Beach reads for techies

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

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Jeffrey Pattison

Jeffrey Pattison


INTTRA Inc., Parsippany, N.J.

Vacation plans: I'm doing a four-day trip to Bermuda and a weeklong cruise with the family up to Maine and Nova Scotia. One of the reasons I like to cruise is it gets me out of contact; it's one of the few ways to unplug. But it's getting a little harder to do that with cell towers on the ship.

Reading wish list: The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy. I'm a big bike rider, and it's about one of the first guys who tried to bike around the world and disappeared. It's about pushing boundaries, the lack of infrastructure.

The second is The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Big Horn by Nathaniel Philbrick. I like history and finding out about strategy and what did and didn't work.

Third, and this is completely off the wall, it's actually a take on Anna Karenina. It's called Android Karenina -- they list Ben H. Winters and Leo Tolstoy as the authors. I was flipping through and thought it was an easy read. It's my plane ride read.

Also I'd like to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It talks about what has to come together for someone to be really good at what they do.

Text-delivery medium of choice: The one that doesn't come on in Kindle format, The Lost Cyclist, I'll read as an old-fashioned book. The others I'm debating whether to read on my Kindle or an iPad.

Because I travel all the time, the weight and portability of the Kindle is a big benefit. And a Kindle lets you switch between books and magazines easily, so you don't have to carry a whole bunch of books with you.

I might steal my kids' iPad when they go away for the summer, though I haven't read a book on the iPad yet. I'm a little reluctant to do so because there's too much other stuff on the iPad and I'll get distracted.

Book you'd most recommend to IT colleagues: I think Gladwell's The Tipping Point is good and relevant. As we follow IT trends, we need to ask, what makes something go from being niche to becoming mainstream? When does it reach a tipping point?

Von Wright

Von Wright

Vice president, cloud and wholesale services

AT&T, Atlanta

Vacation plans: I'm taking the family on an Alaska cruise for a week, and I'm headed to Canada for my annual fishing trip with my father. There's no electricity, no telephone, nothing. They drop us off on a seaplane on a lake, and they come get us in a week.

Reading wish list: I have this horrible habit of starting books during the course of the year and finishing them on vacation. So I've accumulated Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, Pull by David Siegel and They Call Me Coach by John Wooden.

Text-delivery medium of choice: It's funny. I've been buying people Kindles, but I don't have one myself. I've ordered an iPad, but I read everything in hard copy because I annotate books so much. I read like they're textbooks. I take notes. I highlight the book. I put tabs in it so I can go back and see the stuff that blew me away.

So if someone comes out with an e-reader that allows me to swipe the lines, highlight quotes and turn them into something I can print out, maybe I'll convert. But I think I'll be with the hard copy for a while.

Book you'd most recommend to IT colleagues: Gary Kinder's Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. It was given to me by one of my most talented new leaders back at Christmas time. It's a pretty big book and I thought, "I'll never read this," but I started it and it really grabbed me. It's a historical account of a shipwreck off the cost of North Carolina during the gold rush in the 1800s. It's a great story of leadership, innovation, and perseverance.

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