16 technology books you should read

If books can remove the fear and prejudices, this is my attempt to help people understand and cope with the technological changes taking place within politics, media, academia, law, etc.

Fear of openness, fear of collaboration, fear of “the people, formerly known as the audience” is something I hear quite frequently. I was asked to recommend some technology books  yesterday, that is why I have compiled some of my tech favorites  (also inspired by a blog post I read a long time ago by Espen Anderson, who listed his Technology Canon):

To get the big picture, read these four:

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

For law and technology:

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Lawrence Lessig (you should also check out his other and more recent books)

The Control Revolution by James Beniger (heavy, but a real eyeopener for me, demonstrate how the changes we see today can be traced back to the industrial revolution)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi (about the 2004 Howard Dean campaign that prepared the tech ground for the Obama campaign)

The First Campaign by Garrett M. Graff (about digital campaigning)

Digital McLuhan by Paul Levinson (Marshall McLuhan didn’t talk about television, he talked about the Internet!)

We the Media by Dan Gillmor (Gilmor was one of the earliest observers of the revolutionary changes we today see in the media business)

Blogging by Jill Walker Rettberg (all the blogging basics you need to know)

Virtual Culture edited by Steven G. Jones (you think Facebook is fascinating? Did you know that the first virtual rape took place in MUD called LambdaMoo in 1993?)

Information Rules by Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian (I really enjoyed this when I read it back in 2001, but I haven’t checked how good those rules apply with the financial crisis…)

Right now, I’m reading three very promising books:

Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott (who is talking at the Lisbon Council in Brussels on Monday Feb 2!)

Future of the Internet – and How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee

Do you have suggestions for books I should add to the list?

I am completely aware that this list is horrible male dominated and Americanized – help me balance it out!

14 thoughts on “16 technology books you should read

  1. Sorry, no balance, but it has to be Ambient Findability by Peter Moreville

    Another, slightly outdated but still worth a read is
    MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer by Hillman Curtis (MTIV = Making the Invisible Visible)

    Question: everyone is so in live with Marshall McLuhan for what he said, but who is his contemporary? Who is getting the future right now?

  2. a great list it seems – some titles I need to check out. For the list to be complete I would have to have at least MM’s Laws of Media. I would also want to see Neil Postman – Techopoly.

    But thanks for the list you have posted

  3. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, keep posting, and this will become a very usefull resource.
    Grapplica – a good friend of mine, Anne Juel Jørgensen, is a huge Groundswell fan, so I bought the book on her recommendation (haven’t had time to read it yet…)

    Let me know if you post your own “10 technology books you should read” so we can compare notes.

  4. Great list, Bente – many of those books would be on my top ten list too (perhaps I should compile one!)

    A book I must reread but that I loved when I read it several years ago is Sadie Plant’s Zeroes + Ones. It’s “a provocative and inspiring manifesto on the relationship between women and machines”, the back cover says. Written very differently to the standard tech books, it’s sort of like a history of computers that emphasises all the women. Trying to skim it now I can see there’s lots of perhaps irrelevant things as well, and it’s all written in a very particular voice – hm, I should probably reread it before really recommending it, but I do remember loving it when I read it. And its difference from the standard male narratives of technology was startling to me.

    Mind you, I really enjoy the standard male narratives of technology.

  5. Blueclock, you mentioned Marshall McLuhan, and asked who could be a contemporary alternative. That is a tough question, but I thought it was interesting to read that Douglas Coupland, one of my favorite (tech) writers and a good contemporary thinker, is working on a biography of Marshall McLuhan. A must-read for me, who wrote about McLuhan in my thesis.

  6. Pingback: Tips til bøker og artikler om den sosiale veven! (List of resources on the Social Web) « Lindas mediehjørne

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