Recommended reading for the CTO/CIO

There are really only three fundamental ways for a senior technology executive to hone his or her abilities:

  • networking with peers,
  • on-the-job experience, and
  • voracious reading

An astounding number of executives neglect the last one. Throughout the essays on this blog, you’ll see me cite seminal books in the field fairly regularly, across the spectrum of IT-related concerns. I’ll collect a list of the most important ones here.

A seasoned IT executive should be familiar with most, if not all, of the “Must Read” books.  The rest of the books on the various lists below are ones I’ve found particularly compelling from my reading over the course of my career.


Recommended for general background:

Architecture and Technical:

Business and IT:

Internet Sociology:

Operational and Financial:

General technology background:

Novels of IT:

Also recommended:

Note: I’ve also started a series of posts on the most important “human factors in IT” books, picking what I consider the most important three such books from each decade, starting with the 1970s.

Additionally, I have a series of posts on four “Novels of IT,” as listed above.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fibol January 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Peter, I saw in your reading Pile the book FruITion from C. Potts. You can put it at the top; Chris’s insight on strategy and the future of the CIO position is certainly one of the best that I read so far. I have had the chance to discuss with him and we kindly cover some areas that were still not clear for me. A great Guy and a great book.

Bill Murphy December 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Peter – I would add one other book to this list. by John Hughes. Bill

Peter Kretzman December 8, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Well, I know John, actually, and his book is on my mental reading list, if not yet my physical reading list. I’m looking forward to it!

Peter Kretzman July 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Fibol, my review of FruITion is at

Thanks for commenting.

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