The best books to understand how the use of computers influences the way we think

Luc de Brabandere Author Of Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World
By Luc de Brabandere

Who am I?

During my life, I’ve been told that I was not a true engineer, not a true banker, not a true CEO, not a true entrepreneur, not a true teacher… But one day an executive told me: “I want to work with you because you’re not a true consultant.” I then realized it is was a privilege not to be a true something! I like to call myself a corporate philosopher. Fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute, and co-founder of Cartoonbase, I split my time between the worlds of academia and business. I have published several other books on various subjects such as language, mathematics, humor, or fallacies.


I wrote...

Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

By Luc de Brabandere,

Book cover of Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

What is my book about?

AI and human intelligence. Fine, but who is programming who? The power of the computer should not come as a surprise since it was designed with the purpose of enabling humans to amplify their reasoning skills. But we should be aware that, if it allows us to think ahead, the computer influences our way of thinking as well. Thinking is clearly no longer what it used to be and, in my new book coauthored with Lina Benmehrez, I invite you to rediscover the art of thinking in a digital world through logic, creativity and sound argumentation!

This essay takes us back to ancient Greece where logical and critical thinking were first formalized. It also reminds us of more recent developments in cognitive sciences that include creative thinking. 

The books I picked & why

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Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

By Douglas Rushkoff, Leland Purvis (illustrator),

Book cover of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

Why this book?

The impact of technology on the way we imagine, conceptualize, write, experiment, and communicate is of increasing concern to people, and has been for some time. In his book, Douglas Rushkoff says, "Do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it?" Through a guideline, with comics to illustrate, he helps us navigate this new universe. As Francis Bacon said, "We must obey the forces we want to command!"


Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology

By Edward Ashford Lee,

Book cover of Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology

Why this book?

Lee covers and connects two of my favorite topics, creativity, and technology. From the facts and truths of technology to the role models play in creativity (looking at how early philosophers suggested modeling thought), he argues that computers are not universal machines and that their power comes from their partnership with humans.


Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

By Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths,

Book cover of Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Why this book?

We have to learn how to properly use the Internet to prevent it from using us. We must comprehend the limits of artificial intelligence to take advantage of what it has to offer. Christian and Griffiths explore how algorithms can help us solve common – decisions and find strategies to humans.


The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

By Nicholas Carr,

Book cover of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Why this book?

Nicholas Carr of The Atlantic magazine wrote that Google's rich database of information has changed the way we think by taking away our deep research and focus, while affecting our cognition and weakening our ability to think critically. This provocation sparked a very useful debate that continues to this day. In this book, he focuses on attention, knowing that the depth of our thinking is directly related to it. He concludes that in our Net environment, thinking becomes more superficial.


Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future

By John Brockman,

Book cover of Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future

Why this book?

John Brockman has composed 150 short essays on the dominant question of our time, how is the Internet changing the way you think? This sparked the basis of my book. 

From pessimistic to optimistic views, the experts bring together different perspectives in different fields.

Too early to tell? Is our thinking becoming more shallow? Some say the web is a work of genius and the greatest achievement of the human race.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in technology, information technology, and human behavior?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about technology, information technology, and human behavior.

Technology Explore 42 books about technology
Information Technology Explore 15 books about information technology
Human Behavior Explore 20 books about human behavior

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, and We Are Satellites if you like this list.