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September 24, 2012

Quote: "I Used to Hate 'The Phoenix Project' Until I Realized it Was About Me"

By Gene Kim

“The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win,” coming out in January 15, 2013, has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on.  The feedback from our early reviewers often included comments like, “You must have been hiding in a closet somewhere in our organization, because you’ve described our situation almost exactly.”

Charlie Betz told me that it was like a “slasher flick for IT,” resembling Stephen King more than our mutual hero Dr. Elityahu Goldratt, who wrote the book, “The Goal,” which our book is definitely modeled after.  In fact, each of the main characters of the book are a synthesis of many real people, which is why I believe they resonate so well with readers.

Which leads me to one of the most interesting comments I’ve received, which came from a very good friend of mine, Paul Love.  He was a co-author of the “Visible Ops Security” book, and I’ve been studying him since I first met him when we was at Schlumberger-SEMA in 1999.

You’d think that since Paul and I have so much in common, he’d really like “The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win”, right?

Boy, was I surprised…  In short, he said he not only hated it, but that he got angry reading it, and even was angry at me.  Here’s what he wrote:

“When I first read The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, John made me angry. As a 20 year security veteran, John’s [the CISO in the book] totally selfish ‘my way or the highway’ attitude actually made me physically mad. Who did this guy think he was anyway?  Why was Gene painting the infosec practitioner in such an unflattering light?

After finishing the book, I took a moment to look back on my career. Thinking of all of the people like John who I’d run into and worked with over the year I realized, with a little bit of terror, why I hated him so much.

Before I studied Visible Ops and DevOps, I was John.

It wasn’t until 2004 that I truly internalized that security is a part of the business, not against it. I didn’t want to see that pre-2004 self described in print so vividly. Gene, Kevin, and George have really hit it on the head. In order for IT and the business to succeed, we’ve got to realize that Security and the rest of the company are not at odds. It’s crucial that we learn to work together.”

Paul and I have laughed about this frequently, and his comments have been one of my favorites about the novel to date.

You can learn more about the novel and even pre-order it here.

- About The Authors
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Gene Kim

Award winning CTO, researcher, and author.

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