As an IT pro, you probably read the equivalent of a book a month – or maybe even a book a week. All of those emails, memos, articles, white papers, reports…and let’s not forget the endless TPS reports.

But when was the last time you sat back in your favorite chair, put your feet up, and cracked open a great book? Has it been months? Years? Maybe even decades?

Well, reading more could be a great new year's resolution. After sleeping, eating and watching holiday movies during the holiday season, you can now immerse yourself in any of these 10 books that every IT pro should read. The descriptions we’ve added are those provided by each book’s respective publisher.

We’ll suggest 6 non-fiction books and 4 fiction books (by the way, these also make great gifts for your fellow it pros!).

[Non-Fiction] The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security – by Kevin D. Mitnick

Focusing on the human factors involved with information security, Mitnick explains why all the firewalls and encryption protocols in the world will never be enough to stop a savvy grifter intent on rifling a corporate database or an irate employee determined to crash a system. With the help of many fascinating true stories of successful attacks on business and government, Mitnick illustrates just how susceptible even the most locked-down information systems are to a slick con artist impersonating an IRS agent. And, perhaps most importantly, Mitnick offers advice for preventing these types of social engineering hacks through security protocols, training programs, and manuals that address the human element of security.

[Non-Fiction] What Would Google Do? Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World – by Jeff Jarvis

What Would Google Do? is an indispensable manual for survival and success in today’s internet-driven marketplace. By “reverse engineering the fastest growing company in the history of the world,” author Jeff Jarvis, proprietor of Buzzmachine.com, one of the Web’s most widely respected media blogs, offers indispensable strategies for solving the toughest new problems facing businesses today. With a new afterword from the author, What Would Google Do? is the business book that every leader or potential leader in every industry must read.

[Non-Fiction] The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution – by Walter Isaacson

The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail? This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.

[Non-Fiction] The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage – by Cliff Stoll

Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75-cent accounting error alerted him to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system. The hacker's code name was "Hunter" – a mysterious invader who managed to break into U.S. computer systems and steal sensitive military and security information. Stoll began a one-man hunt of his own: spying on the spy. It was a dangerous game of deception, broken codes, satellites, and missile bases – a one-man sting operation that finally gained the attention of the CIA...and ultimately trapped an international spy ring fueled by cash, cocaine, and the KGB.

[Non-Fiction] Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage – by Nicholas G. Carr

Expanding on Carr's seminal Harvard Business Review article that generated a storm of controversy, Does IT Matter? provides a truly compelling – and unsettling – account of IT's changing business role and its leveling influence on competition. Through astute analysis of historical and contemporary examples, Carr shows that the evolution of IT closely parallels that of earlier technologies such as railroads and electric power. He goes on to lay out a new agenda for IT management, stressing cost control and risk management over innovation and investment. And he examines the broader implications for business strategy and organization as well as for the technology industry. A frame-changing statement on one of the most important business phenomena of our time, Does IT Matter? marks a crucial milepost in the debate about IT's future.

[Non-Fiction] The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win – by Gene Kim

Bill, an IT manager at Parts Unlimited, has been tasked with taking on a project critical to the future of the business, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is massively over budget and behind schedule. The CEO demands Bill must fix the mess in 90 days, or else Bill's entire department will be outsourced. With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of the Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work flow, streamline interdepartmental communications, and effectively serve the other business functions at Parts Unlimited. In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize. Readers will not only learn how to improve their own IT organizations, they'll never view IT the same way again.

[Fiction] Neuromancer – by William Gibson

Case was the sharpest data-thief in the matrix – until he crossed the wrong people and they crippled his nervous system, banishing him from cyberspace. Now a mysterious new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run at an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, a mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case is ready for the adventure that upped the ante on an entire genre of fiction. Neuromancer was the first fully-realized glimpse of humankind’s digital future – a shocking vision that has challenged our assumptions about technology and ourselves, reinvented the way we speak and think, and forever altered the landscape of our imaginations.

[Fiction] The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – by Douglas Adams

In one complete volume, here are the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchhiker series: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless.

[Fiction] 1984 – by George Orwell

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions – a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

[Fiction] Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – by Philip K. Dick

By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back – with lethal force. This book was the inspiration for the classic film Blade Runner.

Share Your Opinion

Have you read any, some, or possibly all of these books? If so, please share your opinion by commenting below. Please also suggest any other must-read books for IT pros, so that we can all have plenty of great books to enjoy in the months ahead!