100 books like Future Shock

By Alvin Toffler,

Here are 100 books that Future Shock fans have personally recommended if you like Future Shock. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

From my list on accelerating your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

Angela Champ Why did Angela love this book?

I love this book for its idea and evidence that generalists, and not specialists, are often the most successful.

With examples of how those who cross domains are the most impactful inventors, it gives great hope for those broad thinkers who explore diverse experiences and careers to develop skills. It’s validation for those who haven’t quite figured out what they want to be when they grow up, with the idea that “frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.” 

A must-read for job seekers and for human resources professionals.

By David Epstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Fascinating . . . If you're a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you' - Bill Gates

The instant Sunday Times Top Ten and New York Times bestseller
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A Financial Times Essential Reads

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize.

From the '10,000 hours rule' to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many…


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

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list 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). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom 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…


Book cover of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Manil Suri Author Of The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math

From my list on to make you fall in love with mathematics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mathematics professor who ended up writing the internationally bestselling novel The Death of Vishnu (along with two follow-ups) and became better known as an author. For the past decade and a half, I’ve been using my storytelling skills to make mathematics more accessible (and enjoyable!) to a broad audience. Being a novelist has helped me look at mathematics in a new light, and realize the subject is not so much about the calculations feared by so many, but rather, about ideas. We can all enjoy such ideas, and thereby learn to understand, appreciate, and even love math. 

Manil's book list on to make you fall in love with mathematics

Manil Suri Why did Manil love this book?

A primary reason to love math is because of its usefulness. This book shows two sides of math’s applicability, since it is so ubiquitously used in various algorithms.

On the one hand, such usage can be good, because statistical inferences can make our life easier and enrich it. On the other, when these are not properly designed or monitored, it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Mathematics is a powerful force, as powerful as wind or fire, and needs to be harnessed just as carefully.

Cathy O’Neil’s message in this book spoke deeply to me, reminding me that I need to be always vigilant about the subject I love not being deployed carelessly.  

By Cathy O’Neil,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Weapons of Math Destruction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Financial Times

'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year

In this New York Times bestseller, Cathy O'Neil, one of the first champions of algorithmic accountability, sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life -- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made…


Book cover of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Ted Schick Author Of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

From my list on evaluating claims of the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in philosophy ever since I heard the album Poitier Meets Plato, a product of the 60’s coffee house culture, in which Sidney Poitier reads Plato to jazz music. As a professional philosopher, I investigate the nature of knowledge and reality, and if paranormal claims turn out to be true, many of our beliefs about knowledge and reality may turn out to be false. In an attempt to distinguish the justified from the unjustified—the believable from the unbelievable—I’ve tried to identify the principles of good thinking and sound reasoning that can be used to help us make those distinctions.

Ted's book list on evaluating claims of the paranormal

Ted Schick Why did Ted love this book?

The Dark Ages were a time of superstition and magic, of true causes those living then knew little. The science of the Enlightenment pushed back that darkness and gave us a more clear-headed view of the world.

Sagan showed me how that view was under attack and how to make the candle of truth burn a little brighter.

By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Demon-Haunted World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the…


Book cover of Atlas Shrugged

Mark Burgess Author Of Slogans: The end of sympathy

From my list on a vision of a near future society in trouble.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’m also a long-standing fan of science fiction who grew up with heroes in both fact and fiction. The idea of future society has haunted me my whole life. I’m an optimist, who looks to the darker tales as warnings of futures we hope to avoid. Read these tales with a determination for us all to do better.

Mark's book list on a vision of a near future society in trouble

Mark Burgess Why did Mark love this book?

This book was a forerunner and inspiration to the big society science fiction of the John Brunner era, and (like much of her writing) should properly be understood as an alternative reality science fiction, imitated by many writers including Brunner and Robert Silverberg.

Rand became a controversial figure because of the cult that grew up around her, promoting elitist ideas, and driven mainly by her husband. Yet Rand herself was a brilliant writer and thinker who wanted to be a philosopher. The writing is not only deeply intellectual, it was deeply character driven.

As a non-native English speaker, her writing style is rich and could be the envy of native writers. Perhaps too long, this book is nevertheless a must read for any science fiction fan. 

By Ayn Rand,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Atlas Shrugged as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand's greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy...to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction...to the philosopher who becomes a pirate...to the woman who…


Book cover of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

Keith L. Downing Author Of Gradient Expectations: Structure, Origins, and Synthesis of Predictive Neural Networks

From my list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been working in the field of AI for 40 years, first in graduate school and then as a professor. For the most part, I have had my head in the sand, focusing on the minutiae that occasionally lead to publications, the coins of the academic realm. When deep learning started exhibiting human-level pattern recognition abilities, the number of AI books for the general public began to swell.  Unfortunately, the science-fiction scenarios were a bit much. Since understanding, recognizing, and admitting problems are vital steps toward a solution, I find these books to be the most important warnings of the impending tech-dominated future.

Keith's book list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night

Keith L. Downing Why did Keith love this book?

This book is very long, and somewhat redundant at times. But it’s extremely interesting…and chilling. 

Zuboff cites a wide variety of examples of how companies, Google foremost among them, gather information about us (legally or illegally) and then use it not only to predict our behavior, but to control it as well. That’s the really scary part.

The writing can be a bit too poetic at times, but Zuboff displays an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge on this subject. I’m a slow reader, so this one took me a while to get through, but it was time well spent.

By Shoshana Zuboff,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Age of Surveillance Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Everyone needs to read this book as an act of digital self-defense.' -- Naomi Klein, Author of No Logo, the Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything and No is Not Enough

The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control us.

The heady optimism of the Internet's early days is gone. Technologies that were meant to liberate us have deepened inequality and stoked divisions. Tech companies gather our information online and sell…


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

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list 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). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom 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 Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different

Geoffrey Colon Author Of Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us about Navigating the New Normal

From my list on disruptive marketers in the 21st century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since touching my first computer (the Apple IIC) in 1985, broadcasting a radio show in 1988, logging onto the world wide web in 1991, launching my first podcast in 2004 or producing the highly viewed YouTube show The Download in 2020 I've been interested in what Marshall McLuhan has dubbed, "The Medium is the Message." Not only how media and technology are used but how it intersects with humanity, education, entertainment, marketing and popular culture to drive word of mouth. To me, marketing isn't just about the technology or the quantified metrics but about how it shapes long lasting impressions on people and leads to sustained behavioral change.

Geoffrey's book list on disruptive marketers in the 21st century

Geoffrey Colon Why did Geoffrey love this book?

If the Conceptual Age of marketing is here where imagination reigns supreme, will the same types of personalities in business from the Information Age be the ones to dominate? Nope. Authors Ashley and Sunny urge people to treat each one of our quirks as helpful virtues rather than harmful vices. Less logical and more emotional, things like fringe interests, strong personalities, and bold antics have their place in a creative and disruptive world. Applying your unique characteristics strategically could help you stand out, forge your path, and connect with others in ways that following rules just does not deliver. If you read this from the lens of a marketer, there are some great takeaways to apply to the personality of what brand it is you are trying to sell. Oh, and what profile am I of the 7 vices? A rebel of course.

By Sunny Bonnell, Ashleigh Hansberger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unconventional business book for the rebels and misfits--the Rare Breeds--who don't fit the traditional mold, offering an approach that's anything but business as usual.
What if your biggest weaknesses are actually your greatest strengths?

Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger, award-winning brand consultants and founders of Motto, bring their wisdom and insights to this radical "outside the box" business guide written specifically for the mavericks, oddballs, and visionaries they call Rare Breeds. While most advice guides encourage you to change your inherent characteristics to get the job, get the promotion, get the client, Bonnell and Hansberger identify a different approach:…


Book cover of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Geoffrey Colon Author Of Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us about Navigating the New Normal

From my list on disruptive marketers in the 21st century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since touching my first computer (the Apple IIC) in 1985, broadcasting a radio show in 1988, logging onto the world wide web in 1991, launching my first podcast in 2004 or producing the highly viewed YouTube show The Download in 2020 I've been interested in what Marshall McLuhan has dubbed, "The Medium is the Message." Not only how media and technology are used but how it intersects with humanity, education, entertainment, marketing and popular culture to drive word of mouth. To me, marketing isn't just about the technology or the quantified metrics but about how it shapes long lasting impressions on people and leads to sustained behavioral change.

Geoffrey's book list on disruptive marketers in the 21st century

Geoffrey Colon Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Shirky explained the fascination with how everyone becomes media long before TikTok was even a gleam in the eye of its founder Zhang Yiming. In this world that becomes louder, faster, and where attention is harder to come by we might think that it becomes every person for themselves. Not so. Communities become stronger and we enter the age of "We" rather than the age of "Me." A fascinating read on the power of organizations that don't rely on traditional organization hierarchies. If you want to know how good ideas spread in the 21st Century, this is a good book to read.

By Clay Shirky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A fascinating survey of the digital age . . . An eye-opening paean to possibility.” —The Boston Globe

“Mr. Shirky writes cleanly and convincingly about the intersection of technological innovation and social change.” —New York Observer

An extraordinary exploration of how technology can empower social and political organizers

For the first time in history, the tools for cooperating on a global scale are not solely in the hands of governments or institutions. The spread of the internet and mobile phones are changing how people come together and get things done—and sparking a revolution that, as Clay Shirky shows, is changing…


Book cover of Humankind: A Hopeful History

Dashka Slater Author Of Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed

From my list on facing down extremism, online and off.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent the past ten years reporting and writing true crime narratives about teenagers and hate, first in The 57 Bus and now in Accountable. My research has led me into some fascinating places and has left me convinced that we cannot prevent what we don’t understand. In both books I found that the young people who harmed others weren’t the stereotypical grimacing loners I’d always associated with hate and extremism. Instead, they were imitating behaviors that we see all around us. Being young, with brains that aren’t fully developed in important ways, and lacking the life experience that teaches us a more nuanced understanding of the world, they are ripe for radicalization.

Dashka's book list on facing down extremism, online and off

Dashka Slater Why did Dashka love this book?

The best antidote to extremism, in my view, is to reject the old canard that humans are selfish and xenophobic by nature.

Bregman’s optimistic and affirming book dispels this myth with fascinating research and persuasive storytelling. Along the way, he examines deep questions like why we persist in believing the worst about ourselves and one another. Humans are wired for altruism and compassion and the more we understand that, the more difficult it is to persuade us to act against our most basic instincts.

By Rutger Bregman, Elizabeth Manton (translator), Erica Moore (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and Daily Express Book of the Year

'Hugely, highly and happily recommended' Stephen Fry
'You should read Humankind. You'll learn a lot (I did) and you'll have good reason to feel better about the human race' Tim Harford
'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah Harari

It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have…


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