The best books on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 


I wrote...

From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

By Tom Wheeler,

Book cover of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

What is my book about?

In today’s era of rapid change, it is easy to think that the current revolutions - which new technology has changed communications, business, and daily life - are unprecedented. The reality is that new technologies have always introduced confusion, uncertainty, and fear into both commerce and culture. Today’s changes may involve new technology and be happening faster than ever, but we have been here before. The stories of those experiences are important to understanding today and tomorrow. 

Author Tom Wheeler is the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and technology entrepreneur. He brings to his work the experience of dealing with the changes imposed by new technology as a businessman, regulator, and historian to put today’s and tomorrow’s tech-driven challenges in perspective.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Future Shock

Tom Wheeler Why did I love this book?

Alvin Toffler was one of the most successful commentators in helping us put change in perspective and understand where we are headed.

Although published in 1970, Future Shock was seminal in helping us to focus on what technology was bringing us and how it would change our lives.

Not only was it a best seller, but the title became part of the English language to describe how innovations are driving our future.

By Alvin Toffler,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Future Shock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The classic work that predicted the anxieties of a world upended by rapidly emerging technologies—and now provides a road map to solving many of our most pressing crises. 

“Explosive . . . brilliantly formulated.” —The Wall Street Journal 

Future Shock is the classic that changed our view of tomorrow. Its startling insights into accelerating change led a president to ask his advisers for a special report, inspired composers to write symphonies and rock music, gave a powerful new concept to social science, and added a phrase to our language. Published in over fifty countries, Future…


Book cover of Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Tom Wheeler Why did I love this book?

Microsoft president Brad Smith’s thoughtful book is basically about responsibility in the digital age.

Smith takes an approach that is different from most corporate executive books in that he calls out the threats represented by digital technology his company is built on rather than trying to sugarcoat them.

Then he suggests responsible steps that everyone – individuals, public policy, and companies like his – should take to mitigate those threats.

By Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tools and Weapons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller, now updated with new material on cyber attacks, digital sovereignty, and tech in a pandemic.

From Microsoft's president and one of the tech industry's broadest thinkers, a frank and thoughtful reckoning with how to balance enormous promise and existential risk as the digitization of everything accelerates.

"A colorful and insightful insiders' view of how technology is both empowering and threatening us. From privacy to cyberattacks, this timely book is a useful guide for how to navigate the digital future." -Walter Isaacson

Microsoft president Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: When your technology changes…


Book cover of The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society

Tom Wheeler Why did I love this book?

Tech analyst and investor Azeem Azhar concisely pulls together his take on how the arc of technology has moved from linear to exponential both in its development as well as its impact on society and business.

Azhar brings great insight into how exponential growth – creating an “exponential gap” – has put strains not only on businesses, but also on government and society writ large. 

By Azeem Azhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*2021 Financial Times Best Book of the Year*


A bold exploration and call-to-arms over the widening gap between AI, automation, and big data—and our ability to deal with its effects


We are living in the first exponential age.

High-tech innovations are created at dazzling speeds; technological forces we barely understand remake our homes and workplaces; centuries-old tenets of politics and economics are upturned by new technologies. It all points to a world that is getting faster at a dizzying pace.


Azeem Azhar, renowned technology analyst and host of the Exponential View podcast, offers a revelatory new model for understanding how…


Book cover of The Master Switch: the Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tom Wheeler Why did I love this book?

Columbia Law Professor and recently departed White House advisor Tim Wu looks at the evolution of the information industry.

While written in 2011, Master Switch describes the technological and corporate developments that have brought us to today’s information age and all its corporate and civil challenges. I love the historical stories he uses and how they are really not that different from contemporary developments. 

By Tim Wu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Internet Age: on the face of it, an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture. Yet in the past, each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested on a wave of similar idealistic optimism, before succumbing to the inevitable undertow of industrial consolidation. Every once free and open technology has, in time, become centralized and closed; as corporate power has taken control of the 'master switch.' Today a similar struggle looms over the Internet, and as it increasingly supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher.

Part industrial expose, part examination of…


Book cover of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

Tom Wheeler Why did I love this book?

At a time when new technology has delivered us to a world of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, we have lost our shared understanding of just what facts and truth are.

Jonathan Rauch helps us recall the importance of facts and truth to the liberal democratic process. He challenges us to reinstate knowledge and truth. 

By Jonathan Rauch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Constitution of Knowledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arming Americans to defend the truth from today's war on facts.

Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent additions to our daily vocabulary appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America's ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood.

In 2016 Russian trolls and bots nearly drowned the truth in a flood of fake news and conspiracy theories, and Donald Trump and his troll armies continued to do the same. Social media companies struggled to keep up with a flood…


You might also like...

Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

By John Kenneth White,

Book cover of Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

John Kenneth White Author Of Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading was a childhood passion of mine. My mother was a librarian and got me interested in reading early in life. When John F. Kennedy was running for president and after his assassination, I became intensely interested in politics. In addition to reading history and political biographies, I consumed newspapers and television news. It is this background that I have drawn upon over the decades that has added value to my research.

John's book list on who we are, how we’ve changed, and what gives us hope

What is my book about?

It didn’t begin with Donald Trump. When the Republican Party lost five straight presidential elections during the 1930s and 1940s, three things happened: (1) Republicans came to believe that presidential elections are rigged; (2) Conspiracy theories arose and were believed; and (3) The presidency was elevated to cult-like status.

Long before Trump, each of these phenomena grew in importance. The John Birch Society and McCarthyism became powerful forces; Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first “personal president” to rise above the party; and the development of what Harry Truman called “the big lie,” where outrageous falsehoods came to be believed. Trump…

Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

By John Kenneth White,

What is this book about?

It didn't begin with Donald Trump. The unraveling of the Grand Old Party has been decades in the making. Since the time of FDR, the Republican Party has been home to conspiracy thinking, including a belief that lost elections were rigged. And when Republicans later won the White House, the party elevated their presidents to heroic status-a predisposition that eventually posed a threat to democracy. Building on his esteemed 2016 book, What Happened to the Republican Party?, John Kenneth White proposes to explain why this happened-not just the election of Trump but the authoritarian shift in the party as a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in technology, modernity, and information technology?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about technology, modernity, and information technology.

Technology Explore 126 books about technology
Modernity Explore 54 books about modernity
Information Technology Explore 42 books about information technology