Novels are harder than most technology-oriented people typically realize. The backbone of a good novel is character development, meaning that the character learns and grows — which makes it easy for especially amateur novelists to start off with a character who is, frankly, little more than a one-dimensional dolt. This is an even more dangerous pitfall when it’s a “novel of IT”: the temptation is almost unavoidable for the author to create as protagonist a stereotypical technology leader, clueless as to what is really important or how to be effective, who is then gradually enlightened by wiser individuals as the novel progresses.
There are three IT-related novels I’m aware of, all relatively recent, that fall essentially along those lines.
- fruITion: Creating the Ultimate Corporate Strategy for Information Technology, by Chris D. Potts
- Adventures of an IT Leader, by Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, and Shannon O’Donnell
- Haunting the CEO, by John Hughes
All of them are worth reading, but I had majorly different reactions to each. While I’d intended to cover all three in one blog post, the complexities involved in discussing the first, very problematic example have led me to divide this discussion into more than one post.