100 books like The Third Wave

By Alvin Toffler,

Here are 100 books that The Third Wave fans have personally recommended if you like The Third Wave. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Elements of Style

By William Strunk, E.B. White,

Book cover of The Elements of Style

Randall H. Duckett Author Of Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing: 41 How-To Tips for Creators

From the list on learning how to write effectively.

Who am I?

I love language and its power to inform, inspire, and influence. As I wrote Seven Cs: The Elements of Effective Writing, I researched what others have said about writing well and honed it down to these resources, which I quote. During my decades as a journalist and marketer, I developed and edited scores of publications, books, and websites. I also co-wrote two travel guides—100 Secrets of the Smokies and 100 Secrets of the Carolina Coast. I’ve written for such publications as National Geographic Traveler and AARP: The Magazine. A father of three women, I live in Springfield, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. 

Randall's book list on learning how to write effectively

Why did Randall love this book?

This book is old, like early 1900s. It was first drafted by William Strunk, Jr., who distributed a version to his students at Columbia University in 1919. E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web) modernized it in the ’50s. It went on to sell millions of copies and become one of the most influential guides to English. Why the history lesson? Because it’s remarkable how relevant it remains in 2022. It can feel dusty and literary, but it offers nuggets of wisdom like “omit needless words” that influence writers like me today. I shamelessly ripped off the concept of “elements” for my book. The “little book” is short—the fourth edition is 42 pages—but mighty. It deserves a spot on your physical or virtual bookshelf.    

By William Strunk, E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book's unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of "the little book" to make a big impact with writing.

The Immense Journey

By Loren Eiseley,

Book cover of The Immense Journey

Teri Dunn Chace Author Of Seeing Flowers: Discover the Hidden Life of Flowers

From the list on flowers.

Who am I?

Hiking in the flower-covered hillsides of Central California as a nature-loving kid, I couldn’t help but wonder about my companions. One of my first purchases (with babysitting money!) was a wildflower guide. I’ve moved around the country many times and every time I’ve had to start over, make new plant acquaintances and discoveries—always an orienting process. Of course, I’ve also studied plants formally, in college and in my career, and (honestly, best of all) via mentors and independent study. All this has shown me that flowers are more than just beautiful! They’re amazingly diverse, and full of fascinating behaviors and quirks. In fact, they are essential parts of the complex habitats we share.

Teri's book list on flowers

Why did Teri love this book?

This book is a revelation! The author (1907-1977) was a scientist (a naturalist, anthropologist, and paleontologist), and, boy, could he write. The title refers to the arc of time on this planet. There are chapters that describe and ponder fossils, evolution, so-called missing links, “the great deeps,” and so forth in the most captivating, poetic language. But the chapter to read is “How Flowers Changed the World.” I consider it the most important and insightful essay ever written on the dramatic arrival of angiosperms (flowering plants)—because he takes into account all context, and because he marvels. As we should.

By Loren Eiseley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Anthropologist and naturalist Loren Eiseley blends scientific knowledge and imaginative vision in this story of man.

Book cover of The Design of Everyday Things

Mike McQuaid Author Of Git in Practice

From the list on becoming a great open source software engineer.

Who am I?

I’ve been a professional software engineer and maintaining open-source software for 16 years. My work on open source has been heavily informed by industry best practises and my work on proprietary software has been heavily informed by open source best practises. Without these books, I’d be a worse engineer on many dimensions. Some of them may feel antiquated but all are still full of relevant wisdom for every open-source (and proprietary) software engineer today.

Mike's book list on becoming a great open source software engineer

Why did Mike love this book?

I was introduced to this book in a Human-Computer Interaction course at university but most of it barely mentions computers at all. It radically changed the way I thought about design of all everything, including all the software I have written since, to aim to be as intuitive and natural as possible.

Tip: read this on paper or on an iPad rather than an iPhone or Kindle as the pictures as essential.

By Don Norman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Design of Everyday Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious,even liberating,book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The…


By Benjamin Wallace,

Book cover of Junkers

David J. Agans Author Of Debugging: The 9 Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems

From the list on to give engineers new perspectives.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by the big picture—never mind what street corner I’m on, where am I on the map of the world? In fact, where am I in the plane of the solar system? (Gazing at the setting moon, I’ve worked this out!) As an engineering manager, I helped engineers debug systems with diverse technology, and found (and wrote about) principles that apply as much today as they did in 1975, using examples drawn from 30 years of my life and career. I developed a love for other timeless, classic books that helped me see the forest beyond the trees.

David's book list on to give engineers new perspectives

Why did David love this book?

I’m recommending this book (and the second one in the series) because it a.) is about malfunctioning technology, and b.) is laugh-out-loud funny. I write funny fiction myself and spend most of my reading time on favorite humorists like Douglas Adams, Carl Hiaasen, and Christopher Moore, but I’m always looking for new funny writers. Benjamin Wallace is my new favorite so far. Junkers is sort of sci-fi, but not so far-fetched as a galaxy far, far, away. And it’s about malfunctioning robots—I even wrote a musical comedy about that. It’s a funny topic.

By Benjamin Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Breaking things is their business.

As robot reclamation specialists, it’s their job to stop rampaging robots that are no longer covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. But while Jake and tight-knit his team are accustomed to dealing with a murderous nannybot, a killer scarecrow and the occasional vindictive dishwasher, they’ve never seen anything like this. All of the machines in the city are going rogue.

It’s up to these hardworking heroes to stop them and find out what’s behind the robot uprising that everyone promised could never happen.

Future Shock

By Alvin Toffler,

Book cover of Future Shock

Jerry Fishenden Author Of Fracture. The collision between technology and democracy-and how we fix it

From the list on technology and democracy.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved technology. I like the constant change, the sense of creativity and invention, of how it can act as an incredible force for good and human progress and betterment in the world. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering with gadgets—taking radios apart to mend them or learn how they worked; designing electronic circuits for music synthesis; programming computers. But I’ve also always been interested in politics and the complex intersection of technology and public policy. So much so that most of my working life has been spent at this intersection, which is why I love these books—and hope you will too.

Jerry's book list on technology and democracy

Why did Jerry love this book?

I remember first reading Future Shock after buying a battered, orange-coloured paperback edition at a bargain price from one of the second-hand bookshops that once saturated London’s Charing Cross Road.

It hadn’t really occurred to me before how much the increasingly rapid technological changes around us might create a sense of shock—‘future shock’— for some people. It changed my thinking about the influence of technology on our world and the impact it has on people, society, economics, and politics.

Even after all these years, many of Alvin Toffler’s insights and ideas remain just as topical today.

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…

Liquid Modernity

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Book cover of Liquid Modernity

Richard R. Weiner Author Of Sustainable Community Movement Organizations: Solidarity Economies and Rhizomatic Practices

From the list on understanding regimes of law and political economy.

Who am I?

Rich Weiner co-edited this featured volume with Francesca Forno. He is a political sociologist with a strong foundation in the history of political and social thought. He has served for twenty-two years as dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. His focus has been on non-statist political organizations and social movements with a perspective of middle-range theorizing enriched by three generations of Frankfurt School critical theory of society.

Richard's book list on understanding regimes of law and political economy

Why did Richard love this book?

Describes in depth a brave new world of uncertain constant acceleration and continued change in institutions and social relations.

I like the way Bauman depicts a condensing resonance, a new way of “being in the world.” Specifically, this is an increasing fluidity and fragmentation of social solidarities, where nothing is secure and where everything can be made redundant.

A world that Ulrich Beck, even before the new century, referred to as “the Second Modernity.”

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this new book, Bauman examines how we have moved away from a a heavya and a solida , hardware--focused modernity to a a lighta and a liquida , software--based modernity. This passage, he argues, has brought profound change to all aspects of the human condition. The new remoteness and un--reachability of global systemic structure coupled with the unstructured and under--defined, fluid state of the immediate setting of life--politics and human togetherness, call for the rethinking of the concepts and cognitive frames used to narrate human individual experience and their joint history. This book is dedicated to this task. Bauman…

Book cover of The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World

Billy Kay Author Of The Scottish World: A Journey Into the Scottish Diaspora

From the list on proving the world, and the Universe, is Scottish.

Who am I?

Very little Scottish history or culture was taught in school when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. When I began to read books on the subject from the local library and then studied Scottish literature at Edinburgh University, I realised what my brother and sister Scots had missed out on, and was determined to rectify that by writing accessible books which would both inform and entertain as well as enrich their lives and change the way they perceived their culture. I love their reaction to my work and the influence my books have had. 

Billy's book list on proving the world, and the Universe, is Scottish

Why did Billy love this book?

The British edition of this provocative book has the modest title The Scottish Enlightenment with the subheading The Scots’ Invention of the Modern World. I have the original in-your-face American edition though, which rejoices in a title that no Scot would have the brass neck to come up with: How the Scots Invented the Modern World with the subheading The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It. It was given to me by a Philipino-Californian surfing lawyer, Jesse Quinsaat, who studied with me at Edinburgh University in the early 1970s and continues his interest in Scottish culture when surf’s not up or the cases are not too demanding! He had bought the book in San Diego, loved it, and passed it on to me during a visit to Edinburgh.

By Arthur Herman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Every Scot should read it. Scotland now has the lively, provocative and positive history it deserves.' Irvine Welsh, Guardian

A dramatic and intriguing history of how Scotland produced the institutions, beliefs and human character that have made the West into the most powerful culture in the world.

Arthur Herman argues that Scotland's turbulent history, from William Wallace to the Presbyterian Lords of the Covenant, laid the foundations for 'the Scottish miracle'. Within one hundred years, the nation that began the eighteenth century dominated by the harsh and repressive Scottish Kirk had evolved into Europe's most literate society, producing an idea…

The Ethics of Authenticity

By Charles Taylor,

Book cover of The Ethics of Authenticity

Adam Ellwanger Author Of Metanoia: Rhetoric, Authenticity, and the Transformation of the Self

From the list on why looking for your ‘true self’ is pointless.

Who am I?

I'm a professor of rhetoric at the University of Houston – Downtown. In addition to my academic research, I write political and cultural commentary for a variety of right-of-center online publications. Much of my own work focuses on how individuals come to be persuaded about who they are. I argue that much of the frustration people feel when searching for their authentic identity is due to the fact that the existence of the hidden ‘true self’ is an illusion. The quest for authenticity is never complete. The good news, though, is that you can put an end to the suffering… only if you’re willing to give up the fevered pursuit of the “true self.”

Adam's book list on why looking for your ‘true self’ is pointless

Why did Adam love this book?

If you want to learn about the history of the concept of authenticity and how it is understood in the western world, this is probably the best book to read (after my book, of course!). Charles Taylor is one of the most prominent living philosophers of selfhood, and this book (topping out at only a little over 100 pages) is an easy-to-read digestion of the ideas that he elaborated in his much-longer book Sources of the Self. Taylor is ambivalent about whether personal authenticity is a good or a bad thing in our era. He recognizes the harms imposed by some of the debased forms that it takes in modern society, but Taylor also tries to articulate an ethics that could rehabilitate authenticity in a way that affirms the dignity of and respect for each individual. I don’t like the fence-sitting, but this remains required reading.

By Charles Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Everywhere we hear talk of decline, of a world that was better once, maybe fifty years ago, maybe centuries ago, but certainly before modernity drew us along its dubious path. While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most of modernity's challenges.

"The great merit of Taylor's brief, non-technical, powerful book...is the vigor with which he restates the point which Hegel (and later Dewey) urged against…

Vermeer's Hat

By Timothy Brook,

Book cover of Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Geoffrey Parker Author Of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

From the list on the 17th Century.

Who am I?

I teach history at The Ohio State University. This project began when I listened in 1976 to a radio broadcast in which Jack Eddy, a solar physicist, speculated that a notable absence of sunspots in the period 1645-1715 contributed to the “Little Ice Age”: the longest and most severe episode of global cooling recorded in the last 12,000 years. The Little Ice Age coincided with a wave of wars and revolution around the Northern Hemisphere, from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China to the beheading of Charles I in England. I spent the next 35 years exploring how the connections between natural and human events created a fatal synergy that produced human mortality on a scale seldom seen before – and never since.

Geoffrey's book list on the 17th Century

Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Brook uses artifacts portrayed in six paintings by the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer to show how, several centuries before the World Wide Web, the local and the global were intimately connected. He surprises his readers by showing that people and goods and ideas moved around the 17th-century world in ways that – rather like us – their ancestors would have considered impossible. Perhaps because Brook is a Canadian historian of China who is familiar with Europe, he provides a truly global history and almost every page contains a “gee whiz” fact. I also love the idea that “Every picture tells a story.”

By Timothy Brook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the epicentre of Delft in the Netherlands Brook takes the paintings of Johannes Vermeer and uses details of them as a series of entry points to the widest circles of world trade and cultural exchange in the seventeenth century. An officer's beaver hat in 'Officer and the Laughing Girl' opens up the story of Champlain's dealing with the native peoples of Canada and the beaver trade. A china dish on a table in another painting uncovers the story of the Chinese porcelain trade. Moving outwards from Vermeer's studio Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the…

The Palliative Society

By Byung-Chul Han, Daniel Steuer (translator),

Book cover of The Palliative Society: Pain Today

William Byers Author Of How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

From the list on thinking, creativity, and mathematics.

Who am I?

I'm a mathematician but an unusual one because I am interested in how mathematics is created and how it is learned. From an early age, I loved mathematics because of the beauty of its concepts and the precision of its organization and reasoning. When I started to do research I realized that things were not so simple. To create something new you had to suspend or go beyond your rational mind for a while. I realized that the learning and creating of math have non-logical features. This was my eureka moment. It turned the conventional wisdom (about what math is and how it is done) on its head.

William's book list on thinking, creativity, and mathematics

Why did William love this book?

It’s a little weird that this book should find a place on my list. It’s a book about how society has become resistant to anything that is difficult and painful and the kinds of people that we have become as a result. But mathematics is difficult! To understand mathematics you have to think hard, sometimes for a long time. Moreover understanding something hard is discontinuous, it requires a leap to a new way of thinking. You have to start with a problem and this problem might be an ambiguity or a contradiction. A is true and B is true but A and B seem to contradict one another. When you sort out this problem you will have learned something.

The moral here is to embrace things that are difficult if you want to learn significant new things. “No pain, no gain.” You don’t have to worry about some super AI…

By Byung-Chul Han, Daniel Steuer (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Our societies today are characterized by a universal algophobia: a generalized fear of pain. We strive to avoid all painful conditions - even the pain of love is treated as suspect. This algophobia extends into society: less and less space is given to conflicts and controversies that might prompt painful discussions. It takes hold of politics too: politics becomes a palliative politics that is incapable of implementing radical reforms that might be painful, so all we get is more of the same.

Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the palliative society is transformed into a society of survival. The virus enters…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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