10 career-changing books you should be reading: Part II – as recommended by KC IT Professionals

I asked the KC IT Professionals membership about their favorite professional / technical development books. Below is the second part in this series: 10 books that they felt had changed their career.

This list should keep you busy for a while….happy reading!


1. Code Leader: Using People, Tools, and Processes to Build Successful Software by Patrick Caldwell

Easy read and touches on a lot of ideas about software that can get someone moving in the right direction.

Lee Brandt



2. Revising Business Prose by Richard Laham

I believe that the ability to write is the most important professional skill. Style, tone and ability to influence agendas and move your own forward rely heavily on how you write. With more of our reputation being formed from the written word (social media, email, IM, text) I can’t say enough about “Revising Business Prose by Richard Laham”.

Naithan Jones



3. Soft Selling in a Hard World: Plain Talk on the Art of Persuasion by Peter Vass

Whether you believe that you’re in sales or not, you are. Every great leader is a great sales person. Every business owner should be a good sales person whether they have hired someone to sell or not.

For this there is only one book I have on my book shelf. It’s simply my sales bible and I do not believe it is replaceable or needs to be supplemented with any other books. I’ve been in sales for 12 years and I own one book about sales, this is on purpose because I believe no more needs to be said.

Naithan Jones



4. Leadership and Self-Deception – Getting Out Of The Box by the Arbinger Group

I consider “Leadership and Self-Deception” one of the most important books I’ve ever read. At the end of the day there’s only one person who stands in the way of our goals. This person sabotages our efforts on a daily basis. A single person stands in our way, this book helped me find this person.

Joe Tierney



5.  The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler

The Art of Happiness is a great book to put and keep life in perspective. We cannot control many of the circumstances impacting our lives but we can control their impact on our feelings of personal well-being and happiness.

Joe Tierney



6. The Big Switch – Rewiring The World, From Edison To Google by Nicholas Carr

There are big changes happening in technology this decade that will impact our personal and professional use of technology. The Big Switch puts some of these changes into context and draws parallels to the industrial revolution. You don’t have to be technology savvy to clearly understand the future of information technology.

Joe Tierney



7. Principles of Operation by IBM

This is a very technical manual for the IBM 3×0 (360, 370, 380…) architecture. It is probably the best written book of this genre. You understand where they are going and why. You come out with a thorough understanding of architecture and a deep respect for the architects. I recall after reading it going “Wow!”

Mark Northrup



8. Computer Database Organization – By James Martin

his is the evangelists POV on relational databases. He is an excellent writer and by the end it is almost impossible not to drink the Kool-aid. 33 years later it is still the main religion and conventional wisdom. Only recently has any other data architecture been given credence, with the new moniker of no-SQL. This is primarily because relational databases can’t deliver the performance for the volume of data. This odd backwards (de)evolution has made ISAM, VSAM, etc. acceptable to speak in public again.

Mark Northrup



9.  Service-Oriented Architecture By Thomas Erl

It is THE book on SOA. Probably the first book to show that the architecture was practical. There is a bit of the evangelists with the temperance of someone who has been there and done that.

Mark Northrup



10. How to Solve It – By George Polya

I don’t know how I forgot this one, it must have been because I am not working, the two page template is usually hanging by my work phone. This book is “ancient,” 65 years old and it is still the quintessential book on how to solve a problem. Originally math problem but the techniques are applicable in many fields. I doubt Star Trek Voyager used this book but the EMHD basically stated the first step “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”

Mark Northrup

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