A technology book recommendation: The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1UX8AgX.
One thing the writings collected here do makes clear is that he lived that ethos as completely as anyone possibly could, in exploring the world for as much time as he was allowed.
Book description from Google Books:
In his too-short life, Aaron Swartz reshaped the Internet, questioned our assumptions about intellectual property, and touched all of us in ways that we may not even realize. His tragic suicide in 2013 at the age of twenty-six after being aggressively prosecuted for copyright infringement shocked the nation and the world. Here for the first time in print is revealed the quintessential Aaron Swartz: besides being a technical genius and a passionate activist, he was also an insightful, compelling, and cutting essayist. With a technical understanding of the Internet and of intellectual property law surpassing that of many seasoned professionals, he wrote thoughtfully and humorously about intellectual property, copyright, and the architecture of the Internet. He wrote as well about unexpected topics such as pop culture, politics both electoral and idealistic, dieting, and lifehacking. Including three in-depth and previously unpublished essays about education, governance, and cities,The Boy Who Could Change the World contains the life’s work of one of the most original minds of our time.
The book is rated 4.22/5 at goodreads.com, from 215 ratings. See 34 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/235Lx5d.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sALIsI.

A technology book recommendation: The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cMSMzM.
For those reading these words on a computer screen or by the glow of an electric lamp, The Grid throws a welcome light onto the the systems of power generation and distribution that make our society possible.
Book description from Google Books:
America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources–solar, wind, and other alternatives–the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It’s a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the right. And though it might not yet be obvious, this revolution is already well under way.Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the many facets of America’s energy infrastructure, its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The grid, she argues, is an essentially American artifact, one which developed with us: a product of bold expansion, the occasional foolhardy vision, some genius technologies, and constant improvisation. Most of all, her focus is on how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns.The Grid tells–entertainingly, perceptively–the story of what has been called “the largest machine in the world”: its fascinating history, its problematic present, and its potential role in a brighter, cleaner future.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 867 ratings. See 150 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cMT6hW.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tjJwWR.

A technology book recommendation: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyFBj1.
None of this will be new to anyone who read even a couple of pieces about the first Internet bubble. The Ping-Pong tables, the snacks, the beanbag chairs — it’s all very familiar. Lyons doesn’t get below the surface of the place, or get to know anyone…
Book description from Google Books:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Disrupted by Dan Lyons is the best book about Silicon Valley today.”—Los Angeles Times”Hysterical.”—Kara Swisher, Recode “Wildly entertaining.”—Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon MuskFor twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. “I think they just want to hire younger people,” his boss at Newsweek told him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong? HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place … by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; “shower pods” became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the “content factory,” Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on “walking meetings,” and Dan’s absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had “graduated” (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball “chair.”Mixed in with Lyons’s uproarious tale of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them, a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post-collegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to reach an IPO and cash out. With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs,” bloggers and brogrammers, social climbers and sociopaths, Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the (second) tech bubble.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 9009 ratings. See 958 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Xqt3La.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u6kdaw.

A technology book recommendation: Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power for All by Chris Goodall

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2awJF2c.
In Goodall’s view this, coupled with other technological advances in managing demand for electricity, heralds an unstoppable switch away from fossil fuels towards green power. He may be wrong but for anyone interested in the future of energy, this book is well worth reading.
Book description from Google Books:
How will the world be powered in ten years’ time? Not by fossil fuels. Energy experts are all saying the same thing: solar photovoltaics (PV) is our future. Reports from universities, investment banks, international institutions and large investors agree. It’s not about whether the switch from fossil fuels to solar power will happen, but when. Solar panels are being made that will last longer than ever hoped; investors are seeing the benefits of the long-term rewards provided by investing in solar; in the Middle East, a contractor can now offer solar-powered electricity far cheaper than that of a coal-fired power station. The Switch tracks the transition away from coal, oil and gas to a world in which the limitless energy of the sun provides much of the energy the 10 billion people of this planet will need. It examines both the solar future and how we will get there, and the ways in which we will provide stored power when the sun isn’t shining. We learn about artificial photosynthesis from a start-up in the US that is making petrol from just CO2 and sunlight; ideas on energy storage are drawn from a company in Germany that makes batteries for homes; in the UK, a small company in Swindon has the story of wind turbines; and in Switzerland, a developer shows how we can use hydrogen to make ‘renewable’ natural gas for heating. Told through the stories of entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists from around the world, and using the latest research and studies, The Switch provides a positive solution to the climate change crisis, and looks to a brighter future ahead.
The book is rated 4.27/5 at goodreads.com, from 51 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2b3qCty.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2seRqAm.

A technology book recommendation: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyFBj1.
None of this will be new to anyone who read even a couple of pieces about the first Internet bubble. The Ping-Pong tables, the snacks, the beanbag chairs — it’s all very familiar. Lyons doesn’t get below the surface of the place, or get to know anyone…
Book description from Google Books:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Disrupted by Dan Lyons is the best book about Silicon Valley today.”—Los Angeles Times”Hysterical.”—Kara Swisher, Recode “Wildly entertaining.”—Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon MuskFor twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. “I think they just want to hire younger people,” his boss at Newsweek told him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong? HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place … by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; “shower pods” became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the “content factory,” Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on “walking meetings,” and Dan’s absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had “graduated” (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball “chair.”Mixed in with Lyons’s uproarious tale of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them, a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post-collegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to reach an IPO and cash out. With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs,” bloggers and brogrammers, social climbers and sociopaths, Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the (second) tech bubble.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 9000 ratings. See 955 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Xqt3La.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u6kdaw.

A technology book recommendation: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cL5saG.
Mr. Vance tells the stories of both SpaceX and Tesla with intricacy and insight, often stuffing the technological details, for those who are interested, into long footnotes. We come less close to Mr. Musk himself. Though the author interviewed him for several dozen hours, he remains a remote and somewhat chilly figure…
Book description from Google Books:
In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs—a real-life Tony Stark—and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new “makers.”Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius’s life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk—one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history—is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.
The book is rated 4.25/5 at goodreads.com, from 79579 ratings. See 4287 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/25qQOWd.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sQgRbF.

A technology book recommendation: Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cFys0D.
The access he got to the company pushes his breezy account more toward the business than to Ma’s personality. Still, Ma emerges as an unpretentious, self-deprecating leader, fond of quoting martial arts novels and “Forrest Gump.”
Book description from Google Books:
An engrossing, insider’s account of how a teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies—rivaling Walmart & Amazon—and forever reshaped the global economy.In just a decade and half Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers.Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise.How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80% market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions?  How does the Chinese government view its rise?  Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.?Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.
The book is rated 3.94/5 at goodreads.com, from 2705 ratings. See 242 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/25NQ8dz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tROb60.

A technology book recommendation: You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice by Tom Vanderbilt

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2cAmBRp.
After reading You May Also Like, it may be tougher to trust any likes at all. But Vanderbilt does not aim at challenging readers’ tastes; he simply aims at explaining “the way we come to have the tastes we do.” In so doing, he teaches us that we often like – and dislike – for arbitrary, irrational or superficial reasons.
Book description from Google Books:
Why do we get so embarrassed when a colleague wears the same shirt? Why do we eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but seek out novelty at lunch and dinner? How has streaming changed the way Netflix makes recommendations? Why do people think the music of their youth is the best? How can you spot a fake review on Yelp? Our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces – especially in the digital age with its nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars.” Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic, explains why we like the things we like, why we hate the things we hate, and what all this tell us about ourselves.   With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.
The book is rated 3.31/5 at goodreads.com, from 576 ratings. See 124 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2d5PDFN.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2seobhe.

A technology book recommendation: Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1ZDcVUq.
If there’s a technologically minded child in your family, Thing Explainer would be a wonderful gift and a great book to work through together, comparing these diagrams and simple-English explanations to the “proper names” you can easily find online.
Book description from Google Books:
From the creator of the webcomicxkcdand author of the #1New York TimesbestsellerWhat If?, a series of brilliantly and simply! annotated blueprints that explain everything from nuclear bombs to ballpoint pens Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon? Randall Munroe is here to help. In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, ten hundred ) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including: food-heating radio boxes (microwaves)tall roads (bridges)computer buildings (datacenters)the shared space house (the International Space Station)the other worlds around the sun (the solar system)the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates)the pieces everything is made of (the periodic table)planes with turning wings (helicopters)boxes that make clothes smell better (washers and dryers)the bags of stuff inside you (cells)How do these things work? Where do they come from? What would life be like without them? And what would happen if we opened them up, heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? InThing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and so many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone age 5 to 105 who has ever wondered how things work, and why.”
The book is rated 4.14/5 at goodreads.com, from 5285 ratings. See 552 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Jjzv2E.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tXMXCd.

A technology book recommendation: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyFBj1.
None of this will be new to anyone who read even a couple of pieces about the first Internet bubble. The Ping-Pong tables, the snacks, the beanbag chairs — it’s all very familiar. Lyons doesn’t get below the surface of the place, or get to know anyone…
Book description from Google Books:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Disrupted by Dan Lyons is the best book about Silicon Valley today.”—Los Angeles Times”Hysterical.”—Kara Swisher, Recode “Wildly entertaining.”—Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon MuskFor twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. “I think they just want to hire younger people,” his boss at Newsweek told him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong? HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place … by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; “shower pods” became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the “content factory,” Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on “walking meetings,” and Dan’s absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had “graduated” (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball “chair.”Mixed in with Lyons’s uproarious tale of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them, a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post-collegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to reach an IPO and cash out. With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs,” bloggers and brogrammers, social climbers and sociopaths, Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the (second) tech bubble.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 8615 ratings. See 915 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Xqt3La.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u6kdaw.