100 books like Distributed Blackness

By Andre Brock, Jr.,

Here are 100 books that Distributed Blackness fans have personally recommended if you like Distributed Blackness. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Labyrinths

MK Raghavendra Author Of The Writing of the Nation by Its Elite: The Politics of Anglophone Indian Literature in the Global Age

From my list on The most incisive writing - political, critical and interdisciplinary.

Why am I passionate about this?

As Iago says in Shakespeare’s Othello, “I am nothing if not critical,” and regardless of what he meant, it applies to me - my intelligence works best at scrutinizing things for their significance. I studied science, worked in the financial sector, read fiction, watched cinema, and developed a sense of the interconnectedness of things. If the connections existed, I thought, there could be no one way of approaching anything; all intellectual paths were valid and the only criterion of value was that it must be intelligent. My book tries to stick to this since a writer may hold any opinions, but he or she must show intelligence.

MK's book list on The most incisive writing - political, critical and interdisciplinary

MK Raghavendra Why did MK love this book?

JL Borges is, in my view, the greatest literary mind of the 20th Century.

This is a book of stories, philosophical essays and parables, but even when he is writing fiction, his favoured form is that of the mock critical essay about a non-existent book or writer.

What I especially love about him is his wit, subtle and easily missed since it often takes the shape of philosophical rumination when he is actually debunking something held very highly. My natural mode of expression is irony, and Borges’s irony is inimitable.      

By Jorge Luis Borges,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Labyrinths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking trans-genre work of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) has been insinuating itself into the structure, stance, and very breath of world literature for well over half a century. Multi-layered, self-referential, elusive, and allusive writing is now frequently labeled Borgesian. Umberto Eco's international bestseller, The Name of the Rose, is, on one level, an elaborate improvisation on Borges' fiction "The Library," which American readers first encountered in the original 1962 New Directions publication of Labyrinths.

This new edition of Labyrinths, the classic representative selection of Borges' writing edited by Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby (in translations…


Book cover of Chaos: Making a New Science

Aram Sinnreich Author Of The Secret Life of Data: Navigating Hype and Uncertainty in the Age of Algorithmic Surveillance

From my list on books about data that will blow your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t explain my lifelong fascination with the strange dance between culture, power, and technology. Maybe it’s because I grew up as a math whiz with a deep love of music or because I read too much sci-fi under my blanket by flashlight when I should have been getting my beauty sleep. I was lucky to become friends with Jesse Gilbert at the age of 14 - we goaded each other into spending our lives researching, writing about, and playing with tech in a cultural context. We wrote this book together as a way to bring our decades-long dialogue into the public eye and invite a wider range of people to participate in the conversation.

Aram's book list on books about data that will blow your mind

Aram Sinnreich Why did Aram love this book?

My friend Jesse Gilbert handed me his copy of Chaos in 1992 or 1993, shortly after he read it for a college class. “You have to read this book,” he insisted. “I need to talk about it with you.”

Chaos theory, which is the subject of Gleick’s nonfiction book, has become such a dominant trope in global fiction, the popular imagination, and meme culture that younger folks probably don’t realize how completely new this way of thinking was for most of us when the book was first published in 1987.

In the 1980s, science fiction and popular tech narratives were all about robots and spaceships, with a heavy dose of late-Cold War nuclear anxiety. Then Gleick published Chaos. Suddenly, it seemed like everyone was interested in fractals, parallel universes, and virtual worlds. The concepts of bounded infinities and multi-dimensional topographies opened up not just new types of narratives but…

By James Gleick,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Chaos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uncover one of the most exciting frontiers of modern physics in this fascinating, insightful and accessible overview of Chaos theory.

'An exceedingly readable introduction to a new intellectual world' Observer

From the turbulence of the weather to the complicated rythmns of the human heart, 'chaos' is at the centre of our day to day lives. Cutting across several scientific disciplines, James Gleick explores and elucidates the science of the unpredicatable with an immensely readable narrative style and flair.

'An awe-inspiring book. Reading Chaos gave me the sensation that someone had just found the light-switch' Douglas Adams


Book cover of The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch

Aram Sinnreich Author Of The Secret Life of Data: Navigating Hype and Uncertainty in the Age of Algorithmic Surveillance

From my list on books about data that will blow your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t explain my lifelong fascination with the strange dance between culture, power, and technology. Maybe it’s because I grew up as a math whiz with a deep love of music or because I read too much sci-fi under my blanket by flashlight when I should have been getting my beauty sleep. I was lucky to become friends with Jesse Gilbert at the age of 14 - we goaded each other into spending our lives researching, writing about, and playing with tech in a cultural context. We wrote this book together as a way to bring our decades-long dialogue into the public eye and invite a wider range of people to participate in the conversation.

Aram's book list on books about data that will blow your mind

Aram Sinnreich Why did Aram love this book?

Full disclosure: Laura DeNardis is a good friend and former colleague of mine. But I was a fan before I was a friend, and thus far, The Internet In Everything is her crowning achievement, so I feel very comfortable listing it here as an absolute must-read.

When Laura told me she was going to write this book, my first thought was, “I wish I’d thought of that!” and my second thought, a nanosecond later, was, “Thank goodness I didn’t because she’ll do it a million times better.”

DeNardis is the reigning monarch of Internet Governance Studies, meaning she researches all the weird laws, policies, technologies, businesses, agencies, and practices that have built the internet and keep it ticking. You’d think the subject would be boring or impenetrable to us mere mortals, but her genius is in making it not only understandable but downright fascinating.

She understands the internet the way…

By Laura DeNardis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A compelling argument that the Internet of things threatens human rights and security

"Sobering and important."-Financial Times, "Best Books of 2020: Technology"

The Internet has leapt from human-facing display screens into the material objects all around us. In this so-called Internet of things-connecting everything from cars to cardiac monitors to home appliances-there is no longer a meaningful distinction between physical and virtual worlds. Everything is connected. The social and economic benefits are tremendous, but there is a downside: an outage in cyberspace can result not only in loss of communication but also potentially in loss of life.

Control of this…


Book cover of Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World's First Modern Computer

Aram Sinnreich Author Of The Secret Life of Data: Navigating Hype and Uncertainty in the Age of Algorithmic Surveillance

From my list on books about data that will blow your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t explain my lifelong fascination with the strange dance between culture, power, and technology. Maybe it’s because I grew up as a math whiz with a deep love of music or because I read too much sci-fi under my blanket by flashlight when I should have been getting my beauty sleep. I was lucky to become friends with Jesse Gilbert at the age of 14 - we goaded each other into spending our lives researching, writing about, and playing with tech in a cultural context. We wrote this book together as a way to bring our decades-long dialogue into the public eye and invite a wider range of people to participate in the conversation.

Aram's book list on books about data that will blow your mind

Aram Sinnreich Why did Aram love this book?

I’ve always been a big fan of books that explode the “great man” myth and lift the curtains to show all of the unsung heroes behind history’s greatest accomplishments. The sociologist Howard Becker’s classic Art Worlds did this for creative professions, and Kathy Kleiman’s Proving Ground does the same thing for digital computers.

The birth of modern computing is usually credited to the mathematician Alan Turing. But the actual work of programming the world’s first general purpose digital computer, named ENIAC, was undertaken by six remarkable women mathematicians (Kathleen McNulty, Jean Jennings Bartik, Frances Elizabeth Snyder, Frances Bilas Spence, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer and Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum) whose names were left out of the history books.

Author Kathy Kleiman has made it her life’s work to restore these trailblazers to their rightful place at the beginning of the data revolution that has radically changed global society over the past 80 years.…

By Kathy Kleiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating, forgotten story of the six brilliant women who launched modern computing.

As the Cold War began, America's race for tech supremacy was taking off. Experts rushed to complete the top-secret computing research started during World War II, among them six gifted mathematicians: a patriotic Quaker, a Jewish bookworm, a Yugoslav genius, a native Gaelic speaker, a sophomore from the Bronx, and a farmer's daughter from Missouri. Their mission? Programming the world's first and only supercomputer-before any code or programming languages existed.

These pioneers triumphed against sexist attitudes and huge technical challenges to invent computer programming, yet their monumental…


Book cover of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media

David M. Skover Author Of The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon

From my list on freedom of speech history and purposes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired federal constitutional law professor, the former Fredric C. Tausend Professor of Constitutional Law at Seattle University Law School. Moreover, I am the coauthor of more than ten books, most of them focusing on First Amendment free speech topics. Often, I wrote at the intersection of popular culture and free speech rights. My booklist reflects my passion for books about the history, purposes, and practices of freedom of speech, particularly as it is exercised in the United States.

David's book list on freedom of speech history and purposes

David M. Skover Why did David love this book?

I have read dozens of books on a variety of free speech topics–everything from political dissent to hate speech to pornography. But I have never found a single book on the entire history of free speech over the ages of Western civilization.

I love the way that this work portrayed the most significant free speech struggles from ancient Greece and Rome, through the Enlightenment, and beyond to today’s social media controversies. More often than not, histories are boring and pedantic, but this history kept me involved and interested right up to the last page.  

By Jacob Mchangama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A global history of free speech, from the ancient world to today.

Hailed as the "first freedom," free speech is the bedrock of democracy. But it is a challenging principle, subject to erosion in times of upheaval. Today, in democracies and authoritarian states around the world, it is on the retreat.
In Free Speech, Jacob Mchangama traces the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of this idea. Through captivating stories of free speech's many defenders - from the ancient Athenian orator Demosthenes and the ninth-century freethinker al-Razi, to Mary Wollstonecraft, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and modern-day digital activists - Mchangama…


Book cover of The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

Brian Smith Author Of Individual Influence: Find the I in Team

From my list on books for a wandering eclectic mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with the intricate web of influence and its profound impact traces back to my immersion in literature. Through the immersive experience of reading, we embark on a journey into the minds of others, expanding our understanding and evolving our individual perspectives. My professional trajectory has been shaped by a relentless pursuit of understanding the dynamics of influence across people, processes, and technology. Coupled with experiences spanning all seven continents and interactions with tens of thousands of individuals, I've undergone a transformative journey. Yet, it's the collective success of individuals embracing their humanity, both independently and collaboratively within their spheres of influence, that fuels my passion for continual growth and improvement.

Brian's book list on books for a wandering eclectic mind

Brian Smith Why did Brian love this book?

For more than 20 years, we've endorsed this book to both our team members and clients. Effective communication lies at the heart of relationships, and possessing the ability to communicate adeptly in any setting is invaluable.

This book equips readers with essential tools to navigate various social scenarios and overcome inherent anxieties and insecurities, particularly exacerbated by the prevalence of non-verbal communication channels like texting and email.

Whether grappling with speaking or engaging in conversations across diverse situations, this book is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to enhance their communication skills.

By Debra Fine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fine Art of Small Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this bestselling guide to social success, communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk in any situation.

Does striking up a conversation with a stranger make your stomach do flip-flops? Do you spend time hiding out in the bathroom at social gatherings? Do you dread the very thought of networking? Is scrolling your phone a crutch to avoid interacting?

Help is on the way with The Fine Art of Small Talk, the classic guide that's now revised for the modern era. Small talk is more than just chitchat; it's a valuable…


Book cover of Influence and Thrive: How Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders & Corporations Use Effective Communication To Get Results

Joel Schwartzberg Author Of Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter

From my list on improving your presentation prowess.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my journey in communications as a competitive public speaker in high school and college, culminating in a national championship. That experience inspired me to help others develop their public speaking and presentation skills, especially effective point-making, which is fundamental to communication success but rarely addressed by trainers. Nowadays, I’m thrilled to combine my skill, experience, and passion in my work as a speechwriter and speech coach for organizations ranging from American Express to State Farm Insurance, as well as a speechwriter for a major nonprofit and contributor to media outlets including Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Newsweek.

Joel's book list on improving your presentation prowess

Joel Schwartzberg Why did Joel love this book?

With Influence and Thrive, Lucille leverages in-depth research, personal experiences, and smart conclusions in a very readable way.

Her voice and identity shine through each chapter, and it’s clear that she put her heart and soul into this project. Her book is also impressive in scope, covering everything from speaking to writing to emailing. I also appreciate how Lucille analyzes communication techniques from people she admires, then extracts and summarizes the key learnings.

This one has lots of valuable takeaways that readers can apply right away to their communications. 

By Lucille Ossai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Effective communication will never go out of style. It will outlive the critics, survive shifting trends, and thrive in this tech age.


As a professional, entrepreneur, or business leader, you must amplify your communication skills to accelerate your career, grow your business, or sharpen your credibility.


As a corporation, you must use purposeful communication to nurture trust, coax employee engagement, boost your reputation, and steer actions to profitability.


But how can you get the results you deserve with effective communication and position yourself for long-term success?


In this book, you'd find the latest insights on non-verbal communication, public speaking, and…


Book cover of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

Brian Ahearn Author Of Influence People: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical

From my list on helping you influence people and hear “yes!”.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career and life were changed by Robert Cialdini’s work on influence. There are only a dozen people in the world who have been personally trained, certified, and endorsed by Cialdini to teach his methodology on influence and persuasion. I’m fortunate to be in that very select group. I’ve authored three books and given a TED Talk on influence. My LinkedIn Learning courses around influence in sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,00 across the globe. I take Cialdini’s influence concepts and marry them with my 35+ years of business experience to give organizations practical ways to ethically influence people. 

Brian's book list on helping you influence people and hear “yes!”

Brian Ahearn Why did Brian love this book?

Robert Cialdini’s work on influence changed how I go about trying to influence people. Gallo’s revelations radically changed how I present to audiences.

Throughout the book Gallo shows why Steve Jobs was such a masterful influencer from the stage. As I read, I found myself continually taking notes on how I would change my presentations. By the time I was done, I’d taken seven pages of type-written notes!

The change in audience reaction was immediate! If you’re serious about improving your presentation style, there’s no better resource than The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

By Carmine Gallo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs reveals the operating system behind any great presentation and provides you with a quick-start guide to design your own passionate interfaces with your audiences."
Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points and The Activist Audience

Apple CEO Steve Jobs's wildly popular presentations have set a new global gold standard-and now this step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to use his crowd-pleasing techniques in your own presentations. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is as close as you'll ever get to having the master presenter himself speak directly in your ear. Communications expert Carmine Gallo…


Book cover of That's What She Said

Adrienne Hand Author Of Make Way For Women: Men and Women Leading Together Improve Culture and Profits

From my list on women’s confidence and accelerate their advancement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by women’s power in the workplace. My mother was intensely focused on breaking ground as a working mother of four small children on Capitol Hill in the 1960s. She was the first woman to be granted part-time status in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office. She worked her way up to speechwriter for Joan and personal correspondent for the Senator. And she kept a fierce border between work and home. And we were intensely proud of her. At a time when our friends’ mothers were mostly homemakers, our Mom had a cool job and kept a cool head among the political and intellectual elite – most of whom were men.

Adrienne's book list on women’s confidence and accelerate their advancement

Adrienne Hand Why did Adrienne love this book?

Reading this book, I got beamed right into the meeting rooms where women are trying to make their points but are constantly getting interrupted by men. I felt the intensity and awkwardness that the author had felt. And I got angry, recalling all the times I’ve been interrupted and talked over in meetings, and how stunned and quiet I’d gotten. I didn’t know then that it takes practice to continue speaking up, and it takes other women to “amplify” our points, so men don’t claim our ideas! Hooray for Obama women staffers who came up with that strategy! And hooray to Joanne Lipman for giving women—and men—the playbook for equitable culture and gender-balanced leadership. Finally!

By Joanne Lipman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That's What She Said as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A FINANCIAL TIMES BUSINESS BOOK OF THE MONTH

'Urgently needed' Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of THE POWER OF HABIT and SMARTER

'Attention, good guys: this book is for you' Adam Grant, bestselling author of ORIGINALS and OPTION B with Sheryl Sandberg

'I know what you're thinking: 'Not another career guide-cum-manifesto, telling us to "woman up" and demand more money.' But that isn't what Lipman says. Instead, she uses data, reams of it, to expose how the system is rigged against women. She then calls for men to join the fight to make the workplace more equal' SUNDAY TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE…


Book cover of Let's Talk about Hard Things: The Life-Changing Conversations That Connect Us

Angie Marie Author Of The Cycle Syncing Handbook: Identify Hormonal Patterns, Build Holistic Habits, and Embrace the Power of Your Menstrual Cycle

From my list on books for women who want to live more creatively/with more creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my 20s, after always doing what I was “supposed” to, I found myself trapped in a relationship I wanted out of, in a job that barely paid the bills, and in a mindset of scarcity. After my birth control almost killed me, I dove into the mind-body connection that’s often stifled by sexism and societal expectations, becoming fascinated with pushing against the status quo and living more adventurously. I realized I needed to sincerely take my life decisions into my own hands. Since then, I’ve run ultramarathons, become an entrepreneur, and taught countless menstruators how to listen to their own bodies so they can build a life they love.

Angie's book list on books for women who want to live more creatively/with more creativity

Angie Marie Why did Angie love this book?

When my friend’s dad died suddenly from a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, I had no clue how to help. It felt incredibly awkward, risky, and confusing: Do I text her? Give her space? Ask if she wants a hug. Or say the common, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” (which, it turns out, is not helpful).

Later, I devoured the stories Anna collected about the 5 topics we tend to be hush-hush about death, sex, money, family, and identity. Reading a diverse set of snapshots from the most challenging aspects of being a human made me no longer want to tread lightly around tough conversations. In fact, I want to welcome them.

When my partner’s friend died young, as awkward as it felt to talk about it initially, I knew it was crucial to allow a space to share memories, expose feelings, and verbally process the events. When…

By Anna Sale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Talk about Hard Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the host of the popular WNYC podcast Death, Sex, & Money, Let&;s Talk About Hard Things is an invitation to discuss the tough topics that all of us encounter.

Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you&;ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that you&;ve thought &;they&;ll never understand&; or &;do I really want to bring that up?&; or &;it&;s not going to go well, so why even try?&;

Sale is the founder and host of WNYC&;s popular, award-winning podcast Death, Sex, & Money, or as the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in communication, African Americans, and the Internet?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about communication, African Americans, and the Internet.

Communication Explore 67 books about communication
African Americans Explore 767 books about African Americans
The Internet Explore 24 books about the Internet