How to stay on top of today’s big technology themes

ey cio blog-booksThe motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones knew a thing or two about the need to keep learning. One of his most memorable lines is: “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for the people you’ll meet and the books you’ll read.”

Given the fast pace of modern life, it can seem almost impossible to find time to keep up with emails, news stories, blogs and social media feeds – and then read a wide range of important books too. But there is enormous value to be gained from doing so. Many of today’s top-selling technology-related titles provide far more considered and thoughtful views than the flood of stories we encounter within the IT press.

For starters, as CIOs know well, we are in the midst of one of the most important periods of technological advancement in history. A digital revolution is well under way, and it is reshaping both our professional and personal lives. It is also important for CIOs to understand the technology themes with which others in our business are engaging. If other executives are reading around our subject, I want to make sure I have a broad enough knowledge to field any queries they might direct at me.

To help refine our reading list for the year ahead, I’ve pulled out a selection of key titles. They are selected from Amazon’s top 50 selling list for the business and management category of its computers and technology books. Your own interests may vary, but this short list features titles that discuss how digital advancement is disrupting our lives – and the world around us.

  • Technology adoption. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. This follow-up to the authors’ last book, Race Against the Machine, assesses the impact of the digital revolution on our economy and on jobs. The book raises very immediate questions for businesses, and our own livelihoods, as exponentially expanding computing power displaces not only labor-intensive jobs, but knowledge-intensive ones too. I think this issue will become an increasingly hot topic for debate among CIOs and other executives in the coming years.
  • Social media. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand, by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. This book offers a road map to creating an engaging brand that will make a real impact on social media platforms. It details some best practices in marketing. This is especially helpful for CIOs looking to work more closely with the CMO in a digital age.
  • Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity and Cyberwar – What Everyone Needs to Know, by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman. As I outlined in a previous post, cybersecurity is now a career-defining issue for CIOs. Not only does this book give a detailed overview of the cyber world, it also has some great insights about where key cybersecurity trends are headed.
  • The digital age. The new digital age – Transforming Nations, Businesses, and our Lives, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. Digital is not just a niche issue for your firm, it’s a world-changing one. In this book, the authors consider how the arrival of the first billion connected users have disrupted society, and what the connection of the next five billion will mean.

What’s on your reading list? Please use the comments space below to tell us what books you have been reading.

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