A summer reading list for Internet-era CTOs


While guest editing last week’s issue of our newsletter, I posted a summer reading list for Internet-era CTOs. It seemed to go down well with newsletter readers, so we thought it might be nice to re-post it on the blog today.

Things were a little quieter in the PD office this week, now that the school summer holidays have started. On the assumption that you’ll have some time to sit somewhere comfortable and read a book this summer, here’s the reading list.


(There’sour book, of course.)

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, by James Bridle

The FT says it all when it says: “The more we think that we have all of humanity’s knowledge at our fingertips and the more we outsource thinking to algorithms, the less we actually understand about the systems we are so enmeshed in. Bridle, a perceptive artist and writer, highlights the ways in which we are deliberately being kept in the dark and are sleepwalking into a future of non-stop surveillance.”

A thought-provoking and rewarding read.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

On productivity and system optimisation, disguised as a novel.

The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim and Kevin Behr

On IT and DevOps, also disguised as a novel. More entertaining and informative than you’d expect.

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

What 3 of the world’s most respected DevOps experts have learned from their own experience, and extensive surveys with hundreds of companies, and how you can apply those things to your organisation.

Building successful communities of practice, by Emily Webber

A short, practical guide. Helps organisations and leaders understand why communities are a good idea, and how to get them started.

Developers are the new kingmakers by Stephen O’Grady

A much-referenced book on the conference circuit, this book explains the growing importance of APIs, platforms, cloud services and open source tools, and hiring developers who understand the options.

A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility by Mark Schwartz

A good overview of the steps organisations must take to move toward a more experimental culture, reforming governance along the way.

Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, Barry O’Reilly

Packed with insight into how organisations can adapt their structures around the lean principles of continuous delivery, with advice on managing a portfolio of projects and building a culture of experimentation.

Agile Application Security by Laura Bell, Michael Brunton-Spall, Rich Smith, and Jim Bird

More in-depth than the other books in this list, and worth a look. The sections on how to think about risk, and how to apply that in an agile environment, are particularly useful.

Site Reliability Engineering, edited by Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff and Niall Richard Murphy

Another deep look, this time how Google approaches operating its services. Keep in mind that very few organisations operate at Google’s scale and engineering mindset, and so their practices can’t just be copied wholesale. Useful nonetheless.


Thoughtworks Tech Radar

Tech consultancy Thoughtworks regularly bring their senior team together to explore the trends they’re seeing in the industry and what they’ve learned working with their clients.

The result is a really compelling view of the state of the tech ecosystem, covering techniques, tools, platforms and languages. If you’re looking for insight into what should be on your radar, and the maturity of practices around certain technologies this should definitely be on your reading list.

State of Devops Report

The annual version of the research mentioned under Accelerate above.


Benedict Evans, interesting things in technology

Exponential view, by Azeem Azhar, on future, tech & society

This deserves your attention by Leisa Reichelt, about design and user research

The Magpie Digest, actionable cultural insights on Chinese consumers, translated into business strategy

CyberWeekly, by Michael Brunton-Spall, things related to security, outages and incidents.

That’s it for our list. If you have some suggestions of your own, please add a comment below.

1 thought on A summer reading list for Internet-era CTOs

  1. Why hire an Internet-era CTO? What will they actually do? – Public DigitalOctober 5, 2018

    […] the start of the summer, we published a reading list for Internet-era CTOs. A lot of my work at Public Digital is about helping our clients understand what an Internet-era […]

Public Digital