100 books like Survival of the Richest

By Douglas Rushkoff,

Here are 100 books that Survival of the Richest fans have personally recommended if you like Survival of the Richest. 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 The Three-Body Problem

Akshat Rathi Author Of Climate Capitalism: Winning the Race to Zero Emissions and Solving the Crisis of Our Age

From my list on crash course in our climate choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, climate journalists share stories of disastrous extreme weather events made more extreme by climate change. But over the past decade, I’ve discovered that every sector of the economy and every country on the planet that I’ve had the privilege to explore has people working on climate solutions. Crucially, in many places, these are now working at scale. 

Akshat's book list on crash course in our climate choices

Akshat Rathi Why did Akshat love this book?

Science fiction is supposed to be mind-expanding, but its bestsellers have for far too long been in the hands of Western authors.

This book and its accompanying series changed that through interwoven themes that connect an interplanetary future with today’s cultural, climate, and political divides, and the world is a better place for it. 

By Cixin Liu, Ken Liu (translator),

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Three-Body Problem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the award-winning, critically acclaimed, multi-million-copy-selling science-fiction phenomenon - soon to be a Netflix Original Series from the creators of Game of Thrones.

1967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China's Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind.

Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang's investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable…


Book cover of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

Nicholas Agar Author Of Dialogues on Human Enhancement

From my list on how technology could change humanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a New Zealand philosopher who’s written a lot about the human enhancement debate. Philosophers are well known for their willingness to defend unpopular conclusions against all critics. Sometimes they engage in what I call “philosophical shit-stirring". You may think that’s a profanity but it’s actually a technical term. I’ve advocated some deliberately unpopular shit-stirring conclusions in the past. One of these is liberal eugenics - the idea that you can turn an evil like eugenics into something good by prefacing it with the feel-good term “liberal”. These dialogues are the beginning of a philosophical stock-take on what we should or might become.

Nicholas' book list on how technology could change humanity

Nicholas Agar Why did Nicholas love this book?

There’s a lot of thoughtless talk by techno-optimistic philosophers about futures in which we all get to become superintelligent and live for thousands of years if we can apply the right tech to ourselves.

Sykes describes fascinating research on the Neanderthals, beings who were almost, but not quite, us. Reading her book, I wondered what it might have been like to grow up as the child of a union between a Homo sapiens and a Neanderthal. I found this especially useful when we consider future relationships between people determined to remain human and others who want tech to make them posthuman ASAP.

There’s so much information to gleen from Sykes to help us guess at how posthumans might treat beings whom they view as different and possibly inferior.

By Rebecca Wragg Sykes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

** WINNER OF THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2021 ** 'Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.' Professor Brian Cox 'Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.' Yuval Noah Harari Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside cliches of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them…


Book cover of The Hydrogen Sonata

Nicholas Agar Author Of Dialogues on Human Enhancement

From my list on how technology could change humanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a New Zealand philosopher who’s written a lot about the human enhancement debate. Philosophers are well known for their willingness to defend unpopular conclusions against all critics. Sometimes they engage in what I call “philosophical shit-stirring". You may think that’s a profanity but it’s actually a technical term. I’ve advocated some deliberately unpopular shit-stirring conclusions in the past. One of these is liberal eugenics - the idea that you can turn an evil like eugenics into something good by prefacing it with the feel-good term “liberal”. These dialogues are the beginning of a philosophical stock-take on what we should or might become.

Nicholas' book list on how technology could change humanity

Nicholas Agar Why did Nicholas love this book?

This final work in Banks’ Culture sci-fi series is all about technologically advanced species making the decision to sublime – to depart the “real world” to reside in “higher dimensions”.

As I read the book I found my philosopher’s brain bullied to understand what subliming could possibly be. When techno-enthusiasts propose radical human enhancement are they effectively suggesting that we should sublime? When the aspiring trillionaires of AI are asked about the future in which they make AIs much smarter than us, they get vague about the details.

The throwaway line of OpenAI’s Sam Altman and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is “all bets are off” after they achieve their stated goal of artificial superintelligence. Should we approach the future gifts of AI much in the way that Banks’s characters approach the offer of subliming?

By Iain M. Banks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The tenth Culture book from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilisation.

An ancient people, organised on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilisations: they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new…


Book cover of A Hacker's Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules, and How to Bend them Back

Nicholas Agar Author Of Dialogues on Human Enhancement

From my list on how technology could change humanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a New Zealand philosopher who’s written a lot about the human enhancement debate. Philosophers are well known for their willingness to defend unpopular conclusions against all critics. Sometimes they engage in what I call “philosophical shit-stirring". You may think that’s a profanity but it’s actually a technical term. I’ve advocated some deliberately unpopular shit-stirring conclusions in the past. One of these is liberal eugenics - the idea that you can turn an evil like eugenics into something good by prefacing it with the feel-good term “liberal”. These dialogues are the beginning of a philosophical stock-take on what we should or might become.

Nicholas' book list on how technology could change humanity

Nicholas Agar Why did Nicholas love this book?

Schneier’s book taught me that hacking isn’t just something that occasionally happens to your laptop. The powerful hack the laws that govern our society too.

I wondered how the hacking mindset could apply to enhancement techs. Which enhancement techs will the elite reserve for themselves and which might they impose on the gig workers of the future? Suppose Neuralink does manage to get its tech into our heads. Imagine Musk finds himself just short of the funds needed to found his planned Martian city. Might beneficiaries of his brain-computer interfaces find themselves abruptly subject to overpowering urges to immediately own ten Teslas? This sounds absurd.

Perhaps the right question to ask is how crazy it is relative to cities of a million on Mars by 2050. Is it beyond the reach of Musk’s rule-breaking, can-do imagination?

By Bruce Schneier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hacker's Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hack is any means of subverting a system's rules in unintended ways. The tax code isn't computer code, but a series of complex formulas. It has vulnerabilities; we call them "loopholes." We call exploits "tax avoidance strategies." And there is an entire industry of "black hat" hackers intent on finding exploitable loopholes in the tax code. We call them accountants and tax attorneys.

In A Hacker's Mind, Bruce Schneier takes hacking out of the world of computing and uses it to analyse the systems that underpin our society: from tax laws to financial markets to politics. He reveals an…


Book cover of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything

Wagner James Au Author Of Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For

From my list on understanding virtual worlds and internet culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since childhood, I’ve been dazzled by the idea of virtual worlds described by pixels, first in ancient computer games, and then in novels that gave the rudimentary graphics of decades past a vivid new life—from the hallucinatory realities in Philip K. Dick’s novels to William Gibson’s Neuromancer to most of all, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. As a young writer, I stepped sideways into a dream assignment: Helping make the Metaverse real. After writing about it for two decades, however, I’m still learning about it now.

Wagner's book list on understanding virtual worlds and internet culture

Wagner James Au Why did Wagner love this book?

While many game developers have often referred to the virtual world they were building as inspired by the Metaverse of Snow Crash, the term never quite caught on outside their industry—until seasoned media executive and venture capitalist Matthew Ball came along.

Hitting the shelves exactly 30 years after Neal Stephenson’s novel was published, Matt changed all that, explaining the concept in terms that the broader business world could understand. Also highly recommended for delving into the financial and technical challenges that must be surmounted to create a fully instantiated Metaverse.

By Matthew Ball,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The term "metaverse" is suddenly everywhere, from debates over Fortnite to the pages of The New York Times to the speeches of Mark Zuckerberg, who proclaimed in June 2021 that "the overarching goal" of Facebook is to "bring the metaverse to life."

But what, exactly, is the metaverse? As pioneering theorist and venture capitalist Matthew Ball explains, it is the successor to the mobile internet that has defined the last two decades. The metaverse is a persistent, 3D, virtual world-a network of interconnected experiences and devices, tools and infrastructure, far beyond mere virtual reality. And it is poised to revolutionise…


Book cover of An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination

Roger Highfield Author Of The Dance of Life: Symmetry, Cells and How We Become Human

From my list on what big data is and how it impacts us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the Science Director of the Science Museum Group, based at the Science Museum in London, and visiting professor at the Dunn School, University of Oxford, and Department of Chemistry, University College London. Every time I write a book I swear that it will be my last and yet I'm now working on my ninth, after earlier forays into the physics of Christmas and the love life of Albert Einstein. Working with Peter Coveney of UCL, we're exploring ideas about computation and complexity we tackled in our two earlier books, along with the revolutionary implications of creating digital twins of people from the colossal amount of patient data now flowing from labs worldwide.

Roger's book list on what big data is and how it impacts us

Roger Highfield Why did Roger love this book?

‘They trust me….dumb f*cks.’ This telling exchange from the Harvard days of Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appears in An Ugly Truth, which shines a harsh light on the tech behemoth that, ultimately, is built on the data of billions of people. As Meta, Zuckerberg’s new business incarnation, wafts into the virtual worlds of the metaverse, the story of Facebook is far from over, which makes this engaging book a tad unsatisfying. Nonetheless, it is a vivid example of how with Big Data comes Big Responsibility.

By Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An explosive new book' Daily Mail

'[A] careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. An Ugly Truth provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: it confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company's spin' New York Times

__________________________________________

Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in this riveting, behind-the-scenes expose that offers the definitive account of Facebook's fall from grace. Once one of Silicon Valley's…


Book cover of Facebook: The Inside Story

Neil Archer Author Of The Social Network: Youth Film 2.0

From my list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a fixation with films about or using digital technology: my work in this area is about trying to grasp the impacts of technological change on the world in which we live. In writing about The Social Network, I was gripped by the idea that a group of college kids could create something so contagious and monstrous as Facebook. More recently, I’ve been exploring the impacts of data on our understanding and management of sport. I’m also working on a long-term project about Pixar, a long-term fascination. I just love the idea that the films we and our children watch started out with a bunch of computer scientists, playing around with polygons.

Neil's book list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life

Neil Archer Why did Neil love this book?

Levy is the great Silicon Valley insider-reporter, a tech fan who gets close to the action while remaining clear-sighted and critical about his subjects: inevitably, his weighty book about Mark Zuckerberg’s rise and subsequent travails was indispensable for my own work.

Like the film and its topic, Levy’s book is partly inspiring, frequently troubling, but overall offers an insightful vision of how and why Facebook defined and shaped the first part of the new century. It’s also a reminder of how, if anything, The Social Network was overly nice in its depiction of Facebook’s founder.

By Steven Levy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Levy portrays a tech company where no one is taking responsibility for what it has unleashed' Financial Times

'This fascinating book reveals the imperial ambitions of Facebook's founder' James Marriott, Sunday Times

'The inside story of how Facebook went from idealism to scandal' Laurence Dodds, Telegraph

Today, Facebook is nearly unrecognizable from the simple website Zuckerberg's first built from his dorm room in his Sophomore year. It has grown into a tech giant, the largest social media platform and one of the biggest companies in the world, with a valuation of more than $576 billion and almost 3 billion users.…


Book cover of The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality

Leslie Shannon Author Of Interconnected Realities: How the Metaverse Will Transform Our Relationship with Technology Forever

From my list on when hot new technology meets reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the Head of Trend and Innovation Scouting for Nokia, and I’ve been with the company since the glory days of Nokia mobile phone world dominance. I know first-hand what happens when a company focuses exclusively on the technology, not the humans that use it, and how quickly that can lead to disaster. One of the lessons that I see repeated continuously in the field of innovation is that a huge amount of attention gets paid to the new technology, and not nearly enough on how the technology will interact with our existing systems, beliefs, attitudes, and culture. Learning from the mistakes is the best way to make sure that the future doesn’t repeat them!

Leslie's book list on when hot new technology meets reality

Leslie Shannon Why did Leslie love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered how on Earth Mark Zuckerberg ended up betting his Facebook empire on the unproven technology of Virtual Reality (VR), this is the recent history book for you. 

Blake Harris starts with Palmer Luckey, a homeschooled teenager who shrugged off the received wisdom of all of his elders, and just went ahead and built the first commercially viable VR headset. (That’s an amazing story in itself.) And then he got Mark Zuckerberg so excited about this new experience that, yes, Zuckerberg ended up buying Luckey’s company – and eventually forcing him out.

The History of the Future is about technology, business, the consequences of acting on visionary thinking, and, above all, about how technology is ultimately created and developed by human beings. 

By Blake J. Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A USA Today bestseller

The dramatic, larger-than-life true story behind the founding of Oculus, its quest for virtual reality, and its founder's contentious battle for political freedom against Facebook, from the bestselling author of Console Wars (now a CBS All Access film).

In The History of the Future, Harris once again deep-dives into a tech drama for the ages to expertly tell the larger-than-life true story of Oculus, the virtual reality company founded in 2012 that-less than two years later-would catch the attention of Mark Zuckerberg and wind up being bought by Facebook for over $2 billion dollars.

This incredible…


Book cover of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

Evan I. Schwartz Author Of The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television

From my list on cautionary tales about world-changing technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Starting college in 1982, just as the personal computer became TIME’s first non-human “person of the year,” I got fascinated by how such a powerful technology could change the world and what other marvels might be next. After all, whenever a new thing arrives, humans make choices of how to use it, and those choices alter life on planet Earth in unforeseen ways. I majored in computer science and became a tech journalist, writing for BusinessWeek, WIRED, and MIT Technology Review. I set out to write the little-known story of how a prior screen, television, was born, wondering whether it would turn into a cautionary tale.

Evan's book list on cautionary tales about world-changing technology

Evan I. Schwartz Why did Evan love this book?

As with the creation of 2001, this 2009 book was written simultaneously with a screenplay, by Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network. As author Ben Mezrich admits up front, entire scenes and stretches of dialog are made up, making this account of Mark Zuckerberg’s real experiences conjuring Facebook as a student at Harvard more like a work of fiction. While the book is wildly entertaining, it falls way short as a cautionary tale about the social media platform that would end up doing damage to our democracy as a petri dish of misinformation and manipulation. Only at the very end of the 2010 movie do we receive notes of alarm, thanks to the film’s closing song. “Now that you know who you are,” the Beatles sing in "Baby You’re a Rich Man", “what do you want to be?” It suggests that Facebook’s business plan…

By Ben Mezrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller and inspiration for the Oscar-winning movie, The Social Network

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg - an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius - were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university's entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students. Narrowly escaping expulsion, the two misfits refocused the site into something less controversial - 'The Facebook' - and watched as it spread like wildfire across campuses around the country, and their popularity exploded in the process.

Yet amidst…


Book cover of Snow Crash

Kian N. Ardalan Author Of Eleventh Cycle

From my list on think about humanity's legacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Something that annoys me to no end is when people avoid reading fantasy or sci-fi because it isn’t realistic. I argue that realism isn’t about the veracity of flying dragons or building a fusion reactor that can fit in our hands; it’s about the human elements in between. Sci-fi can be a reminder of the dangerous trajectory we are heading in. Fantasy can reflect inequality by condensing resources to one mystical gem. To this end, any book that ends with me understanding the danger of language by describing it as a virus or showing me how books can bridge the gap between past and present makes me grow as a person.

Kian's book list on think about humanity's legacy

Kian N. Ardalan Why did Kian love this book?

A virus that moves through language? It's insane, and yet, I can’t stop seeing it in action.

When I first started the book, I had to roll my eyes at the cliché of a protagonist in a videogame who was also one of the most renowned samurais in the world. It explored themes that, at the beginning, seemed so comical. And yet, I finished that book and walked away feeling pensive.

I knew inherently that a language can be destructive. It can sow discord and preach hate. But the perspective of seeing it as a virus brought a whole new light to the concept. It’s something I never considered before, especially when imagining how hate can spread so virulently.

By Neal Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Snow Crash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The “brilliantly realized” (The New York Times Book Review) breakthrough novel from visionary author Neal Stephenson, a modern classic that predicted the metaverse and inspired generations of Silicon Valley innovators

Hiro lives in a Los Angeles where franchises line the freeway as far as the eye can see. The only relief from the sea of logos is within the autonomous city-states, where law-abiding citizens don’t dare leave their mansions.

Hiro delivers pizza to the mansions for a living, defending his pies from marauders when necessary with a matched set of samurai swords. His home is a shared 20 X 30…


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