The best books to understand tech, media, and finance

Who am I?

I am a writer and reporter who has spent two decades covering complicated topics for a wide audience. This started when I covered Wall Street for Bloomberg News, where I spent 17 years as a reporter, and continues to this day with my own crypto media company, DeCential Media. My love of distilling new technologies to their essence is what informs the best of my writing and comes with the added bonus of being able to interview and learn from some of the smartest people in tech and finance. 


I wrote...

Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist that Almost Destroyed It All

By Matthew Leising,

Book cover of Out of the Ether: The Amazing Story of Ethereum and the $55 Million Heist that Almost Destroyed It All

What is my book about?

Out of the Ether is the definitive history of the people who created the world’s most-used blockchain, Ethereum. Told in intimate detail, it creates a vivid portrait of Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-Canadian genius who invented Ethereum when he was only nineteen years old, as well as the cast of characters he gathered around him to make Ethereum a reality. It’s a story full of intrigue, greed, brilliance, back-stabbing, and in fighting. 

The books I picked & why

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Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

By Nathaniel Popper,

Book cover of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

Why this book?

Digital Gold is a masterful telling of the history of Bitcoin, written with an incredible amount of detail, scope, and passion. Nathaniel Popper, who was a New York Times journalist at the time he wrote the book, showcased his reporting chops by following the early pioneers who helped Bitcoin succeed in its early tumultuous days. I learned about the fascinating people who were attracted to the first successful Internet money as well as what the technology meant and how it changed the world.

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

By Nathaniel Popper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Digital Gold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.

Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper's brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement.

The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped…


The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects

By Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, Shepard Fairey (illustrator)

Book cover of The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects

Why this book?

Understanding how media works us over every day is vital to knowing what forces are at play every time we turn on the TV or browse the Internet. McLuhan unpacked all of it for us in his 1967 masterpiece The Medium is the Massage. Don’t let its breezy tone and ease of style fool you, the book packs a powerful message that will leave you seeing things in a new way. The book helped me think deeply about and understand how a new technology like blockchain was changing the world. It’s a testament of its power that the book feels as relevant in today’s world of Twitter and Facebook noise as it did in the late 1960s.

The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects

By Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, Shepard Fairey (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Medium is the Massage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a dazzling fusion of Quentin Fiore's bold and inventive graphic design and Marshall McLuhan's unique insight into technology, advertising and mass-media, The Medium is the Massage is a unique study of human communication in the twentieth century, published in Penguin Modern Classics

Marshall McLuhan is the man who predicted the all-pervasive rise of modern mass media. Blending text, image and photography, his 1960 classic The Medium is the Massage illustrates how the growth of technology utterly reshapes society, personal lives and sensory perceptions, so that we are effectively transformed by the means we use to communicate. His theories, many…


Code: And Other Laws Of Cyberspace

By Lawrence Lessig,

Book cover of Code: And Other Laws Of Cyberspace

Why this book?

Lessig lays out his vision for how the Internet should and should not be regulated in easy-to-understand prose that belies a powerful ideology. This book really helped me frame in my own book how new technologies, like the Internet, are approached by regulators and governments. The idea that code cannot be owned, lest it be manipulated, as Lessig states, unlocked a way for me to think and write about how blockchain should be approached as well. 

Code: And Other Laws Of Cyberspace

By Lawrence Lessig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's a common belief that cyberspace cannot be regulated-that it is, in its very essence, immune from the government's (or anyone else's) control. Code , first published in 2000, argues that this belief is wrong. It is not in the nature of cyberspace to be unregulable cyberspace has no nature." It only has code-the software and hardware that make cyberspace what it is. That code can create a place of freedom-as the original architecture of the Net did-or a place of oppressive control. Under the influence of commerce, cyberspace is becoming a highly regulable space, where behaviour is much more…


Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff

By Christine S. Richard,

Book cover of Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff

Why this book?

This is my favorite book about the financial crisis of 2008. Richard had unparalleled access to Bill Ackman, one of the savviest investors around, and tells this story with amazing detail and insight. Everyone knows The Big Short, but Confidence Game is the book to read to really understand what created the credit crisis of 2008. 

Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff

By Christine S. Richard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confidence Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expose on the delusion, greed, and arrogance that led to America's credit crisis The collapse of America's credit markets in 2008 is quite possibly the biggest financial disaster in U.S. history. Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff is the story of Bill Ackman's six-year campaign to warn that the $2.5 trillion bond insurance business was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Branded a fraud by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ackman later made his investors more than $1 billion when bond…


Critical Path

By R. Buckminster Fuller,

Book cover of Critical Path

Why this book?

Critical Path is a tour de force of structured thought that tackles some of the biggest problems facing humanity. R. Buckminster Fuller is one of the most lucid thinkers of the 20th Century who writes with inimitable style. Absorbing his work helped me to distill the issues facing the 21st century that blockchain technology and decentralized systems are trying to solve.  

Critical Path

By R. Buckminster Fuller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Critical Path as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Critical Path is R. Buckminster Fuller's masterwork - the summing up of a lifetime's thought and concern - as urgent and relevant as it was upon its first publication over 20 years ago. Critical Path details how humanity found itself in its current situation - at the limits of the planet's natural resources and facing political, economic, environmental, and ethical crises. Fuller's analysis has been proven correct in many areas since then and his options for the survival of mankind are as compelling as ever. Critical Path is an essential text for any student of humanity.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mass media, Wall Street, and philosophy?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mass media, Wall Street, and philosophy.

Mass Media Explore 14 books about mass media
Wall Street Explore 16 books about Wall Street
Philosophy Explore 390 books about philosophy

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Amusing Ourselves to Death, The Age of American Unreason, and The Opinion Makers if you like this list.