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

Books, blogs and research about IT, management and research

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling 

Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

By Stephen Denning

Book  If you missed this book when it came out a few years ago, pick up the recently revised edition. Denning explains why stories are often the best tool for the job—they create social bonds and spark action—and suggests ways to tell different stories. Many examples are given and at the end of each chapter is a template to help you craft your own tales. The new edition reflects evolving attitudes about business storytelling and addresses the current role of social media. Jossey-Bass, $27.95

As One 

Individual Action, Collective Power

By Mehrdad Baghai and James Quigley

Book You may not be providing the leadership your organization needs to function most cohesively. Baghai, the managing director of Alchemy Growth Partners, and Quigley, the CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, believe many executives think too narrowly about how they make decisions and motivate employees. Leaders either exercise tight control or try for maximum collaboration. The authors use original research to define a spectrum between these extremes, taking into account what leaders want to accomplish and what employees expect. Portfolio Penguin, $40

All Things Distributed

Werner Vogels’ Weblog on Building Scalable and Robust Distributed Systems

By Werner Vogels

BLOG For those considering using Amazon in the enterprise, this blog by its CTO is worth following. It provides a nitty-gritty breakdown of some of Amazon’s services, along with some more general business musings. Vogels is big on practical applications and frequently provides examples of how Amazon Web Services are being or could be used. In fact, he now runs his blog entirely from Amazon Simple Storage Service—no servers involved at all. (For more on Amazon Web Services, see "Cloud Computing: Will Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk Platform Appeal to Enterprise CIOs?") www.allthingsdistributed.com

The New Edge in Knowledge

How Knowledge Management Is Changing the Way We Do Business

By Carla O’Dell and Cindy Hubert

Book As was discussed in our Feb. 1 issue, knowledge management (KM) may be making a comeback. The authors of this book think so too and will help you make the business case for KM. They discuss proven and new approaches to implementation, and explain how to create a culture that prompts employees to actually use the system. The book also includes a healthy appendix of case studies. John Wiley and Sons, $45

Closing the IT Skills Gap

2011 SHARE Survey for Guiding University and College IT Agendas

By Joseph McKendrick

Research With the economy on the upswing, more companies will be hiring this year. Will recent college grads be ready to slot in smoothly at your company? Probably not, says this report, which found that only 8 percent of its 376 respondents would rate their recent entry-level hires as “well-trained, ready to go.” In contrast, more than three quarters of employers thought that colleges should teach programming, database and architectural skills. www.share.org/tabid/69.aspx

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