Beach Reads for Techies 2014

IT pros share their reading plans for the summer and recommend their all-time favorite books for technologists.

Beach reads for techies 2014

Summertime, and the reading is easy

Even amid the 'always on' culture of IT, the summer months still hold the promise of some kind of downtime for tech professionals.

If you’re like many Americans, that R&R time is likely to involve some reading. The Pew Research Center noted in a recent survey that 76% of adults read a book in some format over the previous 12 months, with the average adult reading 12 books.

We polled a dozen technologists to find out what they hope to read this summer and in which medium. Click through to discover what your colleagues are reading, then use the comments tab to share your own recommendations.

June Drewry, Isaac's Storm

June Drewry

Co-director of the Society for Information Management's Leadership Development Institute and Southeast facilitator for SIM's Regional Leadership Forum.

Vacation plans: 10-day Mediterranean cruise.

Reading plans: One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership by Mike Figliuolo; Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown; and Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson.

Medium of choice: iPad, Kindle and books. "It depends on location more than anything."

Top recommendation for techies: The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell.

Andrew West, Good to Great

Andrew West

CEO of West Innovation Group, a Houston tech consultancy.

Vacation plans: A trip to Las Vegas and another to New Orleans to work with the group Yes We Code.

Reading plans: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't by Jim Collins; and The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen.

Medium of choice: "I'm old-school and convenience combined. I have the book, and I download an ebook."

Top recommendation for techies: His own book, The Modern CEO: Technology Tools, Innovation & Guidebook for Today's Tech Savvy Leader.

Elizabeth Leddy, Capital in the Twenty-first Century

Elizabeth Leddy

Director of operations and infrastructure, AMPSport of Burlington, Vt.

Vacation plans: Climbing trip to Barcelona, then South Korea, then a week in San Diego.

Reading plans: The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun; Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty; and Violent Python: A Cookbook for Hackers, Forensic Analysts, Penetration Testers and Security Engineers by TJ O'Connor.

Medium of choice: Physical books. "I can leave them behind or gift them to a new friend."

Top recommendation for techies: The Daemon series by Daniel Suarez. "It raises serious questions on the power of technology while feeding you action and adventure."

Anjuan Simmons, Quiet

Anjuan Simmons

Software project manager and scrum master with On Center Software in The Woodlands, Texas.

Vacation plans: Visiting South Padre Island, Texas.

Reading plans: The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries; and Corporate Tribalism: White Men/White Women and Cultural Diversity at Work by Thomas Kochman.

Medium of choice: "Kindle reader. I can start on my Kindle and switch to my PC and then my tablet."

Top recommendations for techies: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain; and his own book, Minority Tech: Journaling through Blackness and Technology.

Kris Rinne, Bonhoeffer

Kris Rinne

Senior Vice President, Network and Product Planning at AT&T in Dallas.

Vacation plans: Trip to Scotland.

Reading plans: The Story of Scotland by Nigel Tranter; Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas – "I always have to have an interesting biography going to learn from other people." And The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War by Jeff Shaara, "in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Georgia."

Medium of choice: Kindle.

Top recommendation for techies: Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech by J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin and Thomas Lah; and Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.

Ben Yoder, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Ben Yoder

Senior .NET consultant and product owner at Thycotic Software in Washington, D.C.

Vacation plans: A trip to Greece with friends.

Reading plans: "I'm looking forward to reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which deals with ethics in the science and technology fields."

Medium of choice: Physical books and a Kindle app on my tablet for travel.

Top recommendation for techies: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter. "It's an interesting, thoughtful read about the intersection of logic, mathematics, computing and art. Anyone looking for creative or innovative inspiration should read it."

Eric Hamilton, The World Is Flat

Eric Hamilton

Founder and technology architect with TinyStic, a mobile hardware startup in New York.

Vacation plans: A weekend in the Hamptons, N.Y., plus family reunions in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Philadelphia.

Reading plans: The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman; and The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy by Steve Stoute.

Medium of choice: Audio books.

Top recommendation for techies: Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life by Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker.

Tracy Talbot, The Farm

Tracy Talbot

Austin-based database architect doing business as Protean Forge LLC.

Vacation plans: 12-day tour of southern England.

Reading plans: Modeling Techniques in Predictive Analytics: Business Problems and Solutions with R by Thomas W. Miller; Master Data Management by David Loshin; and Hadoop: The Definitive Guide by Tom White. For fun, The Farm by Emily McKay.

Medium of choice: Old-fashioned books for professional selections; ebooks downloaded onto several Kindles and a Samsung Galaxy Note3 smartphone for fun.

Top recommendations for techies: Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card. "They're a pair of books about the same experience from two people's perspectives."

Curtis Guilbot, Free Agent Nation

Curtis Guilbot

Business process consultant and executive coach in Austin, Texas.

Vacation plans: Family vacation in Rhode Island.

Reading plans: The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies by Edward Jay Epstein; Daemon by Daniel Suarez; Wired by Douglas E. Richards; and Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself by Daniel H. Pink.

Medium of choice: Kindle ebooks and audio books.

Top recommendation for techies: How to Be a Star at Work: 9 Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed by Robert E. Kelley. "Kelley emphasizes that what makes people superstars is their ability to build rapport and be good listeners."

Ken Piddington, Flash Boys

Ken Piddington

Executive advisor for MRE Consulting in Houston.

Vacation plans: Moving, golfing and spending time with his two kids.

Reading plans: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford; Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity by Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny; and Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis.

Medium of choice: Physical books.

Top recommendations for techies: World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs by Peter A. High; and EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey.

Chase Guthrie, Big Bang Disruption

Chase Guthrie

Director in the Houston office of Avanade.

Vacation plans: Texas beaches and floating in the Comal and Frio rivers with friends and family.

Reading plans: Book of Awesome by Fakegrimlock.

Medium of choice: "Like most developers, I'm attached to my tablet, so I prefer an ebook. Though on a long drive, an audio book is appealing."

Top recommendations for techies: Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation by Larry Downes and Paul Nunes; Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams; and Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

Tammy Bilitzky, Brave Companions

Tammy Bilitzky

CIO at Data Conversion Laboratory in Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Vacation plans: Trip to Montreal to visit family and tour the city.

Reading plans: Brave Companions: Portraits in History by David McCullough. "I just finished 1776 and was very intrigued by his portrayal of our country in its founding years." The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone; and The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

Medium of choice: Mix of ebooks and physical books.

Top recommendation for techies: Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell.