My Bookshelf


These are books that I have read, that I found useful and that have made a strong impression on me. If you're looking for a good read, these are ones that I would recommend.



Research Methods

Information Systems

  • Mumford, E. (1967): The Computer and the Clerk.

    A classic and a must-read. Before there was the discipline of information systems, Mumford desdcribed how computers affected the work place. We would now call this ethnographic and interpretive research, and it is a great example of that style of research. This should be the first book any student of Information Systems reads.

  • Suchman, L. (2007): Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions (2nd ed.)

    Another foundational class of the Information Systems discpline and a great example of interpretive research. Suchman examines how human interact with and appropriate computers and what this means for the design of technical systems. After Mumford's book, this should be second on every student's reading list.

  • Zuboff, S. (1989): In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power

    Yet another book not written by an Information Systems researcher, yet another great example of research on this topic. Zuboff examines how the introduction of computer systems affects relationships, especially power relationships, in organizations. With Suchman and Mumford, Zuboff is a classic and must-read in the discipline.

  • Coleman, E.G. (2012): Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

    Another book by a non-IS researcher, this is a great in-depth account of the culture of what we now call open-source software, with it's roots in "Hacking". Here, the term "Hacking" denotes the playful exploration of computer software, not the more recent interpretation of malicious cyber attacks. A great example of recent ethnographic research in the IS discipline.

  • Dahlbom, B. and Mathiassen, L. (1993): Computers in Context: The Philosophy and Practice of System Design.

    As the title says, it puts computers in context. Rather than examining the design of information systems from a functional or engineering perspective, this book examines the human and organizational aspects of system design, which are arguably much more important, and much less understood.

  • Checkland, P. and Holwell, S. (1997): Information, Systems, and Information Systems.

    This book is an interesting conceptualization of information technology, away from the technical, engineering-oriented focus, and towards an interpretive, human-oriented perspective. A must read for a different perspective on the discipline.

  • Winograd, T. and Flores, F. (1987): Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design.

    Another classic. This book examines interactions with computers from a cognitive perspective and offers a perspective on user-centric system design.

  • Hirschheim, R., Klein, H.K., and Lyytinen, K. (1995): Information Systems Desvelopment and Data Modeling: Conceptual and Philosophical Foundations.

    This book examines some of the philosophical paradigms underlying IS development and data modeling methods. The authors outline different implications for system development that stem from these paradigms. Another book that moves away from the dominant engineering perspective and offers different perspectives.

  • Norman, D.A. (2002): The Design of Everyday Things.

    While not strictly and Information Systems book, Norman's theories have been very influential in user interface design and interaction design. This book presents an easily readable account of design for usability. Every IS developer and IS student should read this.

  • Norman, D.A. (2002): The Design of Everyday Things.

    While not strictly and Information Systems book, Norman's theories have been very influential in user interface design and interaction design. This book presents an easily readable account of design for usability. Every IS developer and IS student should read this.

  • Yourdon, E. (2003): Death March (2nd ed.)

    An great account of the do's and dont's of IT project management. Inspired by practical experience and provides many personal anecdotes and correspondence from others on this topic. A very good read if you're a project manager (or thinking of becoming one).

  • Brooks, F.P. (1995): The Mythical Man-Month (2nd ed.)

    Brooks writes from experience. This is one of the earliest accounts of IT project management and still very much relevant. This is a short, concise and insightful treatment of many of the issues and problems faced by project managers. Togther with Youdon's book above, these two are easily the most useful books on project management I have come across. While neither is a typical modern textbook, they do capture many of the soft, human, and political issues that are left out by more standard technical treatments on project management.

  • Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., and O'Donnell, S. (2009): Adventures of an IT Leader

    Austin and Nolan are recognized experts on IT management and IT governance. They team up with O'Donnell in this book on IT management and IT leadership for the non-technical manager. Written in the style of a novel, the book touches on many important question, but always from a business, never from a technical perspective. This should be a must-read book in every MBA curriculum. I read this front-to-back in a single afternoon, it's good.

Business Process Management

Cognition and Linguistics

Philosophy of Science, Mind, and Language


  • Zuboff, S (2019): The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.

    An incredibly insightful book into how and why privacy on the internet, and, increasingly, in the physical world is being eroded. Zuboff compellingly argues that every human experience is being digitized in order to sell predictive analytics for our lives. The danger in this is not targeted advertising, but a total and undetectable control of our lives by subtle or not-so-subtle actions being taken by systems to nudge, guide, coax, or force us into certain behaviour. Zuboff presents this as a challenge not only to democracy, but to a human society more generally. This is an incredibly well written, insightful, well documented book, and most of all very, very scary.
  • O'Neill, C (2017): Weapons of Math Destruction.

    A critical look at Big Data and algorithms that increasingly control our lives. O'Neill, who holds a PhD in mathematics, examines the black-box nature of such algorithms, the lack of accountability, and the feedback loops involved in the application of algorithms that increasingly control our lives. Definitely recommended and a much needed critical book on the topic.

  • Russo, R (1998): Straight Man.

    The story of a reluctant chair of an English language department at a small-town university. Hilarity ensues in his dealings with the dean, his colleagues and his family, but also deep and thoughtful. Great read!.

  • Schumacher, J (2015): Dear Committee Members.

    A very witty, tongue-in-cheek description of academic life. Tales of academic life at a minor department at a minor university through a series of fictional letters-of-reference. Many recognizable elements, and very good fun (and quick) to read.

  • Whelan, A., Walker, R. and Moore, C. (eds) (2013): Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education.

    A collection of essays, some serious and some tongue-in-cheek, about how the life is drained from educators and students in higher education, leaving a wasteland of the walking dead. Anyone working in higher education or studying at a university or college will be able to see themselves. Excellent fun read.

  • Pirsig, R.M. (1974): Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    One of the most enjoyable philosophical books I have read. It's captivating and easy to read. My recommendation: Do not analyze it or take it apart sentence by sentence. Read it as a story, not to analyze as a philosophical treatise. It'll still have an effect on you.

  • Pirsig, R.M. (1992): Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

    Different topic, but as good as Zen. Same recommendation: read it as a story, not a treatise.

  • Morgan, G. (2006): Images of Organization (updated ed.)

    This is a classic and must-read for anyone studying business or management or related disciplines. It provides a number of alternatives conceptualizations of what an organization or firm is, besides the traditional functional one, with the alternatives often being more relevant to the practice of management. This should be in every MBA curriculum.

  • Cote, J. and Allahar, A.L. (2007): Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis.

    Everyone working in the North American system knows about what Cote and Allahar write: The pressures from policy makers, administrators, students, parents, and other stakeholders have a negative and often demoralizing effect on tertiary education. This book is an eye-opener for everyone who's not an insider and should be must-read material for future students and their parents.

  • Adams, S. (1997): The Dilbert Principle.

    Scott Adams speaks from experience. You may think this is funny, but everything in this book is how the business world really is. A must-read for every MBA curriculum.