What We’re Reading from the July 1, 2011 Issue of CIO Magazine

Books, blogs and research about IT, management and leadership

The Idea Hunter

How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen

By Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer

Book You don’t have to be brilliant to come up with ideas that improve your company, these authors say—you just have to be looking. They advocate blocking out some of your best thinking time for your own personal improvement, and going through multiple drafts to find what works. Some other advice is to never immediately reject an idea when one is presented to you, and to seek out the black sheep, whose wild theories might turn out to be practical after all. Jossey-Bass, $25.95

Creation Myth

Xerox PARC, Apple, and the Truth About Innovation

By Malcolm Gladwell

Article In the May 16 issue of The New Yorker, Gladwell relates a famous story: In 1979, Steve Jobs visited Xerox’s experimental R&D center, where he saw the company’s prototype PC with its groundbreaking GUI. He rushed back to Apple and demanded his developers produce something similar, essentially stealing the idea that launched an empire. Although the truth is more complicated than that, explains Gladwell, the story highlights the strengths and weaknesses of different corporate cultures. Creativity needs practical boundaries, he says, but the practical-minded can pass over the next multimillion-dollar innovation because there’s no market for it—yet. http://nyr.kr/k6OVa1 (Subscription or fee required.)

Full Engagement!

Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People

By Brian Tracy

Book Although the economy is recovering, many companies are still doing the same work with much smaller staffs. To get the most out of the people you have left, Tracy advocates focusing on employees’ mental well-being—make them feel important and respect them. They’ll be infinitely more productive if you do. He includes 25 rules for making people happy, plus tips for tasks such as delegating and hiring a team. Amacom, $22

Making the World Work Better

The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company

By Kevin Maney, Steve Hamm and Jeffrey M. O’Brien

Book On June 16, the day this book was released, IBM turned 100. To celebrate its centennial anniversary, IBM asked three reporters to look into its history and dissect an aspect of the company. One writer chronicles the history of the company’s technology and the industry that grew out of it, one tackles the formation and rise of the company itself, and the third examines the ways in which IBM has reshaped the larger world. The result is not the breathless panegyric you might expect, but rather three tightly written, thoughtful pieces of long-form journalism examing the influence of one of today’s most powerful corporations. IBM Press, $29.99

XKCD

A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language

By Randall Munroe

Webcomic This recent installment of the comic, titled “The Cloud,” imagines a world in which all your biggest cloud questions—Who are you really renting server time from? What’s the true risk of outages?—have the worst possible answers. When you’re done chuckling, pass it on to your data center manager. http://xkcd.com/908

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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