Tom MacWright

I read The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford on


It’s a business novel. It’s written by three three authors, and published by “IT Revolution Press.”

And it’s actually good. I read this on Ben’s recommendation and was truly shocked by how much I enjoyed it.

One interesting thing about The Phoenix Project is that if you work at a startup company, you’ve probably already followed some of the best practices. So when it closes in on the last chapters and explains how these folks were going to solve their business and tech problems, you’ll recognize the solutions: things like continuous deployment. But I still felt better-informed because this gives you such a clear picture for why we do the things we do, what their inverses are, and how it all extends into the larger organization.

I’d highly recommend it if you aim to be manage engineering teams. As a novel, it’s colorless but mostly inoffensive, and impressively avoids too didactic.

My one gripe with the framing is the military thing. Why are business books so hot for the military? Why are three characters ‘military men,’ when it does precisely nothing for the book? Can’t we find another role to exalt just in case your target reader has some mixed feelings about militarism? Maybe the understudy finds a point of commonality with the guru in that they were both in the Peace Corps, or they both learned something about responsibility by caring for an ailing parent? Really - business authors, hear my cry: less troops.


  • The Phoenix Project by
  • ISBN: 0988262592
  • ISBN13: 9780988262591
  • OCLC: 1001840470
  • Look up with:
  • Published:
  • Publisher: IT Revolution Press