The best books on the power of technology to make us more human

Why am I passionate about this?

As a techno-optimist, I believe that technology can make us better!  Technology should make us stronger and healthier, technology should enable us to do things we couldn’t do without it, and technology should create an equitable future. In 25 years, I want superhuman eyesight, joints, and memory.  I want to travel with family and friends both physically and virtually through the metaverse. And I want to make sure that all of our data is used responsibly and ethically to optimize our home and community.  All of the books I selected (including mine!) build on these themes painting a picture of a future that is optimistic, and show us how we can be active participants in creating the future we want to see.  


I wrote...

Inventing the Future: Stories from a Techno-Optimist

By Corinna Lathan,

Book cover of Inventing the Future: Stories from a Techno-Optimist

What is my book about?


Dr. Corinna Lathan is a technology entrepreneur who has developed robots for kids with disabilities, virtual reality technology for the space station, and wearable sensors for training surgeons and soldiers.  Are you curious about technology and want to make the world a better place? Explore the possibilities of tomorrow through the twenty-year journey of Dr. Lathan and embark on your own adventure to invent the future.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The NeuroGeneration: The New Era in Brain Enhancement That Is Revolutionizing the Way We Think, Work, and Heal

Corinna Lathan Why did I love this book?

Tan Le is a good friend and kickass tech entrepreneur who founded the neurotech company Emotiv.

She talks with the top neuroscientists and technologists in the area of brain-computer interfaces. But what makes it relatable is how Tan weaves in her own story. Tan is a Vietnamese-born Australian and talks about her own journey creating and developing an EEG headset and growing a tech company. 

I recommend this book because I absolutely believe that technology can improve our brain and brain-computer interfaces are our future!

By Tan Le,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A highly engaging guided tour through the frontiers of what science knows about how the brain works, how to extend its power and how to fix it when it's broken.' - David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison and Teen Brain

'Tan Le writes with optimism and compassion about the extraordinary evolution of brain technology. Totally inspiring!' - Wendy McCarthy AO

Technology now allows us to unlock the amazing potential of the human brain in ways we never dreamt were possible. Join award-winning inventor and entrepreneur Tan Le as she criss-crosses the globe, introducing the brilliant neurotech innovators and neuroscientists at…


Book cover of Girl Decoded: A Scientist's Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology

Corinna Lathan Why did I love this book?

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby is an Egyptian-born computer scientist and tech entrepreneur who co-founded the company Affectiva based on her pioneering work on Emotion AI, a subfield of Artificial Intelligence.

Emotion AI is designed to understand, respond to, and simulate human emotions. Rana believes this technology has profound implications across various sectors, including mental health, education, transportation, and robotics. It can enhance our digital interactions, create empathetic robots, improve road safety by monitoring driver attention, and aid in mental health diagnosis and treatment.

I recommend this book because what’s not to love about building empathy and emotion into technology!

By Rana el Kaliouby, Carol Colman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Rana el Kaliouby's vision for how technology should work in parallel with empathy is bold, inspired and hopeful' Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global

'This lucid and captivating book by a renowned pioneer of emotion-AI tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: How can we ensure a future where this technology empowers rather than surveils and manipulates us?' Max Tegmark, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Life 3.0

We are entering an empathy crisis. Most of our communication is conveyed through non-verbal cues - facial expressions, tone of voice, body…


Book cover of The XX Brain: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Corinna Lathan Why did I love this book?

Neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Mosconi dives into the fascinating world of women's brain health and its connection to Alzheimer's disease. She presents cutting-edge research and insights that aim to empower women to take charge of their cognitive well-being.

One of the reasons I love this book is the exploration of various technologies that are revolutionizing the field. Lisa introduces us to advanced brain imaging techniques like PET scans and MRI, which provide valuable insights into brain health and potential early signs of Alzheimer's.

She also delves into the emerging field of precision medicine, discussing genetic testing and personalized interventions for optimal brain health. In addition, Lisa sheds light on the role of lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and sleep in maintaining cognitive vitality.

Lisa’s informal style makes complex scientific concepts accessible and engaging, ensuring that readers can apply the knowledge gained to their own lives.

By Lisa Mosconi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller!

"In The XX Brain, Lisa meticulously guides us in the ways we can both nourish and protect ourselves, body and mind, to ensure our brains remain resilient throughout our lives."
--from the foreword by Maria Shriver

The first book to address cognitive enhancement and Alzheimer's prevention specifically in women--and to frame brain health as an essential component of Women's Health.

In this revolutionary book, Dr. Lisa Mosconi, director of the Women's Brain Initiative at Weill Cornell Medical College, provides women with the first plan to address the unique risks of the female brain.

Until…


Book cover of Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us

Corinna Lathan Why did I love this book?

Neurologist Dr. Susan Magsamen and Design Executive Ivy Ross show us what we always suspected, art is good for your brain!

The authors show us the neurological basis for why the arts can have an incredible impact on mental health as well as our general well-being, including learning and memory.

But beyond that, this book is also about creativity, which underlies any form of “making” including tech invention.  I love that they talk about virtual reality and multisensory stimuli in the context of immersive art the same way I talk about immersive technology to enhance human capabilities.

By Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Your Brain on Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A life-altering journey through the science of neuroaesthetics, which offers proof for how our brains and bodies transform when we participate in the arts—and how this knowledge can improve our health, enable us to flourish, and build stronger communities.

“This book blew my mind!”—Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grit

Many of us think of the arts as entertainment—a luxury of some kind. In Your Brain on Art, authors Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross show how activities from painting and dancing to expressive writing, architecture, and more are essential to our lives.…


Book cover of We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds

Corinna Lathan Why did I love this book?

Science journalist Sally Adee brings alive the fact that yes, we are electric.

If we could truly understand the way our bodies work electrically and not just chemically, it could open the doors to a revolution in medicine. We would look at the brain and the nervous system in a whole different light; pharmaceuticals would be replaced by electroceuticals; and we might sleep better and live longer.  

I recommend this book because I enjoyed going on this journey through history to the future!

By Sally Adee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Science journalist Sally Adee breaks open the field of bioelectricity—the electric currents that run through our bodies and every living thing—its misunderstood history, and why new discoveries will lead to new ways around antibiotic resistance, cleared arteries, and new ways to combat cancer.

You may be familiar with the idea of our body's biome: the bacterial fauna that populate our gut and can so profoundly affect our health. In We Are Electric we cross into new scientific understanding: discovering your body's electrome.

Every cell in our bodies—bones, skin, nerves, muscle—has a voltage, like a tiny battery. It is the reason…


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Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of For Fukui’s Sake: Two years In Rural Japan

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Author Snow lover Fish out of water Traveller

Sam's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who teaches him the meaning of being 'priden'.

Struggling with Slovene, a language with grammar so complex it can cause brain damage, and battling bureaucracy, he explores the culture and characters of this underappreciated ex-Yugoslav republic, its wild beauty, and its wild animals.

A love letter to Slovenia, this rare, adventurous account follows a foreigner trying to build a new life — and rebuild an old house — in a young country still finding its own place in the world.

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


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