Do I Have to Read the ITIL Books to be an ITIL Expert?

The short answer is, yes!

This is a question that I and other instructors are commonly asked, especially by those students taking their first of a series of ITIL intermediate classes. The long answer to this question is yes, it is expected that an ITIL Expert has read the supporting ITIL core books, possibly more than once. However, it’s fair to point out that very few people read the ITIL core books from cover-to-cover. While I’ve read the core books many times, I tend to do it by reading specific sections related to work that I’m doing at the time. The ITIL books aren’t something that I’ve been able to sit down and read in an afternoon. They’re more something I read parts of over time until eventually I read the entire set of books.

Realistically, how can someone be considered an expert in something if they have no experience in whatever they’re claiming expertise in? ITIL is nothing more than a set of books. If you haven’t spent time reading the books and handling the core material, then very simply put, you’re not an expert.

There is immense value in opening the books and reading what they have to say. In more than one case, I know of organizations that would have saved significant time and money if they had simply stopped arguing about what’s in the ITIL books and actually opened them to take a look at what’s written. The point of the ITIL books is that organizations can save time by referring to information that’s already been documented. It saves them from having to reinvent the wheel and have endless debates that precede many of the things we do in IT organizations.

Being an ITIL Expert isn’t simply about having a nice credential on your resume that is suddenly going to make you eligible for that dream job. Being an ITIL Expert is not only about having read and understood the ITIL core books, it’s also about knowing how to quickly find solutions to an organization’s problems using ITIL. In fact, this is the heart of why an organization would hire an ITIL Expert.

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