The Literature

The one thing we learned from all the episodes was that tech leaders love to read. Books on organizational management, leadership, philosophies, guides – all kinds of books that helped them become better leaders.
And now, after more than 100 episodes of CTO Confessions, we found a pattern as we saw some titles repeating, so we dived deeper into these to see what was it that attracted them, and we put together a list of the books that we (and many tech leaders) think are a must-read for anyone looking to leave their mark in the tech industry.
Our first part of this series of pieces consists of the following books:

The Literature

The one thing we learned from all the episodes was that tech leaders love to read. Books on organizational management, leadership, philosophies, guides – all kinds of books that helped them become better leaders.
And now, after more than 100 episodes of CTO Confessions, we found a pattern as we saw some titles repeating, so we dived deeper into these to see what was it that attracted them, and we put together a list of the books that we (and many tech leaders) think are a must-read for anyone looking to leave their mark in the tech industry.
Our first part of this series of pieces consists of the following books:

Unboss by Lars Kolind

Description: Published in 2012, the book goes about analyzing traditional management and structure models in companies, and proposing a newer, fresher model which is more fitting for new businesses and start-ups, giving them a more human-centric approach that can help them grow.
Every department/part of an organization needs a specific strategy which is a part of a bigger, more significant strategy, aligned with the vision and mission of the company.
How it can help tech leaders: The need for newer working, hierarchical, and structure models is clear in the tech industry, as they are becoming the pioneers of inventing and implementing new ones that have an increased focus on the people, rather than just the projects and the business. Every aspiring tech leader should explore options on how they can structure/restructure their organization around the people and their needs.


Unboss by Lars Kolind

Description: Published in 2012, the book goes about analyzing traditional management and structure models in companies, and proposing a newer, fresher model which is more fitting for new businesses and start-ups, giving them a more human-centric approach that can help them grow.
Every department/part of an organization needs a specific strategy which is a part of a bigger, more significant strategy, aligned with the vision and mission of the company.
How it can help tech leaders: The need for newer working, hierarchical, and structure models is clear in the tech industry, as they are becoming the pioneers of inventing and implementing new ones that have an increased focus on the people, rather than just the projects and the business. Every aspiring tech leader should explore options on how they can structure/restructure their organization around the people and their needs.

Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow’ by Matthew Skelton

Description: Agile is the cornerstone on which sustainable organizational flow can be created, and this book goes deep into how you can transform your business to become more agile. In three parts, with each covering all the aspects that can help you achieve that desired company fast flow.
How it can help tech leaders: This one goes without saying, right? If you’re not thinking agile, what are you thinking about? It’s a better way to do things, and something, if you do it right, will set you up for long-term success and allow yourself to adapt to the highly volatile nature of the tech industry.


Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow’ by Matthew Skelton

Description: Agile is the cornerstone on which sustainable organizational flow can be created, and this book goes deep into how you can transform your business to become more agile. In three parts, with each covering all the aspects that can help you achieve that desired company fast flow.
How it can help tech leaders: This one goes without saying, right? If you’re not thinking agile, what are you thinking about? It’s a better way to do things, and something, if you do it right, will set you up for long-term success and allow yourself to adapt to the highly volatile nature of the tech industry.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

Description: We’ve had a few industrial revolutions so far, and the fact is, we’re currently going through the fourth one, in which the lines between the physical and the digital are slowly getting blurred. It’s an analysis of what might come, how it will be different from what was and what is, and how we can prepare for it.
How it can help tech leaders: The idea that we’re constantly changing, and progressing is something everyone knows, but to be part of the change, to be part of the people who will enable and power it up – we first need to learn how to master it. A powerful book that can help you expand and shape your vision and mission as a leader.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention’ by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

Description: Netflix has been known to have a distinct brand of culture inside – a culture that has helped shape the company and give its odd structure and unique way of operating. This book goes down into the details, a behind-the-scenes sort of view of how it all came to be.
How it can help tech leaders: Sure, proven and tested models that are proven to work will always be a go-to for some, but as a tech leader, the way something works doesn’t have to be all templatized. You can go your own way, and this book is a goldmine of ideas that can help you get into that mindset.


No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention’ by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

Description: Netflix has been known to have a distinct brand of culture inside – a culture that has helped shape the company and give its odd structure and unique way of operating. This book goes down into the details, a behind-the-scenes sort of view of how it all came to be.
How it can help tech leaders: Sure, proven and tested models that are proven to work will always be a go-to for some, but as a tech leader, the way something works doesn’t have to be all templatized. You can go your own way, and this book is a goldmine of ideas that can help you get into that mindset.


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup’ by John Carreyrou

Description: A book about one of the biggest frauds in American history, and the biggest one in the tech industry – Theranos. The rise and fall, and all the details in between are in this book – simply put, this is a thriller with an ending that is bitter, but highly educational.
How it can help tech leaders: The how’s and why’s of some stuff that can happen are important, but the one thing that techies and tech leaders can learn from this book is that sometimes believing in an idea without being to objectively measure its feasibility can lead to disastrous results.

Well, CTO Confessions is much more than just insightful and educational books - it's also about leaders, their path to becoming who they are, and the valuable lessons they learned along the way. Dive into one of our 100 episodes 

Right Here

Takeaway

They say that nothing beats learning by doing, but truth be told, that ‘doing’ part can be much more efficient and educational if you get the facts straight and learn from the experience of others or get a bit deeper into the details. Stay tuned for part 2 of the series!


TC Gill


Head of People Development
Business Agility Transformation Lead
CtO (Chief talking Officer) for IT Labs CTO Confessions Podcast