Information technology — more commonly referred to as IT — is the use of computer systems or devices to access information. IT skills are valuable and important skills to have in today’s rapidly evolving digital and data-driven world. Thankfully, these skills can always be strengthened and improved upon, whether you’re a college student or a seasoned professional in the IT field. Here we share the best information technology books for professionals and aspiring professionals in a myriad of fields where data is used. Unlike some book lists that focus on one domain — like information technology in health care — our list features books with wide applicability. We’ve also included books from a diverse array of voices and backgrounds because information technology is a skill we can all cultivate, no matter who we are.
How We Picked the Best Information Technology Books
To create our list of the best information technology books, we scoured the New York Times bestseller list and other online “best of” lists. The result was a collection of over 120 books dedicated to the topic. We then narrowed the list down to these 20 books, basing our research on overall popularity and online materials like reviews and common recommendations. Important criteria included a wide intended audience and a general consensus on the book’s utility. Additionally, because many popular information technology books came up in multiple categories we’ve already researched for our own “best” lists, we’ve done our very best to prevent duplicate recommendations across our lists on Intelligent.com.
The 20 Best Information Technology Books
Information technology books are a genre of nonfiction. They run the gamut in terms of subject matter, from biographies about IT pioneers to highly technical guides about specific IT processes. These books can be helpful, and sometimes motivational, for college students interested in a career in information technology or professionals already working in the field. If you’re interested in the genre, you’re going to love our list of the 20 best information technology books.
The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George SpaffordBuy Now
Our top pick in information technology books is The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by bestselling author Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford. It’s written for business executives and IT professionals to use as a tool to bring their development and operations teams closer. Unlike most information technology books, it’s written in a fictional form and tells the story of a failed delivery system called The Phoenix Project. The story and its characters have great insights and takeaways that can be applied to any modern organization. Kim is the founder of Tripwire and served as chief technology officer for 13 years.
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles PetzoldBuy Now
You don’t have to be a coder or have any technical background to enjoy Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold. The book is written for anyone with an interest in the history of codes and how they are used to communicate. Petzold was presented with a Windows Pioneer Award in 1994 from Bill Gates for his contributions to Microsoft Windows via writing and publishing.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee VanceBuy Now
Technology journalist Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is an award-winning biography that’s been both a New York Times and international bestseller. It tells the story of Musk’s life from an early age right to the present via extensive research and interviews with many people who know Musk personally and professionally. It also tells the stories of Musk’s businesses Tesla and SpaceX. If you enjoy biographies and business profiles, you’ll find this book quite motivating.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick BostromBuy Now
The potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence are examined in detail in this New York Times bestseller Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom. This book is written for anyone interested in examining what could happen to our world when machines surpass humans in general intelligence. No prior knowledge of information technology is needed to enjoy this book, and Bostrom even notes in the prologue that overly technical sections may be skipped without sacrificing overall meaning. Bostrom, who was born in Sweden, is a philosophy professor at Oxford University.
The Industries of the Future by Alec RossBuy Now
The Industries of the Future by New York Times bestselling author Alec Ross focuses on how the next wave of innovation will shape the world’s economies. This book is particularly relevant to anyone working or interested in working in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, genomics, or data. The book is both celebratory and cautionary in tone as it looks at the potential benefits and risks of each of those areas of technology. Ross is a former senior advisor for innovation to the secretary of state and a distinguished visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University.
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin KellyBuy Now
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly reads like a science fiction novel but is based on reality. For anyone interested in technological innovation and futurism, this New York Times bestseller is an exhilarating read with an optimistic tone. Topics covered include the future of social networking, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Kelly co-founded Wired — a magazine about emerging technologies — in 1993.
The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy KidderBuy Now
Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1982 and remains relevant and extraordinary even today. Through the voice of an engineer, the book tells the true story of researchers at Data General who worked tirelessly to create a new 32-bit superminicomputer. Readers gain a greater understanding of the complexity of machines and a deeper appreciation for the people who create them. The intended audience includes anyone interested in innovation, group dynamics, technology, and teamwork. Kidder, whose works have won many other top literary awards, is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly.
Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith and Carol Ann BrowneBuy Now
How technology can be both empowering and threatening is the theme of Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne. This New York Times bestseller was first published in 2019 and was recently updated to include new material on cyberattacks and the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a riveting read for anyone interested in safely navigating the digital world of the future. The authors are both part of Microsoft: Smith is the president and Browne is the senior director of communications and external relations — Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder, even wrote the foreword.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake MastersBuy Now
Using information technology in novel ways is the focus of the New York Times bestseller Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters. It’s a versatile book that’s most applicable to those trying to think of a new business venture or grow their existing business. Readers with an interest in venture capital, startups, and economics will also find this book beneficial. Thiel is the founder of PayPal, and Masters is a venture capitalist. The two met when Masters was in a class Thiel taught at Stanford Law School.
Accelerate: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene KimBuy Now
Using data from the State of DevOps Reports, Accelerate: Building and Scaling High-Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim answers the question: “How can we apply technology to drive business value?” It’s a moderately technical read, and its target audience is leaders of software development teams. Forsgren is a researcher and strategist at Google Cloud, Humble is an author and Jolt Award winner, and Kim is the founder of IT Revolution.
Accidental Empires by Robert X. CringelyBuy Now
The history of computer manufacturing and the people behind it takes center stage in the highly entertaining, bestselling book Accidental Empires by Robert X. Cringely. It’s an exciting and revealing read for anyone interested in the people who created Silicon Valley, the successes they had, and the opportunities they missed. The book’s tone is anecdotal, light, and often humorous. Cringely is the pen name of technology journalist Mark Stephens.
Accountable Care: Bridging the Health Information Technology Divide, 1st Edition by Bill Spooner, Bert Reese, and Colin KonschakBuy Now
J. M. Bohn, Chon Abraham, Shane Danaher, and Cynthia Davis have put together a deep dive into the world of health informatics in Accountable Care: Bridging the Health Information Technology Divide.. Considered to be the first comprehensive accountable care publication from an IT perspective, the book is for a specialized audience of healthcare IT professionals. The book features 12 authors, most of whom have a medical or academic background. Bohn is the founder of KMI Communications, Reese is an executive at Sentara Healthcare, and Konschak is a managing partner at Divurgent.
Accounting Information Systems, 10th Edition by James A. HallBuy Now
Accounting Information Systems by James A. Hall is a thorough book written for business students and professionals. Not only does the book look at a range of accounting technologies but it also touches on the issues of ethics and fraud in today’s modern business world. The book is academic in tone and has been recently updated to include new information on the transaction cycle and business processes coverage. Hall is an accounting professor at Lehigh University.
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom GriffithsBuy Now
If you’re seeking an interdisciplinary look at the impact information technology has beyond business, check out Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. Christian is a computer scientist and award-winning author and Griffiths is a professor of psychology and computer science at Princeton. Merging psychology and computational models, they deliver a compelling look at how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives.
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan ClarkBuy Now
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark is the biography of Jack Ma, who transformed himself from a teacher with modest beginnings to the founder of Alibaba, the second largest internet company in the world. This book has vast audience appeal —to readers looking for a career change, who enjoy motivational true stories, and who have an interest in the Chinese business environment. Clark, the chairman of BDA China, met Ma in 1999 and was an early adviser to Alibaba.
Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American Business Icon by Richard S. TedlowBuy Now
Richard S. Tedlow tells the story of former Intel CEO Andy Grove in Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American Business Icon. Grove was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1946 and survived the Nazi invasion as a Jew. He moved to the United States as a young man and died in 2016. Information in this compelling biography was culled from Grove’s private writings and interviews with his closest friends and associates. This book is written for those who enjoy business profiles and want to learn from the success stories of others. Tedlow is a professor at the Harvard Business School.
Before Disrupting Healthcare: What Innovators Need To Know by Pallav ShardaBuy Now
Pallav Sharda wrote Before Disrupting Healthcare: What Innovators Need To Know for anyone working on, or investing in, health information technology products. Topics covered include health information exchanges, electronic health records, and accountable care organizations. The book also provides guidance on navigating clinical workflow software and health care technology acronyms. Sharda, who works in the health IT entrepreneurship space, has both a medical degree and a master’s degree in medical informatics.
Big Data, Big Challenges: A Healthcare Perspective: Background, Issues, Solutions and Research Directions edited by Mowafa Househ, Andre W. Kushniruk, and Elizabeth M. BoryckiBuy Now
The pros and cons of the use of big data in health care are examined in minute detail in Big Data, Big Challenges: A Healthcare Perspective: Background, Issues, Solutions and Research Directions, edited by Mowafa Househ, Andre W. Kushniruk, and Elizabeth M. Borycki. The book is written in an academic tone for health information technology professionals, health care managers, medical practitioners, and patients with an interest in how their health data is used. All three editors are professors: Househ at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar and Kushniruk and Borycki at the University of Victoria in Canada.
Clustering and Portfolio Management - Theoretical Perspective by Preeti DalalBuy Now
Clustering and Portfolio Management – Theoretical Perspective is a research-based book that examines the negatives and positives of the practice of stock clustering. The audience for this book includes students, portfolio-using agents, and anyone with an interest in the use of automated data. It’s written in an academic style and is a short read at only 64 pages. Dalal is an instructor who holds a Ph.D. in computer science and a master’s degree in computer applications.
Communicating with Data: Making Your Case with Data by Carl AllchinBuy Now
Readers who present data to different groups within their organizations or have an interest in data analytics will find great value in Communicating with Data: Making Your Case with Data by Carl Allchin. Practical skills taught in this book include using data visualization, creating data playbooks, and communicating data points effectively. Chapter nine of the book helps readers apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios. Allchin is a Tableau Zen Master in addition to coaching for the data analytics training program at The Data School in London.