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Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position

By CIOinsight

15 Groundbreaking Management Books

Business changes at break-neck pace. Technology matures at the blink of an eye. For managers today, keeping up with innovations and evolutions in these areas requires a sharp focus, an open mind--and maybe a pair of glasses. 

In our continuing effort to bring readers the best books in IT and management, we dug into our bookshelves to find the most provocative, ground-breaking books ever written on business.

What follows is our list. Click on each title to read more about each book and why they made the list. Or, just click beneath each story to go to the next selection in the list. With most of these books, you'll find links to excerpts, interviews and reviews found in the pages of CIO Insight.

The List

The 15 Most Groundbreaking Management Books

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't
By Jim Collins

Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage
By Nicholas Carr

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
By Clayton Christianson

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
By Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution
By James Champy and Michael Hammer

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
By Thomas L. Friedman

The Practice of Management
By Peter F. Drucker

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
By Ray Kurzweil

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
By Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position
By Edwards Deming

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual
By Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
By Malcolm Gladwell

In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies
By Tom Peters and Robert Waterman

The Social Life of Information
By John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning
By Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris

Good to Great

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't
By Jim Collins
Collins
2001

The rock-climbing management guru chronicled the rise of several mediocre companies that broke through by achieving solid long-term returns. The book provided a roadmap--and a timeless challenge--for organizations of all shapes and sizes.

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Does IT Matter?

 

Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage
By Nicholas G. Carr
Harvard Business School Press
2004

A denial-inducing tome by a much-feared author, this book argues that the "technology" portion of IT is increasingly a commodity, and that companies need to focus more on using information than on the boxes that process it.

Read our review

Read an excerpt of his newest book: The Big Switch. And see our interview on the new book.

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The Innovator's Dilemma

 

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
By Clayton Christianson
Harvard Business School Press
1997

The Harvard professor's trailblazing manifesto on "disruptive technology" changed the way executives view IT and innovation. A particularly prescient work today, as CIOs evaluate and strategize the use of new technologies to target customers and drive revenue.

Read an interview with the author on his book Use IT to Disrupt, or Be Disrupted

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First, Break All the Rules

 

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
By Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Simon & Schuster
1999

A wake-up call for "experienced" managers, the consultants use 25 years' worth of interviews with leaders to find four keys to excel in management. The book posits that the best managers are "revolutionaries"--a theory chronicled over and over since.

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Reengineering the Corporation

 

Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution
By James Champy and Michael Hammer
HarperBusiness
1993

In their ground-breaking tome, Champy and Hammer challenge traditional management, pushing for IT as an enabler instead of an automater. The book's impact is felt increasingly today, as CIOs and executives push for IT to be more strategic.

See these CIO Insight interviews with the authors:

James Champy on Reengineering

Michael Hammer: CIO as Chief Process Officer

Jim Champy on Corporate Darwinism

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The World is Flat

 

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
By Thomas L. Friedman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
2006

The long-running bestseller analyzes the status of globalization, framing global competition as something of a level playing field. Friedman's oft-debated theories have been repeatedly cited by business and government leaders, and likely will for years to come.

Also See: Thomas Friedman on Globalization

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The Practice of Management

 

The Practice of Management
By Peter F. Drucker
Collins
1954

Considered by many to be the seminal work on modern business management, the legendary Drucker lays out the fundamentals of leading. More than 50 years later, this (and many of his other books) continues to be an essential textbook for managers at all levels.

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The Singularity is Near

 

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
By Ray Kurzweil
Penguin
2005

Technology will progress at warp speed, and newer technologies will follow suit. That's the argument behind "singularity," a theory the futurist uses as the basis of his vision of what's to come. The book provides telling lessons for executives, managers and technologists alike as they work to capitalize on innovation.

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Wikinomics

 

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
By Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
Portfolio Hardcover
2007

Tapscott and Williams homed in on what could be the next great earth-shaker in business execution: collaboration. Using results of a multimillion-dollar study, the think-tank executives chart the course for using Web 2.0 tools to increase collaboration and innovation.

Read an excerpt

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Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position

 

Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position
By Edwards Deming
MIT
1982

The father of the quality movement, Deming inculcated a focus on detail and innovation in post-World War II Japan that still characterizes Japanese manufacturing. This book popularized his influential management principles in his native United States.

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The Cluetrain Manifesto

 

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual
By Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger
Perseus Books Group
2000

Wielding aphorisms ("markets are conversations") like hammers to dismantle traditional ideas about companies and customers, this book - which began as a Web site - brought marketing into the Internet age. It is now available for free online.

Read an interview with Weinberger: Power of the New Digital Disorder

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The Tipping Point

 

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
By Malcolm Gladwell
Back Bay Books
2000

The New Yorker writer's book, a multifaceted look at the boiling points that force change, quickly became a favorite among managers looking to do just that within their organizations. Tipping Point contains a number of evergreen lessons for managers and strategists of all kinds.

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In Search of Excellence

 

In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies
By Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
Harpercollins
1982

Decades-long research and observations of business performance led to this best-selling work by two McKinsey strategists. In it, they document the success of various companies with long-running strengths in financial management and innovation.

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The Social Life of Information

 

The Social Life of Information
By John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid
Harvard Business School Press
1999

Sometimes stepping back from the bleeding edge and hoopla around new technologies is necessary to truly understand the power of information, the authors argue. By examining information in a social context, Brown and Duguid offer a unique perspective on the lifeblood of any company.

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Competing on Analytics

 

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning
By Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris
Harvard Business School Press
2007

Execution is essential, the authors argue, but done with the right system of data analysis, it can be a game-changer. The book chronicles the success of several companies that used analytics effectively--and provides a blueprint for companies looking to the future.

Read an excerpt.

Read an interview with Davenport: Knowledge Workers Need Better Management

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More Must-Read Books for IT Managers

What did we miss? Tell us at editors@cioinsight.com.

Also, check out these compilations on must-read books for IT managers:

15 Must-Read Winter Books for IT Pros

The Best Books of 2007

Five Insightful Transformation Books

Five Insightful Management Books

Back to List

This article was originally published on 03-24-2008