Welcome to ITWC’s August 2018 community slideshow! Every month we ask leaders in the Canadian technology industry about a general life topic as a fun way to know the community a little better. This month we’re talking about one of our favourite topics of discussion at the ITWC headquarters, books!

Did you know that the average North American reads only twelve books per year? Twelve books! Surprising right? And according to a recent study, the median is actually closer to four books per year. Well, knowing our community, it’s no surprise that these tech leaders are constantly reading, far surpassing the average North American.

With summer heating up, many people are taking time to lounge by the pool or on the beach to enjoy the sun and a good read. That left us thinking: What is currently on your summer reading list?

Read on for answers from  SOTI, Google Cloud, IBM and more. We’d love to hear your thoughts, use the hashtag #CommunityQuestion and join the conversation.


Carl Rodrigues, President and CEO of SOTI Inc.

“I’ve always had an interest in learning about early innovators and how they used their thinking to change the world. I believe there’s always something valuable to learn from the journey of those who have paved the way for our industry’s capabilities. Right now, I am reading Nikola Tesla’s autobiography, My Inventions, and Other Writings.

“It’s a fascinating look at his life and work. We don’t often credit Tesla for all of his contributions, but I think this book really highlights the unique vision he saw for the future.”


Jim Lambe, country director of Google Cloud for Canada

“Next on my reading list is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

The recommendation came from Jean-Michel Lemieux, SVP of engineering at Shopify. “It’s a fascinating story of humanity and ‘JML’ talks abstractly about it, and I need to understand why he talks about it so much.”

Neil Cawse, CEO of Geotab

Neil Cawse (left), CEO of Geotab poses with his vice-president of data and analytics Mike Branch at Google Next in San Francisco.

“I’m currently reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, which is the sequel to Sapiens. It’s a very interesting book describing why we do the things we do. The book tackles the big questions – why do we have war? How do our emotions impact our actions? It gives you great insights into understanding what emotions are there in the first place and that helps you control your own emotions.”


John Reid, CEO, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)

“Summer means cottage time at Trout Lake in the Quebec town of Fort Coulonge, and yes one of my goals is catching up on my reading list. It has been a worthy goal for years, but reality says differently. Have you ever tried to concentrate on anything when surrounded by energetic grandchildren with limitless appetites for leisure and food? My reading list, at the very best, is keeping up with google news, which I share with all over beer, chips and a good hamburger. You have to love summer!”

Charlotte Wang, Chief Technology Officer, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada

“I’m a city dweller, and love to find a quiet corner in my backyard to get lost in a good book.  This summer, I am focusing on a few different themes. My career began in the Canadian Navy, and I’m going back to my roots with Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet. This is a true story of how one captain brought the morale of his ship’s fleet from bottom to top by challenging traditional leadership strategies. His learnings are invaluable for me as a CTO at IBM and leading a team of ambitious and talented high achievers.

“At the other end of the spectrum, I’m reading The Truth About Your Future – The Money Guide You Need Now, Later, and Much Later by Ric Edelman.  Ric takes an interesting angle on the digital disruption and reinvention, by discussing how it affects the way we invest our personal finances.

“Lastly, if you haven’t heard of Don Tapscott, I highly recommended looking him up. He is a leading authority on technology and business. His book is called Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.”


Paul Struthers, EVP & Managing Director, Sage Canada

“Some of my favourite books that I plan to revisit include First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently; Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough; and Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance, as I love the great insights and inspiring details on how Musk has innovated and pushed boundaries.

“I have three daughters, so I’m definitely on board with pushing the diversity agenda globally, and I think Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World by Joann S. Lublin would be a great read for me on this topic.

“Some other titles I plan to get to include Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss and The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.”

…And Bill Gates

No, we didn’t actually interview the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist (pictured above, with current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, at a 2016 event in Vancouver), but he technically answered our question on his blog in May, so we’d be silly not to include his suggestions here.

Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson: “Isaacson does the best job I’ve seen of pulling together the different strands of Leonardo’s life and explaining what made him so exceptional.”
Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders: “I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Abraham Lincoln, but this novel made me rethink parts of his life.”
Origin Story: A Big History of Everything, by David Christian
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund



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