book recommendations for CTOs

World Book Day is a global celebration dedicated to the joy of reading and the transformative power of books. As tech leaders, it’s essential to recognise the value of this day and the role books play in shaping your understanding and perspective.

Books can be the catalysts for innovation and creativity and inspire you to think differently, challenge assumptions, and drive you to create groundbreaking technologies.

So, this World Book Day, we’ve reviewed some of the book recommendations for CTOs we’ve received and also added some of our own. Look no further than this extensive list, which includes books on organisational issues, culture and strategy, DEI, feedback, radical candour and giving and receiving advice.

Book recommendations for CTOs and tech leaders

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering by Richard Hamming: He breaks down how to do great work and really commit to a life of lifelong learning.

Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows: While most leaders can see technical systems – they too often fail to see organisational issues from a holistic perspective.

Demanding More by Sheree Atcheson: A fantastic practical read for anyone wanting to understand more about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging space.

The One Thing by Gary Keller: A superb way to make sure you are focusing on the things that will really make a difference.

Team Topologies by Manuel Pais and Matthew Skelton: You can’t take it all at face value, but it expounds on some great principles on organisational strategy.

Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.

The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope: A practical example-led exploration of the themes in the Bhagavad Gita.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni: We may have mentioned this one before, but if you haven’t read it yet, you must!

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni: It’s a concise guide to good principles for building an organisational culture.

How To Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott: She defined two fundamental dimensions of radical candourchallenging directly’ and ‘caring personally’.

Thanks for the Feedback by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone: If you can’t thrive from any kind of feedback, you are flying blind. It also helps with how to give feedback. 

Peak by Anders Ericsson: An underappreciated masterpiece on how to form expertise through deliberate practice.

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt: Find out what’s at the heart of good strategy and the implications of bad strategy.

The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay-Stainer: Most advice is useless, so Bungay Stanier urges you to change your “Advice Monster.” 

Drive by Daniel Pink: A fundamental read for any manager and leader. It’s a first-principles book explaining how we as humans are motivated. This is a great video of its core concepts.

Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay-Staine: Read this book to change the way you coach.

Michael Lopp has written several books we love, including:

Managing Humans: A popular guide to the art of leadership clearly explains that while you will be rewarded for what you build, your success is only because of your people.

The Software Developers Career Handbook: A career handbook for leaders and engineers alike.

Small Things, Done Well: Explains how focusing on the small parts of leadership is critical to becoming a better leader.


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