The Phoenix Project

Author Gene Kim
Published 2013
Rating 9/10
ISBN 0988262592
Status Finished on 2020-09-15

This book is terrific at a conceptual level. It is absolutely a didactic non-fiction book about management (you could say it’s a book about IT or a book about DevOps but it examines both topics through the lens of managements) set in a fictional setting — you follow an IT manager who gets promoted out of his depth as he fights fires over the course of a few months.

Now, the prose isn’t good. The characters are largely either caricatures or roadblocks; the trials and tribulations are just-so and elide the tricky details in favor of obvious messages and takeaways. But this book is so much better than it could have been: it was readable and digestible specifically because it uses narrative rather than a list of commandments.

It apparently stole this style [and admits to doing so!] from The Goal, which I’ve added next to my list. So I feel guilty giving the book this much credit, but not that guilty.


Provider, parent, spouse, change agent.

Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work.