20 books recommended by tech and science leaders

23 Dec 2022

Image: © deagreez/Stock.adobe.com

Here are just some of the book recommendations we got from leaders in 2022.

In our Leaders’ Insights series on SiliconRepublic.com, we ask leaders from the worlds of technology and science about their careers, their industries and their leadership styles. We also ask them to recommend books that our readers might be interested in.

This year, we got suggestions covering cutting-edge tech, leadership advice, entrepreneurial insights and more. So if you’re looking for a new read to get stuck into this festive season, here are 20 recommendations.

The covers of some of the recommended books, including Precision Machines, Atomic Habits, The Culture Map and Hot Air.


Atomic Habits – James Clear

This was one of the top picks from sci-tech leaders this year, with Coursera’s Anthony Tattersall describing it as “a very practical book for helping build positive habits”.

Atomic Habits was also on the reading list of Slack’s Pip White, while Fenero’s Sinead Doherty called it a “very impactful read”.

“This line from it has always stayed with me: ‘You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.’ You can have all the optimism and aspiration in the world, but usually it’s your discipline and focus that will get you success,” Doherty said.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

This book was suggested by Fujitsu Ireland’s Veronica Rahneberg, while Ensono’s Hannah Birch recommended it “for anyone looking to establish and lead a high-performance unit”.

“It adds an alternative perspective on what it takes to create an effective team and after 20 years it still resonates with me,” Birch said.

How To Own The Room – Viv Groskop

How to Own the Room was written as a guide for women to boost brilliant public speaking.

Caroline Goulding, TikTok’s data protection officer, said the book is her “go-to” for whenever she needs a lift before an important speaking engagement.

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love – Marty Cagan

Irish tech veteran David Ryan, who is now the European HQ lead for Sendoso, said this is one book he always goes back to.

“Marty Cagan has timeless advice on how to develop software products and manage the risks involved. It is clear that product management as a career choice is an amazing breeding ground for folks who aspire to be future CEOs in the software sphere.”

Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success – Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis

HP Ireland’s new managing director, Val Gabriel, told us that this was a “great read” about growing a business in the digital space.

“I thought it was so good that I recently bought copies and sent them to my colleagues in the Irish office and around the world,” he added.

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence – Ajay Agrawal, Avi Goldfarb and Joshua Gans

This is another recommendation for tech fans from Sendoso’s David Ryan. “It is a very readable and accessible book, using plain English (and no maths!) to give insight into something that can be seen as daunting,” Ryan told us.

“It is a refreshing, well laid out counterpoint to the many negative views that artificial intelligence is something to be feared rather than embraced.”

The Culture Map – Erin Meyer

The Culture Map is all about breaking through boundaries when it comes to global business.

TikTok’s Caroline Goulding considers it “essential reading” for everyone working in a multinational environment, “where progress and success is highly dependent on the skills to navigate through cultural differences”.

Hot Air – Peter Stott

David Dempsey, who set up Salesforce in Ireland, told us that a lot of his recent reading has been in the area of sustainability and climate action – “especially around climate science and quantifying the role that business must play in keeping the world within our optimal carbon window.”

If you want to find out more, Hot Air by Peter Stott was one of Dempsey’s picks.

The Cold Start Problem – Andrew Chen

Ray Downes of FileCloud recommended this book from “a top-tier VC at Andreessen Horowitz” for its focus on how to scale product companies through network effect.

It features interviews with the founders and teams behind businesses such as Slack, Zoom, Reddit, Twitch and more.

The Queens’ English – Chloe O. Davis

“To mark Pride month in June, our DE&I resource group sent every colleague a copy of The Queens’ English, which is a really witty reference guide to the LGBTQIA+ community’s contributions to the English language,” Pfizer’s Orlaith Gavan told us.

“This was an enjoyable read and I learnt a lot!”

Making Strategy Work – Lawrence Hrebiniak

This book is based on the idea that without effective execution, no business strategy can succeed.

“Hrebiniak uses real-world examples to demonstrate the common failings when it comes to execution and a framework that can be used to overcome them,” said Clanwilliam Group’s Jennifer Hughes.

“Developing successful strategies can be difficult but translating those strategies into solid operational plans and tasks is a skillset in itself. Hrebiniak steps through all the key success factors such as organisational structure, incentives and culture, and offers a systematic road map for success.”

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a name that regularly crops up when we ask for book recommendations as the American professor and author is well known for her work in the area of leadership.

Daring Greatly was suggested to us by Fujitsu Ireland’s Veronica Rahneberg, while Signify Health’s Michelle Concannon said she would read “anything” by Brown. 

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute

Google Cloud’s Helen Kelisky described this as “ an important book for anyone, in any industry, responsible for leading a team”.

“The book offers a really accessible way of understanding how leaders can unpack their own self-deceptions and destructive patterns to improve teamwork, communication and ultimately their style of leadership,” she added.

“The book taught me how vital it is to hold a mirror up to yourself from time to time. If you’re in charge of other people, you must be able to be honest with yourself.”

Measure What Matters – John Doerr

Maxio’s Sally-Ann O’Callaghan said Measure What Matters was one of the recent picks for her company’s book club.

“It was a really interesting and thought-provoking take on the importance of objectives and key results in business and in life,” she added.

Contagious You – Anese Cavanaugh

“Contagious You by Anese Cavanaugh crystallises how a leader’s intentions, energy and presence sets the tone and regardless of where we are in our careers, how we show up matters.”

That’s the review from TikTok’s Caroline Goulding.

The Chimp Paradox – Prof Steve Peters

The Chimp Paradox has become classic for its mind management model.

“The understanding gained from reading this book absolutely has made my decision making better and more informed,” said Alan Leamy of Perigord. “I highly recommend it.”

Freakonomics – Stephen J Dubner and Steven Levitt

Lisa Friedrich, head of SMB for EMEA at TikTok, said this is one of the books she always goes back to as every chapter uses data “to view things through another lens and perceptive”.

“It has always reminded me that different perspectives are important to consider and incorporate into almost every situation.”

Teaming – Amy Edmondson

Fenero’s Sinead Doherty told us how Amy Edmondson has created an “excellent read” focused on how organisations learn and innovate.

“She describes how we need highly effective collaboration through accelerated teaming to rise to demands of today’s complex environment,” Doherty added.

The Art of Strategy – Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff

This book, subtitled ‘A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life’, offers “some great insights into how to think strategically when interacting with other people”.

That’s according to Fiverr’s Bukki Adedapo.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow is another book that has been recommended to us by plenty of leaders over the years. Daniel Kahneman’s work is all about “how we process information, make judgements and take actions”, said Patrick Jordan of Logicalis

“It resonates with me because of the sheer amount of information that everyone has to deal with today and how we deal with people,” he added. “It requires focus and prioritisation.”

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Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic