The new best book for introducing yourself to ITIL V3

The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle is a great book, very useful. It is the book that ITIL Version 3 needed. But now there is another official book produced by OGC that may just be a better place for ITIL Version 3 beginners to start.

I'm talking about Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam - The Official Study Aid. It is fresh out of the pan, [updated:]now on Amazon.

[Update: Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam is now updated to 2009 syllabus]

The Official Introduction is the book ITIL 3 needed. The five core books may prove to be an excellent reference - time will tell - but they are hardly accessible. There was no user-friendly way to get your arms around ITIL until Sharon Taylor produced the introduction. Some people think it explains some concepts better than the core books do. Certainly it attempts to make Service Strategy accessible to mere mortals which is no mean feat.

But before you buy The Official Introduction, consider buying Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam. As an upcoming review on ITSM-Watch will point out, it is the same size, half the price, and covers much the same territory, only even MORE lightly. And of course it includes sample exam questions to check whether you are actually getting the hang of it or not.

The Foundation Exam study guide may prove to be all you need. If you need more, read The Official Introduction. If that isn't enough, then there's nothing else for it: you'll need to plunge into the five core books of ITIL V3, the "Lifecycle Suite".


Alternative comprehensive sources on ITIL V3

Dear Skeptic,
you may be right, stating that one could limit the ITIL study to reading an introduction, but you final statement is definitely wrong: "If that isn't enough, then there's nothing else for it: you'll need to plunge into the five core books of ITIL V3." There definitely is something else available.

Since 1999 the itSMF has produced comprehensive summaries of the essential parts of ITIL, in books like "ITSM - An Introduction based on ITIL", "Foundations of ITSM based on ITIL", and "ITSM - a pocket guide based on ITIL". In these books, the core ITIL publications were summarized, the content was re-ordered into a stable and logical structure, the missing elements were added in analogy with the rest of the books, and the contradictions were repaired (or avoided). Moreover: these books have always been reviewed and optimized by large numbers of practitioners to make sure they were acceptable in practice. The books have been made available in up to 13 languages and I may be speaking for myself, but I think they have contributed significantly to the distribution of ITIL over this world as an industry standard.

As you may expect, the ITIL V3 books have been summarized in the same logical way as with V2, providing comprehensive information on ITIL V3, in a very structured way, avoiding/repairing inconsistencies, reviewed by large numbers of experts, etcetera.

So there are more sources available on V3 then the ones you mentioned. The ITIL V3 Foundations book has even been available since September 2007.

Information on these books can be found at the itSMF website:
- IT Service Management Based on ITIL V3 - A Pocket Guide:
- Foundations of IT Service Management Based on ITIL V3:
- IT Service Management - An Introduction based on ISO 20000 and ITIL V3:

As described above, there are some significant differences of the first two with the TSO publications, but one of the most appealing ones may be the separation of the lifecycle information from the processes/functions details, to ensure the applicability of the material for organizations that are interested in either approach. The third publication combines the V3 info of the Foundations book with an overview of ISO/IEC 20000 and the 25 most relevant standards and frameworks in IT (service/quality) management.

I think that - for reasons of balance and correctness - this information shouldn't be withheld from the visitors & participants of this blog.
Jan van Bon
managing editor ITSM Library for ITSMF International

study Shakespeare by reading the commentaries and not the plays

Despite the commercial aspects of your post Jan [please let's not hear from every publisher of ITIL supplementary books], you are right - these books are deserving of attention. Somehow for historical reasons they've escaped mine in the past with the exception of the useful original itSMF pocket guides.

However I disagree that one would study them instead of the ITIL core books. That's a bit like saying one could study Shakespeare by reading only the commentaries and not the plays. The ITSM books help one through ITIL - I don't see that they replace it. I'm prepared to be wrong on this and maybe I'll get to read the ITSM library this year.

Mistakes in the book

Whilst I agree that the "How to Pass your V3 Foundation exam" book has lots of good stuff in it, well written, the earlier editions at least had some glaring errors. (As I pointed out in my post of November 30th). The answers to 4 of the mock exam questions are wrong. After this was pointed out, the books now come with an erratum slip, or you can print your own (see the itsmfi website). The later editions have been corrected apparently, but check which edition you have bought!
This seems to be due to poor quality control in this, as in so many aspects of the V3 examinations.
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

for the price it is a good place to start

Yes, my review of the book discusses the errors (actually the errata only corrects three of them), as well as two other concerns with the book that lead me to say: may be the first serious exam they have seen since high school. So, often there is a certain level of nervousness. This book is designed to help allay that nervousness.

The first edition of Passing your ITIL Foundation Exam may have the opposite effect

Nevertheless, for the price it is a good place to start, even if it would be better to wait for the second edition.

Book Review: Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam

My review of the new Official Study Guide is now on ITSM-Watch

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