The best information technology books

13 authors have picked their favorite books about information technology and why they recommend each book.

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Digital Minimalism

By Cal Newport,

Book cover of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

If you worry that you are spending too much time on your phone and finding that it’s getting in the way of your life, you might find this book just the right push to get some distance from your devices. Cal Newport gives loads of practical advice on how to make your phone work for you, and not the other way around. This book encouraged me to delete a whole load of distracting apps that I was sinking hours into without realising. If you want/need to be more focused at work and have fewer things fighting for your attention then this book has loads of actions you can take. In a world where we are swamped with content, choices and distractions everywhere, you might find that taking the digital minimalism approach brings you a bit more peace of mind. Even if you take just a few of the suggestions on…


Who am I?

I’m an illustrator from Brighton, living in London. I’ve spent 10 years working in the field and over time have had to figure out how to juggle projects in order to make ends meet. I spend a large chunk of my time in my studio working and while I’m working I’m listening to audiobooks because it’s one of the only things that keeps me focussed on the task at hand. Over this time I’ve had quite a few challenges with overwork and getting burnt out and so I’ve listened and read quite a few books on improving working practice. The books I recommended are a few of my favorites that especially resonated with me.


I illustrated...

War Horse

By Tom Clohosy Cole, Michael Morpurgo,

Book cover of War Horse

What is my book about?

Michael Morpurgo's global bestselling children's book War Horse has been adapted into a picture book for the first time. Illustrated throughout, it brings the beloved children's classic to life for kids aged 5 and up.

Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has adapted his much-loved novel, War Horse, for a picture book audience. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse and is a gateway to help children understand the history and chaos of the First World War. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across the world, War Horse remains an important book for generations to come.

The Information

By James Gleick,

Book cover of The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

We are often reminded that we live in the Information Age and this witty, lucid, wide-ranging book tells how that happened and what it means. Ada plays an important role, but it is the stage that matters here. Where did she fit in, how have her ideas helped to create our world? Gleick’s profound erudition equips him to link all the disparate fields that make up Information. Ada, with her appetite for all kinds of ideas, from flight, to rainbows, musical composition, mesmerism, electricity, hydrodynamics, poetry, ethics, and, of course, information, embodies an ongoing transformation of human consciousness.  Gleick introduces her and many others in dramatic set pieces that make this a thrilling book to read.

Finally, anyone seriously interested in Ada Byron Lovelace should consult the online proceedings of the Ada Lovelace Symposium conducted at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford in December 2015.

Over the course of two days, literary,…


Who am I?

I’ve enjoyed a long career as an author-illustrator of picture books for children. I search for stories of girls and women whose greatness has been overlooked: - Caroline Herschel, pioneering astronomer, - Oney Judge, the slave who escaped from George and Martha Washington, - Margaret Knight, the inventor who fought the man who tried to steal her idea and won in court - and Lizzie Murphy, the big-league baseball star. Every one of them had to overcome centuries of fierce resistance to female empowerment. A few of my biographies began as picture books, but their subjects quickly outgrew that format.


I wrote...

Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business - And Won!

By Emily Arnold McCully,

Book cover of Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business - And Won!

What is my book about?

Tarbell’s brave, scrupulous, serial expose of Rockefeller in McClure’s Magazine riveted the nation and led to the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly. Her work made her the most famous woman in America. The only female Muckraker, Tarbell was born in Western Pennsylvania just as oil was discovered there. During her early years, Oil came to dominate the industry and seep into every other aspect of modern life. Using predatory and illegal tactics, John D Rockefeller came to dominate Oil.

As a single woman in a hyper-masculine age, Tarbell found a way to be one of the boys, and was uniquely respected for her views on issues of the day. She is a complex, flawed, but admirable model for girls and young women drawn to journalism, or the history of ascendancies over a world stubbornly shaped by male entitlement.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

By Shoshana Zuboff,

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

An important book. Zuboff captures in great detail the ways in which the erosion of our privacy has become embedded in our modern economy. Most people know that “information is power.” This is a book for anyone interested in how the bulk collection of information can be turned into money. This book is about the new normal.  


Who am I?

I grew up in an Italian-American family that taught its children to respect other people’s privacy, and demand that people respect ours. Privacy is an essential part of what it means to live in a free society. It creates space for intimacy. The deterioration of our privacy rights is one of the most important issues facing the modern world, and I’ve dedicated my career to teaching and writing about it. I am an author, a professor, and a data privacy professional. My public lectures on the right to privacy include the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Senate, the National Football League, and leading tech and cryptocurrency companies.


I wrote...

None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

By Lawrence Cappello,

Book cover of None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

What is my book about?

“‘What is it we fear we’re losing?’ Cappello asks in his brilliant history of privacy in America. Is there any timelier question? Thoroughly researched and deftly told, None of Your Damn Business is a history of privacy written for and about Wall Street and Main Street, government and the courts, intelligence operatives and digital entrepreneurs, current and future citizens. It deserves our full attention.” - David Nasaw, New York Times best-selling author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Data Smog

By David Shenk,

Book cover of Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut

Information overload threatens our ability to educate ourselves, leaves us more vulnerable as consumers and less cohesive as a society, and diminishes control of our own lives. As such David Shenk offers numerous “Laws of Data Smog," i.e: Information is now plentiful and taken for granted. I was immediately impressed by his pithy observations: Putting a computer in every classroom is like putting an electric power plant into every home; education cannot be fixed with a digital pipeline of data. Too many experts spoil the clarity, and lead to the paralysis of analysis.

The law of diminishing returns, says Shenk, applied to the growing speed and abundance of information, will produce an infoglut that will no longer add to our quality of life. Infoglut is already cultivating stress, confusion, and, yes, ignorance. I have found this to be too true!

In a glutted environment, he says, the most difficult task…


Who am I?

I am the recognized expert on work-life balance, harmony, and integrative issues, and since 2009, hold the registered trademark from the USPTO as the “Work-Life Balance Expert®." I'm the author of several popular books including Breathing Space, Everyday Project Management, Simpler Living, and The 60 Second Organizer. My books have been featured in 68 of the top 75 American newspapers and, in two instances, advertised in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. I offer hands-on strategies for a balanced career and life to audiences from Singapore to San Diego, with clients as diverse as Novo Nordisk, Worthington Steel, Lufthansa, American Law Institute, Wells Fargo, the IRS, and more.


I wrote...

Everyday Project Management

By Jeff Davidson,

Book cover of Everyday Project Management

What is my book about?

Everyday Project Management provides you with what you need to know for successful project management. The book covers vital aspects of project management including plotting your path, drawing upon supporting tools, assembling a winning team, expending your resources wisely, monitoring your progress, adjusting course as needed, and learning from your experience to be even better at managing projects in the future.

In the form of a quick reference tool, each of the 16 chapters can be read and absorbed in about 20 minutes. The book provides essential nuggets of wisdom with an understanding of what your role as project manager involves, the kinds of challenges you’ll encounter, the interpersonal issues that will arise, and how to stay on time and on budget in pursuit of the desired, quality outcome.

Digital Body Language

By Erica Dhawan,

Book cover of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance

Have you ever found that you unintentionally offended someone with an innocuous message? Or perhaps no one responds to your emails, even when you think they should.

We lose so much meaning and context when we interact online rather than in person. In a world of virtual and hybrid work, it’s not enough to write well. We must also master the non-verbal signals that accompany our words. This book is an essential guide to mastering the subtle ins and outs of writing emails, messages, texts, social media posts, and more.


Who am I?

After spending years as a freelance writer and content marketer, I turned my attention to exploring the inner workings of why writing works and how it fails. I’m an unabashed nonfiction geek on a mission to help people make a positive impact with their words—whether they’re writing emails, blog posts, or nonfiction books. 


I wrote...

33 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Business Emails

By Anne H. Janzer,

Book cover of 33 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Business Emails

What is my book about?

Love them or hate them, everyone writes business emails. Too often, we screw them up. We move too fast, leaving out necessary or sending them to the wrong people. Our messages are misunderstood, misfiled, or ignored.

If you do nothing else to improve your business writing, work on your email skills. This short book is stuffed with practical advice and tips you can use immediately. Learn how to rise above the inbox clutter. Your teammates, clients, and everyone will appreciate it. Your career may thank you, too.

Here Comes Everybody

By Clay Shirky,

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

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

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

By Geoffrey Colon,

Book cover of Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us about Navigating the New Normal

What is my book about?

In the 21st century, the best marketing comes from what Geoffrey Colon calls “creative hybrids,” marketers with training in design, video production, psychology, and statistics. Creative direction is driven by customer experience and social media research, he says. Colon brings a fresh view to marketing in this provocative and useful book.

Program or Be Programmed

By Douglas Rushkoff, Leland Purvis (illustrator),

Book cover of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

The impact of technology on the way we imagine, conceptualize, write, experiment, and communicate is of increasing concern to people, and has been for some time. In his book, Douglas Rushkoff says, "Do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it?" Through a guideline, with comics to illustrate, he helps us navigate this new universe. As Francis Bacon said, "We must obey the forces we want to command!"


Who am I?

During my life, I’ve been told that I was not a true engineer, not a true banker, not a true CEO, not a true entrepreneur, not a true teacher… But one day an executive told me: “I want to work with you because you’re not a true consultant.” I then realized it is was a privilege not to be a true something! I like to call myself a corporate philosopher. Fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute, and co-founder of Cartoonbase, I split my time between the worlds of academia and business. I have published several other books on various subjects such as language, mathematics, humor, or fallacies.


I wrote...

Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

By Luc de Brabandere,

Book cover of Be Logical, Be Creative, Be Critical: the Art of Thinking in a Digital World

What is my book about?

AI and human intelligence. Fine, but who is programming who? The power of the computer should not come as a surprise since it was designed with the purpose of enabling humans to amplify their reasoning skills. But we should be aware that, if it allows us to think ahead, the computer influences our way of thinking as well. Thinking is clearly no longer what it used to be and, in my new book coauthored with Lina Benmehrez, I invite you to rediscover the art of thinking in a digital world through logic, creativity and sound argumentation!

This essay takes us back to ancient Greece where logical and critical thinking were first formalized. It also reminds us of more recent developments in cognitive sciences that include creative thinking. 

Tangle's Game

By Stewart Hotston,

Book cover of Tangle's Game

Tangle’s Game is a clever examination of the near future with an exploration of prejudice that is massively relevant in today’s society. The very best science fiction offers us a mirror to our own circumstances and situations. In the world of Tangle’s Game, we see the cultural behemoths of blockchain technology and social media as even more dominant forces than they are today.

Hotston uses this story to offer an informed and nuanced perspective on the world. Amanda’s descent from conformity highlights the ways in which we are measured and judged.


Who am I?

I’m a science fiction writer and academic who is interested in the big themes that challenge us as individuals and as a civilisation. My recent writing explores the representation of disability in science fiction. I want to create characters who readers can identify with and who provide different perspectives on the fictional future I am writing about. These characters are not trying to overcome any limitations, they live and accept who and what they are as we all do. The writers and stories I have chosen in this list do the same, showing us something about the human condition that we may not have thought about before.


I wrote...

Resilient

By Allen Stroud,

Book cover of Resilient

What is my book about?

AD 2118. Humanity has colonised the Moon, Mars, Ceres, and Europa. The partnership of corporations and governments has energized the space program for one hundred years. That partnership is shattered when a terrorist attack destroys the world’s biggest solar array in Atacama, Chile, altering the global economic balance.

Resilient is a masterpiece of hard sci-fi, a worthy follow-up from events of his successful and highly-praised Flame Tree Press debut, Fearless.

Data and Goliath

By Bruce Schneier,

Book cover of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Security expert Bruce Schneier wrote this excellent book, talking about the “Goliaths” who are looking to exploit individuals’ data. Focusing more on politics (specifically US politics) than the other books on this list, Schneier talks about the Edward Snowden classified information reveal. He talks about mass surveillance conducted by the US and other governments around the world, and lays out in detail why this should concern us all.


Who am I?

I have been an information technology and cybersecurity professional for over two decades. I’ve learned over and over again that “people are the weakest link.” You can build the most secure system in the world, with stringent password requirements. But if the user writes their password down and leaves it where someone else can see it, system security is irrelevant! The easiest way to gain access to a system is via “social engineering” – to trick a human being into giving you the access you need, rather than trying to hack the system itself. The books on this list will help the reader lower their chances of being exploited like this.


I wrote...

10 Don'ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie's Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

By Eric J. Rzeszut, Daniel Bachrach,

Book cover of 10 Don'ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie's Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

What is my book about?

In nontechnical language and engaging style, 10 Don’ts on Your Digital Devices explains to non-techie users of PCs and handheld devices exactly what to do and what not to do to protect their digital data from security and privacy threats at home, at work, and on the road. These include chronic threats such as malware and phishing attacks and emerging threats that exploit cloudbased storage and mobile apps.

Through ten vignettes told in accessible language and illustrated with helpful screenshots, 10 Don’ts teaches non-technical readers ten key lessons for protecting your digital security and privacy with the same care you reflexively give to your physical security and privacy.

The Second Machine Age

By Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee,

Book cover of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

One of the biggest questions surrounding AI is the impact it will have on jobs. Just as manufacturing jobs are affected by mechanical automation, many white- and blue-collar jobs are going to be affected by AI-driven automation in the future. The question is whether AI will be like all technologies in the past (which have created more jobs than they have destroyed) or whether it is unique in its ability to automate and displace human jobs at a faster pace than the jobs it creates. Many commentators have asked the question and there are dozens of books exploring how AI will affect jobs.

Among all the books out there on the impact of AI-driven automation, this is one of my favorites. While offering a fundamentally optimistic take, the authors also warn the reader that our education systems will need to change and people will need to upskill themselves and public…


Who am I?

I build and use emerging technological innovations in business, and I also teach others how they might too! I’m a serial entrepreneur and a Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As an entrepreneur, I co-founded and developed the core IP for Yodle Inc, a venture-backed firm that was acquired by Web.com. I’m now the founder of Jumpcut Media – a startup using data and Web3 technologies to democratize opportunities in Film and TV. In all this work, I'm often trying to assess how emerging technologies may affect business and society in the long run and how I can apply them to create new products and services.


I wrote...

A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control

By Kartik Hosanagar,

Book cover of A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control

What is my book about?

If you read the news, you have probably heard the term algorithms: computer code that seems to control much of what we do on the internet, landing us in all sorts of jams. Elections are swayed by newsfeed algorithms, markets are manipulated by trading algorithms, women and minorities are discriminated against by resume screening algorithms –  individuals are left at the mercy of machines. This book offers a way to understand the implications in our personal and professional lives and how we might offset the challenges they pose.  

While this subject gets a lot of attention in popular journalism, I feel the public lacks the right mental models to understand algorithms and AI. As a result, the conversation is often fear-oriented, at the expense of being solution-oriented. This is my attempt to address these problems and start a conversation on what the solution should look like.

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