Beach reads for techies

Seven IT leaders talk about what they plan to read this summer -- and on which device. (Paper? What's that?)

Randy Pausch The Last Lecture
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

With summer here at last, offices are emptying out as workers head out for some well-deserved R&R.

Even vacation-shy tech managers are venturing out of their cubicles, and when they do, they're trading their manuals and e-mail logs for reading material of a different ilk.

Computerworld polled several IT professionals about their summer reading plans. If you're looking for inspiration, you might consider taking a page from their book, er, books.

Beach Clark

Beach Clark

Vice president, information technology

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

Vacation plans: My girlfriend and I will go up to Wisconsin for a long weekend and play [golf at] Whistling Straits, where they're going to play the PGA Championship this year. And we may also take my three boys down to Mexico to one of those all-inclusives in August sometime.

Reading wish list: I think I've narrowed it down to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. The other candidates were Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

I picked the Randy Pausch because he was a computer science guy. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, so the book's about living your life to the fullest. My wife passed away three years ago, so it's a topic on my mind. I first heard about it on NPR. It's supposed to be a really good book.

Text-delivery medium of choice: If I don't end up getting an iPad this summer, I will probably be reading on the iPhone. I've actually read a book on the Kindle app for iPhone, and it was great. The thing that surprised me was how good the readability is. I thought being that small it would be distracting, but it's not. It's lightweight and you can adjust the text to the size you want. It's just really great.

Book you'd most recommend to IT colleagues: I'd recommend something kind of business-related but not IT. I'd say, since you're on vacation, make sure it's entertaining. I'm a big believer that one of the best ways to be educated is to be entertained.

Larry Bonfante

Larry Bonfante


United States Tennis Association, White Plains, N.Y.

President Society for Information Management, Westchester-Fairfield chapter

Vacation plans: Vacationing with my family at Cape Cod for a week at the end of June.

Reading wish list: For vacation, to distract me from the normal business mentality, I'll take Outsmart! How to Do What Your Competitors Can't by Jim Champy, because I'm a big fan of Champy's work; Deception Point by Dan Brown, who always writes page-turners; and Bad Moon Rising by Hank Bordowitz -- I am a classic rock aficionado and play in a rock band, so I'm interested in the real story of what happened with Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty.

When I get back home, I'll start Motivate Like a CEO by Suzanne Bates and Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships by Thom Singer.

Text-delivery medium of choice: I'm bringing old-fashioned books on vacation. Between my BlackBerry and my laptop, I look at a screen 10 hours a day. So when I read for pleasure, I like to break up the monotony and have a different experience.

Book you'd most recommend to IT colleagues: Well, the books I plan to read: Motivate Like a CEO because I think communication and motivation are critical, and Some Assembly Required because relationship management is perhaps the most critical skill required by any business executive.

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