A technology book recommendation: Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Erica Wagner

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2D7bCcp.
Along with Emily’s presence, Washington’s dry wit and even tone give life and personality to Wagner’s already enjoyable prose. The book is also peppered with cheerfully informative footnotes.
Book description from Google Books:
The first full biography of a crucial figure in the American story–Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge.”I know that nothing can be done perfectly at the first trial; I also know that each day brings its little quota of experiences, which with honest intentions, will lead to perfection after a while.” –Washington RoeblingHis father conceived of the Brooklyn Bridge, but after John Roebling’s sudden death, Washington Roebling built what has become one of American’s most iconic structures–as much a part of New York as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Yet, as recognizable as the bridge is, its builder is too often forgotten–and his life is of interest far beyond his chosen field. It is the story of immigrants, of the frontier, of the greatest crisis in American history, and of the making of the modern world. Forty years after the publication of The Great Bridge, David McCullough’s classic chronicle of how the East River was spanned, Erica Wagner has written a fascinating biography of one of America’s most distinguished engineers, a man whose long life was a model of courage in the face of extraordinary adversity. Chief Engineer is enriched by Roebling’s own eloquent voice, unveiled in his recently-discovered memoir that was previously thought lost to history.The memoir reveals that his father, John-a renowned engineer who made his life in America after humble beginnings in Germany-was a tyrannical presence in Washington’s life, so his own adoption of that career was hard won. A young man when the Civil War broke out, Washington joined the Union Army, building bridges that carried soldiers across rivers and seeing action in many pivotal battles, from Antietam to Gettysburg-aspects of his life never before fully brought to light. Safely returned, he married the remarkable Emily Warren Roebling, who would play a crucial role in the construction of the unprecedented Brooklyn Bridge. It would be Washington Roebling’s grandest achievement-but by no means the only one.Elegantly written with a compelling narrative sweep, Chief Engineer will introduce Washington Roebling and his era to a new generation of readers.
The book is rated 4.04/5 at goodreads.com, from 27 ratings. See 7 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2BZkce6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BZkm5c.

A technology book recommendation: The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace by Alexander Klimburg

A critic review (source Toronto Star) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2D7oEqv.
The 2016 election is a cautionary tale and just one reason why The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace is indispensable reading for anyone keen to understand what lies ahead as cyberspace displaces conventional battlefields as the preferred venue for resolving conflict.
Book description from Google Books:
“A chilling but well-informed and readable tour of cyber interdependence. Anyone interested in our growing global vulnerabilities should read this book.”–Joseph S. Nye, Jr., author of The Future of Power No single invention of the last half century has changed the way we live now as much as the Internet. Alexander Klimburg was a member of the generation for whom it was a utopian ideal turned reality: a place where ideas, information, and knowledge could be shared and new freedoms found and enjoyed. Two decades later, the future isn’t so bright any more: increasingly, the Internet is used as a weapon and a means of domination by states eager to exploit or curtail global connectivity in order to further their national interests. Klimburg is a leading voice in the conversation on the implications of this dangerous shift, and in The Darkening Web, he explains why we underestimate the consequences of states’ ambitions to project power in cyberspace at our peril: Not only have hacking and cyber operations fundamentally changed the nature of political conflict–ensnaring states in a struggle to maintain a precarious peace that could rapidly collapse into all-out war–but the rise of covert influencing and information warfare has enabled these same global powers to create and disseminate their own distorted versions of reality in which anything is possible. At stake are not only our personal data or the electrical grid, but the Internet as we know it today–and with it the very existence of open and democratic societies. Blending anecdote with argument, Klimburg brings us face-to-face with the range of threats the struggle for cyberspace presents, from an apocalyptic scenario of debilitated civilian infrastructure to a 1984-like erosion of privacy and freedom of expression. Focusing on different approaches to cyber-conflict in the US, Russia and China, he reveals the extent to which the battle for control of the Internet is as complex and perilous as the one surrounding nuclear weapons during the Cold War–and quite possibly as dangerous for humanity as a whole. Authoritative, thought-provoking, and compellingly argued, The Darkening Web makes clear that the debate about the different aspirations for cyberspace is nothing short of a war over our global values.
The book is rated 3.42/5 at goodreads.com, from 72 ratings. See 18 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2C2drrN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2C2dDY3.

A technology book recommendation: Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Erica Wagner

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2D7bCcp.
Along with Emily’s presence, Washington’s dry wit and even tone give life and personality to Wagner’s already enjoyable prose. The book is also peppered with cheerfully informative footnotes.
Book description from Google Books:
The first full biography of a crucial figure in the American story–Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge.”I know that nothing can be done perfectly at the first trial; I also know that each day brings its little quota of experiences, which with honest intentions, will lead to perfection after a while.” –Washington RoeblingHis father conceived of the Brooklyn Bridge, but after John Roebling’s sudden death, Washington Roebling built what has become one of American’s most iconic structures–as much a part of New York as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Yet, as recognizable as the bridge is, its builder is too often forgotten–and his life is of interest far beyond his chosen field. It is the story of immigrants, of the frontier, of the greatest crisis in American history, and of the making of the modern world. Forty years after the publication of The Great Bridge, David McCullough’s classic chronicle of how the East River was spanned, Erica Wagner has written a fascinating biography of one of America’s most distinguished engineers, a man whose long life was a model of courage in the face of extraordinary adversity. Chief Engineer is enriched by Roebling’s own eloquent voice, unveiled in his recently-discovered memoir that was previously thought lost to history.The memoir reveals that his father, John-a renowned engineer who made his life in America after humble beginnings in Germany-was a tyrannical presence in Washington’s life, so his own adoption of that career was hard won. A young man when the Civil War broke out, Washington joined the Union Army, building bridges that carried soldiers across rivers and seeing action in many pivotal battles, from Antietam to Gettysburg-aspects of his life never before fully brought to light. Safely returned, he married the remarkable Emily Warren Roebling, who would play a crucial role in the construction of the unprecedented Brooklyn Bridge. It would be Washington Roebling’s grandest achievement-but by no means the only one.Elegantly written with a compelling narrative sweep, Chief Engineer will introduce Washington Roebling and his era to a new generation of readers.
The book is rated 4.04/5 at goodreads.com, from 27 ratings. See 7 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2BZkce6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BZkm5c.

A technology book recommendation: The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age by Andrew O’Hagan

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2j7eluY.
This book is too fragmentary and recycled to be a definitive encounter with the internet. Only a brief foreword and a few updated sections are new material. And O’Hagan’s position in the pieces – as the invited confidant of his subjects – ultimately feels too comfortable.
Book description from Google Books:
A Top 10 Book of Essays & Literary Criticism for Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly | Books We Can’t Wait to Read in the Rest of 2017, Chicago ReaderThe slippery online ecosystem is the perfect breeding ground for identities: true, false, and in between. The Internet shorthand IRL—“in real life”—now seems naïve. We no longer question the reality of online experiences but the reality of selfhood in the digital age.In The Secret Life: Three True Stories, the essayist and novelist Andrew O’Hagan issues three bulletins from the porous border between cyberspace and IRL. “Ghosting” introduces us to the beguiling and divisive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose autobiography the author agrees to ghostwrite with unforeseen—and unforgettable—consequences. “The Invention of Ronnie Pinn” finds the author using the actual identity of a deceased young man to construct an entirely new one in cyberspace, leading him on a journey deep into the Web’s darkest realms. And “The Satoshi Affair” chronicles the strange case of Craig Wright, the Australian Web developer who may or may not be the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto—and who may or may not be willing, or even able, to reveal the truth.O’Hagan’s searching pieces take us to the weirder fringes of life in a digital world while also casting light on our shared predicaments. What does it mean when your very sense of self becomes, to borrow a term from the tech world, “disrupted”? Perhaps it takes a novelist, an inventor of selves, armed with the tools of a trenchant reporter, to find an answer.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 103 ratings. See 27 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2BtcDuN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2BsuSQW.

A technology book recommendation: Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People by Michael Strangelove

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2BrQ5ug.
The research in Watching YouTube – namely the interpretations of the website’s content and its statistics (daily uploaded videos total about 350,000) – make it an overdue and lively read for the knowledgeable trend-watcher. But the book’s strength is its high level of scholarly analysis…
Book description from Google Books:
An anonymous musician plays Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar in a clip that has been viewed over sixty million times. The Dramatic Gopher is viewed over sixteen million times, as is a severely inebriated David Hasselhoff attempting to eat a hamburger. Over 800 variations, parodies, and parodies-of-parodies are uploaded of Beyonce Knowles’ Single Ladies dance. Tay Zonday sings Chocolate Rain in a video viewed almost forty million times and scores himself a record deal. Obama Girl enters the political arena with contributions such as I Got a Crush on Obama and gets coverage in mainstream news networks. In Watching YouTube, Michael Strangelove provides a broad overview of the world of amateur online videos and the people who make them. Dr. Strangelove, the Governor General Literary Award-nominated author that Wired Magazine called a ‘guru of Internet advertising, ‘ describes how online digital video is both similar to and different from traditional home-movie-making and argues that we are moving into a post-television era characterized by mass participation. Strangelove draws from television, film, cultural, and media studies to help define an entirely new field of research. Online practices of representation, confessional video diaries, gendered uses of amateur video, and debates over elections, religion, and armed conflicts make up the bulk of this groundbreaking study, which is supplemented by an online blog at strangelove.com/blog. An innovative and timely study, Watching YouTube raises questions about the future of cultural memory, identity, politics, warfare, and family life when everyday representational practices are altered by four billion cameras in the hands of ordinary people.
The book is rated 3.48/5 at goodreads.com, from 42 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2j8ffY0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2j7tSej.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A technology book recommendation: Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People by Michael Strangelove

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2BrQ5ug.
The research in Watching YouTube – namely the interpretations of the website’s content and its statistics (daily uploaded videos total about 350,000) – make it an overdue and lively read for the knowledgeable trend-watcher. But the book’s strength is its high level of scholarly analysis…
Book description from Google Books:
An anonymous musician plays Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar in a clip that has been viewed over sixty million times. The Dramatic Gopher is viewed over sixteen million times, as is a severely inebriated David Hasselhoff attempting to eat a hamburger. Over 800 variations, parodies, and parodies-of-parodies are uploaded of Beyonce Knowles’ Single Ladies dance. Tay Zonday sings Chocolate Rain in a video viewed almost forty million times and scores himself a record deal. Obama Girl enters the political arena with contributions such as I Got a Crush on Obama and gets coverage in mainstream news networks. In Watching YouTube, Michael Strangelove provides a broad overview of the world of amateur online videos and the people who make them. Dr. Strangelove, the Governor General Literary Award-nominated author that Wired Magazine called a ‘guru of Internet advertising, ‘ describes how online digital video is both similar to and different from traditional home-movie-making and argues that we are moving into a post-television era characterized by mass participation. Strangelove draws from television, film, cultural, and media studies to help define an entirely new field of research. Online practices of representation, confessional video diaries, gendered uses of amateur video, and debates over elections, religion, and armed conflicts make up the bulk of this groundbreaking study, which is supplemented by an online blog at strangelove.com/blog. An innovative and timely study, Watching YouTube raises questions about the future of cultural memory, identity, politics, warfare, and family life when everyday representational practices are altered by four billion cameras in the hands of ordinary people.
The book is rated 3.48/5 at goodreads.com, from 42 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2j8ffY0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2j7tSej.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A technology book recommendation: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower by Yaakov Katz

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iyP4c1.
With many of Israel’s military technological innovations employed by its American military counterparts (and with the U.S. military industry also involved in joint development programs), this book offers welcome insights into welcome achievements.
Book description from Google Books:
“A lively account of Israel’s evolving military prowess…if The Weapon Wizards were a novel, it would be one written by Horatio Alger; if it were a biblical allegory, it would be the story of David and Goliath.” —The New York Times Book ReviewFrom drones to satellites, missile defense systems to cyber warfare, Israel is leading the world when it comes to new technology being deployed on the modern battlefield. The Weapon Wizards shows how this tiny nation of 8 million learned to adapt to the changes in warfare and in the defense industry and become the new prototype of a 21st century superpower, not in size, but rather in innovation and efficiency—and as a result of its long war experience. Sitting on the front lines of how wars are fought in the 21st century, Israel has developed in its arms trade new weapons and retrofitted old ones so they remain effective, relevant, and deadly on a constantly-changing battlefield. While other countries begin to prepare for these challenges, they are looking to Israel—and specifically its weapons—for guidance. Israel is, in effect, a laboratory for the rest of the world. How did Israel do it? And what are the military and geopolitical implications of these developments? These are some of the key questions Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot address. Drawing on a vast amount of research, and unparalleled access to the Israeli defense establishment, this book is a report directly from the front lines.
The book is rated 4.26/5 at goodreads.com, from 144 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwB9TC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h6x7kw.

A technology book recommendation: The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower by Yaakov Katz

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iyP4c1.
With many of Israel’s military technological innovations employed by its American military counterparts (and with the U.S. military industry also involved in joint development programs), this book offers welcome insights into welcome achievements.
Book description from Google Books:
“A lively account of Israel’s evolving military prowess…if The Weapon Wizards were a novel, it would be one written by Horatio Alger; if it were a biblical allegory, it would be the story of David and Goliath.” —The New York Times Book ReviewFrom drones to satellites, missile defense systems to cyber warfare, Israel is leading the world when it comes to new technology being deployed on the modern battlefield. The Weapon Wizards shows how this tiny nation of 8 million learned to adapt to the changes in warfare and in the defense industry and become the new prototype of a 21st century superpower, not in size, but rather in innovation and efficiency—and as a result of its long war experience. Sitting on the front lines of how wars are fought in the 21st century, Israel has developed in its arms trade new weapons and retrofitted old ones so they remain effective, relevant, and deadly on a constantly-changing battlefield. While other countries begin to prepare for these challenges, they are looking to Israel—and specifically its weapons—for guidance. Israel is, in effect, a laboratory for the rest of the world. How did Israel do it? And what are the military and geopolitical implications of these developments? These are some of the key questions Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot address. Drawing on a vast amount of research, and unparalleled access to the Israeli defense establishment, this book is a report directly from the front lines.
The book is rated 4.26/5 at goodreads.com, from 144 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwB9TC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h6x7kw.

A technology book recommendation: Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2xJ3Nqm.
It’s a sign of how slavish the world built by Silicon Valley has become. Taplin’s own experience with Ohanian should show us just how dangerous it is to be dependent on the goodwill of spoiled brats.
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Longlisted for Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2017 A stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the Internet by Google, Facebook and Amazon, and that proposes a new future for musicians, journalists, authors and filmmakers in the digital age.Move Fast and Break Things is the riveting account of a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs who in the 1990s began to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms–Facebook, Amazon, and Google–that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: overlooking piracy of books, music, and film while hiding behind opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users in order to create the surveillance-marketing monoculture in which we now live. The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70 percent; book publishing, film, and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Today, Google’s YouTube controls 60 percent of all streaming-audio business but pay for only 11 percent of the total streaming-audio revenues artists receive. More creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is flowing to the creators and owners of that content.With the reallocation of money to monopoly platforms comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook, and Amazon now enjoy political influence on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which in part explains how such a tremendous shift in revenues from artists to platforms could have been achieved and why it has gone unchallenged for so long.The stakes here go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, as well as music and other forms of entertainment, from a small group of companies poses a real threat to democracy. Move Fast and Break Things offers a vital, forward-thinking prescription for how artists can reclaim their audiences using knowledge of the past and a determination to work together. Using his own half-century career as a music and film producer and early pioneer of streaming video online, Taplin offers new ways to think about the design of the World Wide Web and specifically the way we live with the firms that dominate it.
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 312 ratings. See 65 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yrJmBI.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yDPI1i.

A technology book recommendation: We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data by Curtis White

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/1ViP4YU.
Discursive, scholarly, and crackling with intensity, We, Robots works best as a jolt of self-awareness, a circuit breaker for the narratives that we often unconsciously allow our lives to follow…
Book description from Google Books:
In the tradition of Jaron Lanier s “You Are Not a Gadget,” a rousing, sharply argued and, yes, inspiring! reckoning with our blind faith in technology Can technology solve all our problems? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many of our most famous journalists, pundits, and economists seem to think so. According to them, intelligent machines and big data will free us from work, educate our children, transform our environment, and even make religion more user-friendly. This is the story they re telling us: that we should stop worrying and love our robot future. But just because you tell a story over and over again doesn t make it true. Curtis White, one of our most brilliant and perceptive social critics, knows all about the danger of a seductive story, and in “We, Robots,” he tangles with the so-called thinkers who are convinced that the future is rose-colored and robotically enhanced. With tremendous erudition and a punchy wit, White argues that we must be skeptical of anyone who tries to sell us on technological inevitability. And he gives us an alternative set of stories: taking inspiration from artists as disparate as Sufjan Stevens, Lars von Trier, and Francois Rabelais, White shows us that by looking to art, we can imagine a different kind of future. No robots required.”
The book is rated 3.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 58 ratings. See 11 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1ViP4Z2.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yAwMAr.