summer reading list for you.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps and Having Your Business Win

By Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford 
  • In a nutshell: This fictional work tells the story of how Bill Palmer, director of midrange technology operations at Parts Unlimited used DevOps to turn around a troubled IT project and deliver it on time. This book has relevance beyond the realm of IT and application development. The principles put forth can be employed in any realm of management to increase efficiencies and bring order to chaos. Some executives here at Masergy view it as their bible.
  • Why IT people will like it: The novel, told in the first person by Bill himself, introduces a business philosophy known as The Three Ways. Along the way, Bill also explains why IT is more like manufacturing than many might think.
  • Snippet: “I hate vague requests to meet. I only do that when I’m trying to schedule a time to chew someone out.”
  • Easter egg: Two of the book’s co-authors have day jobs as corporate CTOs.

Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think

By Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler 
  • In a nutshell: The authors of this New York Times bestseller predict that advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, digital manufacturing, synthetic biology and other exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous 200 years.
  • Why IT people will like it: The concept of “technophilanthropist” is introduced to describe “a young, iPad-carrying jet-setter who cares about the world…in a whole new way.”
  • Snippet: We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every person on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.
  • Easter egg: Co-author Diamandis is the co-founder, along with Ray Kurzweil, of Singularity University, an organization that provides educational programs, partnerships and startup accelerators that focus on global impact.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

By Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
  • In a nutshell: The book is a fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind.
  • Why IT people will like it: Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living — from finding a parking spot to understanding the workings of memory.
  • Snippet: “Talking about algorithms for human lives might seem like an odd juxtaposition. [But] long before algorithms were used by machines, they were used by people.”
  • Easter egg: Babylonian clay tablets dating from 1200 BCE describe and employ algorithmic procedures to compute the time and place of significant astronomical events.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future

By Kevin Kelly 
  • In a nutshell: Kelly says much of the future, driven by a dozen technology “meta-trends,” is inevitable. What’s more, these trends — “becoming”, “cognifying”, “flowing” and nine others  — are already in place.
  • Why IT people will like it: Intriguingly, Kelly presents his 12 trends as verbs, not technologies, because he sees them as forces and accelerating actions. He also believes these trends will shape our society for at least the next three decades. Want to impress your C-level colleagues? Sprinkle some of these terms into your next presentation.
  • Snippet: “These forces are trajectories, not destinies. They offer no predictions of where we end up. They tell us simply that in the near future we are headed inevitably in these directions.”
  • Easter egg: Kelly was editor of Wired magazine from its launch in 1992 until 1999. He was also editor and publisher of the Whole Earth Review during the 1980s, and a co-founder of the WELL online community.

The Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business and the World

By Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott 
  • In a nutshell: Blockchain technology represents the second generation of the digital revolution. This ingenious yet simple protocol, which lets transactions be both anonymous and secure, will help reshape the world of business and transform human affairs for the better.
  • Why IT people will like it: There’s no longer a need to sit on the Bitcoin sidelines. Blockchain technology is public, encrypted and readily available for anyone to use.
  • Snippet: “What if ‘the virtual you’ was in fact owned by you —  your personal avatar — and ‘lived’ in the black box of your identity so that you could monetize your data stream and reveal only what you needed to, when asserting a particular right.”
  • Easter egg: A consortium to research and develop blockchain technology for financial services, called R3, has been formed by 45 financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Mitsubishi Financial Group.

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

By Antonio Garcia Martinez 
  • In a nutshell: When the author leaves Wall Street for Silicon Valley to work at Facebook, Twitter and his own startup, the experience leaves him jaded and cynical. Startups, he says in this memoir, are in fact little more than business experiments conducted with other people’s money.
  • Why IT people will like it: Ever dream about chucking it all to join a startup? Read this book first. Your current job may look a whole lot better.
  • Snippet: “This is how online advertising works: money turns into pixels and electrons in the form of ads, which turn into a scintilla of attention in someone’s mind, which after a few more clicks and electrons shuffling about, turn back into money. The only goal here is to make that second pile of money as large as possible.”
  • Easter egg: The author no longer works for a startup, but does live on a 40-foot sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. That’s what I call monkey business!

About Tim Naramore

Chief Technology Officer, Masergy
Tim Naramore is the Chief Technology Officer of Masergy Communications and brings more than 30 years of experience in IT and telecommunications to the discussion. Tim has worked at Frito-Lay, Texas Instruments, Boeing, Allegiance Telecom and Broadwing Communications on technologies ranging from IBM mainframes to handheld computers and web applications. Tim is responsible for the IT, Network Engineering and Software Engineering groups at Masergy. He holds a bachelor's of science in information systems from Pittsburg State University.