11 Books To Help CIOs Become Better Leaders - InformationWeek

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5/27/2016
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11 Books To Help CIOs Become Better Leaders

CIOs are expected to be experts in tech as well as business while leading diverse and complicated intiatives and teams. But they don't have to go it alone. Here are 11 books to help CIOs -- and aspiring CIOs -- get better at many of the critical facets of their complex jobs.
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(Image: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

(Image: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

Books are so old-school. Coming in at many more than 140 characters, they're tough to read in 30-second bursts. On the other hand, going old-school can have some real benefits -- benefits like being able to take advantage of wisdom gained through other executives' mistakes.

Reading a book, whether it's in paper or on an electronic device, is a great way to pick up information at your pace and the asynchronous nature of reading means that you can stop, ponder, make notes, digest information, or discuss ideas with colleagues without having to re-wind, re-load, or re-acquire contents.

CIOs are hybrid executives, required to have expertise in both business and technology. And so the books on this list span subjects that CIOs need to master. There are books on leadership, organizational structure, innovation, and a couple that are just about being a better person who happens to be an executive.

[See 10 Big Data Books To Boost Your Career.]

Now, it's important to note that this is my list. I've been reading books on management and technology for more than three decades and I've seen a lot of management fads come and go. Over the years I've talked to a lot of CIOs and managed a lot of people, and the books on this list are some that I rather wish had been available to me much earlier in my career. Beyond that, though, they're books that I have either read or are on my reading list now because I don't think any executive can afford to stop learning.

When it comes to how the books were chosen, it involved talking to people, asking questions on social media, scanning reviews, and searching to see if there were books that had been recommended by a lot of CIOs. I combined all of the books (which resulted in a list much longer than this one), then winnowed them down to 11 that I think will have a great impact on the CIOs and prospective CIOs who take the time to read them.

I recently wrote an article on books for programmers. There was some great discussion around the list and I learned a lot from the points made by readers. I'd love to hear what you think about these choices. Have you read any of them? Do you agree that they should be on the list? Is there a book that has had a profound influence on you from a management, leadership, or innovation point of view? It would be great to hear what you're reading -- and have read in the past -- that should be part of the CIO bookshelf.

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2016 | 3:24:52 PM
Re: That explains it..
quicknimble, and agile 

good words to describe a gymnast!
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 9:55:25 PM
Re: That explains it..
There is a whole slew of coporate buzz words and jargon that are just a corny and esoteric as pilot banter in a Monty Python episode! Execs throw these words around like everyone is expected to know what they mean when in fact they don't. It's a problem with language becoming more hackneyed.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 8:33:59 PM
Re: That explains it..
Agree. The words sound catchy but my urge is always to get the person to describe what that "looks like."
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2016 | 9:29:55 AM
Re: Effective Leadership Skills
That's very cool, @MikeM! Since you teach the course, can you share a quick "elevator pitch" on the principles behind the class?

I think it's important to find a leadership framework that "clicks" with the individual: I learned from Richard Lazar and taught his ideas -- I always find it interesting to hear how others have figured out their own principals of leadership.
MikeM28101
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MikeM28101,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/31/2016 | 7:49:01 AM
Re: Effective Leadership Skills
@Curt Franklin,  Yes, I have been "through" the course.  I'm the teacher!

Most students say this course was the highlight of their graduate degree program.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2016 | 12:36:05 AM
Re: Effective Leadership Skills
@MikeM28101, thanks for the pointer -- I'll have to check that out!

Have you been through the course yourself? If so, what was your impression?
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2016 | 12:31:21 AM
Re: That explains it..
@vnewman2, it's amazing just how often I hear quick, nimble, and agile used in corporate language. The problem most executives have is explaining, in succinct language, just what they mean when they use thos words. Maybe the best thing to do would be to assign one book to be read by the whole company just to make sure everyone is using the same language!
MikeM28101
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MikeM28101,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2016 | 10:02:50 AM
Effective Leadership Skills
Check out "Leadership through People Skills," by Robert E. Lefton, PhD and Victor R. Buzzotta, PhD.  And T81-5503:  Developing Leadership for Professionals at Washington University, St Louis.  This course is specifically taylored to STEM professionals.

See:  https://engineering.wustl.edu/prospective-students/Pages/Professional-Education.aspx
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2016 | 3:13:18 PM
That explains it..
We are upgrading from a Citrix XenApp to a XenDesktop environment and our CIO's has asked us to use "quick and nimble" in our "elevator language" when speaking to users.   So now we know what she's been reading in her spare time.  Now I get it.
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