by Colleen Barry

What We’re Reading from the Aug. 1, 2010, Issue of CIO Magazine

Jul 16, 2010

Books by Vinnie Mirchandani, Tony Hsieh and Devora Zack, plus a blog about social media for businesses and a webcomic

The New Polymath 

Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations

By Vinnie Mirchandani

Most enterprises spend 80 to 90 percent of their IT budgets on outside vendors, says former Gartner analyst Mirchandani, and that leads to a dangerous dependence on supply chains. By exploring topics from market disrupters to the creativity of the Amish, this book aims to get execs thinking more like Leonardo da Vinci. To be more efficient and more innovative, he argues, both companies and individuals need to be masters of many fields, rather than experts in just one. Wiley, $39.95

Geek and Poke 

By Oliver Widder

Blog It’s hard to describe this online comic strip—recent installments have included a graph of Internet use during blogger Robert Scoble’s vacation and Twitter’s so-called fail whale playing a vuvuzela—but if Dilbert met the popular Web comic XKCD, the result might be a little like Geek and Poke. Oliver Widder, an IT guy from Hamburg, Germany, uses simple color drawings to illustrate deeply geeky jokes about technology, coding and the workplace. New strips are posted every weekday.

Delivering Happiness

A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

By Tony Hsieh

Book This odd marriage of memoir and corporate history is exactly what you’d expect from someone who runs a company as famously idiosyncratic as Zappos. When told from CEO Tony Hsieh’s perspective, the online shoe retailer’s story comes off like a roller coaster ride: venture capital; near bankruptcy; rapid growth; near bankruptcy again; complete overhaul of the business model; success; layoffs; Amazon buyout. And since Hsieh chose to forgo a ghostwriter and compose the book himself, it’s all told in a meandering, highly conversational tone. It may not be as instructive as some other books on your shelf, but Delivering Happiness is a great pick for a businessperson’s vacation read. Hatchette Book Group, $23.99

Networking for People Who Hate Networking

A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected

By Devora Zack

Book When you read “how to network” books, do they seem like they’re written in another language? Consultant Devora Zack says that’s normal for introverts—people who need time alone to recharge—because most networking guides are written with extroverts in mind. Zack looks at strategies for making new contacts from the perspective of someone who finds small talk draining and gives readers new tricks to make the task manageable, such as surefire ways to politely end a too-long conversation. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $16.95

SmartBlog on Social Media

Where SmartBrief on Social Media E-Newsletter Readers Share Ideas

By Various Authors

Blog This business-focused blog collects social media tactics and case studies from a number of savvy contributors. Recent posts give numbers-based tips for getting Hispanic audiences engaged with corporations and examine how Lego and Starbucks converted their social media strategies into sales.