With the aim of writing a fairly light-hearted festive post, we here at Lemon Studios got to thinking what books we might like to see in our Christmas stockings this year. The top five that follows features some new releases and some modern-day classics we believe all mobile, online and digital entrepreneurs/programmers/coworkers should read if they have not yet done so. If you have any other suggestions, please post a comment.
1. The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
The latest release from Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember, is an exploration into the psychological effects of an online world on ourselves and those around us. However, despite the rather gloomy notion that the web could be ‘fostering ignorance’ Carr doesn’t seem to yearn for a rose-tinted pre-internet age. Instead, The Shallows works to highlight the added value of internet-information if we learn to process it with both the long and short term in mind.
2. Hackers & Painters by Paul Graham
Paul Graham’s collection of essays, Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age: Essays on the Art of Programming, deal with a diverse range of topics from life as a nerd at school to more technical aspects of spam filtering and programming (Graham himself is an acclaimed programmer responsible most famously for his work on Yahoo! Store). This book, therefore, should appeal to those with an interest in programming – as well as the important role of programmers and hackers in both small and large business environments today.
3. Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business and Everyday Life has become something of a classic since its release in 2002. This introduction to network science is a must-read for those who are as interested in online social networks as they are the more general ways we share ideas and information with those around us. And as the world becomes increasingly connected across multiple channels, Linked seems as relevant for 2011 as it was upon its release.
4. Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age in many ways follows on from the ideas established by Shirky in his 2009 book Here Comes Everybody. Yet, moving away from discussions of Wikipedia and the crowd established in Here Comes…, Cognitive Surplus is more focussed on how developments in technology are stimulating our desire to make the world a better place by harking back to ideas of community and collaboration – values that were arguably more natural to us before the arrival of the internet.
5. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly is most well known for editing Wired and his latest book, What Technology Wants, in many ways follows on from ideas discussed by Barabasi in Linked insofar that technology is much like its own organism akin to the way that a collection of cells is a network. By looking at technology as a living, evolving organism Kelly argues that we can make the most from its inevitable developments – and posits the idea that our relationship with it is symbiotic, in that it comes to depend on us the more we depend on it.