The Adventures of an IT Leader by Rob Austin, Richard Nolan and Shannon O'Donnell, Harvard Business Press.

This is a charming book written by charming people. Please do not be put off by my recommendation of the authors. I mention it because you will be charmed by this book, and you will learn from it—the authors are charming and knowledgeable. The Adventures of an IT Leader sets out to examine the role of the CIO using the form of the novel. Jim Barton is a newly appointed CIO with no IT experience, and he, along with you, learns how to be an effective leader in an organisation where IT plays a crucial role.

The novel form of learning is not, er, novel, and this time out Austin and company have used it to great effect. You are carried along with their hero as he deals with open warfare in his department as he struggles to juggle conflicting demands with resources and risk.

The book is not all entertainment. Each chapter has a section at the end for reflections and lessons learned. I was tempted to read only these, but the Jim Barton’s days in the office were far too alluring.