The most recommended books about privacy

Who picked these books? Meet our 11 experts.

11 authors created a book list connected to privacy, and here are their favorite privacy books.
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Book cover of The Circle

Akemi C. Brodsky Author Of The Brill Pill

From my list on the double-edged sword of technology.

Who am I?

I have been writing for several years now, but my undergraduate degree is in geochemistry and I have always had a keen interest in science. For me, writing and science go hand-in-hand because both represent an attempt to describe our world in different ways. Throughout my time studying science and spending time with other scientists, I became fascinated with the culture of academia and the competition that pushes people to compromise in the name of progress. We know far less than we don’t know about the universe, and speculative fiction makes a creative effort to fill in this gaping lack of knowledge while presenting us with important thought experiments. 

Akemi's book list on the double-edged sword of technology

Akemi C. Brodsky Why did Akemi love this book?

This story is almost too close to reality, but that is what made it so engaging for me.

Mae begins as a very relatable and down-to-earth college graduate who is thrilled to be offered a job at the Circle – a tech behemoth. She is blinded by reverence and ambition as her job quickly sucks up her every moment with demands for pseudo-social interactions through the Circle’s constantly evolving network.

A commentary on all of the privacy issues we already face, this novel pushes them to their limits. The question is whether Mae will continue to bend to her new employer’s demands or whether she will break. The stakes continue to rise as her new job and her former life battle over her soul.

By Dave Eggers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - a dark, thrilling and unputdownable novel about our obsession with the internet

'Prepare to be addicted' Daily Mail

'A gripping and highly unsettling read' Sunday Times

'The Circle is 'Brave New World' for our brave new world... Fast, witty and troubling' Washington Post

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users' personal emails,…


Book cover of Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Who am I?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

The book introduced Interior Design as an intellectual subject with a firm theoretical grounding that went beyond style and taste to influential and foundational concepts and promoted it as a serious field of study. It is a collection of accessible essays and so is easy to dip into. My favourite essay is "Figures, Doors and Passageways," which discusses the formation of contemporary systems of circulation, the development of the corridor, and the evolution of modern ideas of personal privacy.

By Robin Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A re-edition of Robin Evans’ classic essay anthology Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, originally published by the Architectural Association (AA) in 1997. Featuring a new introduction, the book is the first in a new series of essay anthologies entitled AA Documents.

‘What makes this book so captivating is not just the individual insights, but also the intensity of Evans's vision and the coherence of his approach.’ ―Joseph Rykwert, Harvard Design Magazine

This book brings together eight of the most interesting and significant essays by the unequalled historian Robin Evans, author of The Projective Cast. Written over a…


Book cover of Privacy's Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies

Daniel J. Solove Author Of Understanding Privacy

From my list on about privacy.

Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.

Daniel's book list on about privacy

Daniel J. Solove Why did Daniel love this book?

Privacy’s Blueprint presents a deep, vivid, and concrete account of how technology companies design devices, websites, and software in ways that diminish privacy. Design choices are frequently clandestine, built so that people don’t notice them or how they are being pushed and manipulated into sharing more data or making choices that surrender their privacy. With clear and engaging examples, Hartzog illuminates these shadowy designs and shows how they work. He contends that privacy law can’t be effective unless it regulates design. According to Hartzog, design can be regulated in ways that aren’t overly controlling or stifling to innovation. This is a great book, filled with countless insights, and it is highly accessible. 

By Woodrow Hartzog,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every day, Internet users interact with technologies designed to undermine their privacy. Social media apps, surveillance technologies, and the Internet of Things are all built in ways that make it hard to guard personal information. And the law says this is okay because it is up to users to protect themselves-even when the odds are deliberately stacked against them.

In Privacy's Blueprint, Woodrow Hartzog pushes back against this state of affairs, arguing that the law should require software and hardware makers to respect privacy in the design of their products. Current legal doctrine treats technology as though it were value-neutral:…


Book cover of Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World

Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr Author Of When You Wonder, You're Learning: Mister Rogers' Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids

From my list on teaching creative, curious, caring kids.

Who are we?

For more than five years, we’ve been asking ourselves a question: How? How did Mister Rogers help millions of kids feel accepted, special, and safe? Was there a method to what he did? Was there a blueprint he left behind—one that we might continue to learn from today? The answer, of course, is yes. In fact, we’re only scratching the surface of what we can learn from Fred Rogers and the incredible educators, researchers, and authors who are following in his footsteps. We hope you’ll find echoes of the Neighborhood—and the feelings that Fred inspired—in each of the books we’ve listed here.

Ryan's book list on teaching creative, curious, caring kids

Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr Why did Ryan love this book?

Growing Up in Public addresses something that keeps digital-age parents awake at night: the fact that everything kids say and do will live online forever.

What does authenticity look like when the whole world is watching? How do kids develop character in an always-connected age? And how might we help our kids use digital tools to become the best of whoever they are?

We had the privilege of previewing the answers in Devorah Heitner’s fantastic book, forthcoming on September 12.

By Devorah Heitner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Growing Up in Public as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive book on helping kids navigate growing up in a world where nearly every moment of their lives can be shared and compared

With social media and constant connection, the boundaries of privacy are stretched thin. Growing Up in Public shows parents how to help tweens and teens navigate boundaries, identity, privacy, and reputation in their digital world.
     We can track our kids’ every move with apps, see their grades within minutes of being posted, and fixate on their digital footprint, anxious that a misstep could cause them to be “canceled” or even jeopardize their admission to college. And…


Book cover of Privacy and Freedom

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

From my list on privacy and surveillance that won't grow obsolete.

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.

Lawrence's book list on privacy and surveillance that won't grow obsolete

Lawrence Cappello Why did Lawrence love this book?

Written in the late-1960s, this is the original study of privacy by perhaps the greatest privacy scholar of the 20th century. Comprehensive and intricately detailed, Westin explores the changes and dangers facing American privacy at a crucial moment in American history. The book made such an impact when published that you can’t consider yourself a student of privacy if you haven’t read it. 

By Alan F. Westin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"He was the most important scholar of privacy since Louis Brandeis."—Jeffrey Rosen

In defining privacy as “the claim of individuals…to determine for themselves when, how and to what extent information about them is communicated,” Alan Westin’s 1967 classic Privacy and Freedom laid the philosophical groundwork for the current debates about technology and personal freedom, and is considered a foundational text in the field of privacy law.

By arguing that citizens retained control over how their personal data was used, Westin redefined privacy as an individual freedom, taking Justice Louis Brandeis’ 19th century definition of privacy as a legal right and…


Book cover of Surveillance

Jenny Twist Author Of The Cottage at the End of the World

From my list on the end of the world as we know it and how we handle big change.

Who am I?

Every so often something happens that changes everything. I have always been fascinated by this idea. Will the end of the world be an apocalypse inflicted by God? An invasion from space? A killer plague? I grew up on this stuff. I have spent a lifetime pondering over the most disturbing scenarios postulated by the greatest minds that have ever existed. These stories both terrify and thrill me. But what really grabs me are the people – the little, ordinary people like you and me – who are suddenly caught in an unseen horror, or slowly lured into one. In 2018 Jenny Twist was awarded Top Female Author in Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal/Science Fiction by The Authors Show.

Jenny's book list on the end of the world as we know it and how we handle big change

Jenny Twist Why did Jenny love this book?

Claire and Brandon Avery live in a world pretty much like ours but with surveillance notched up to a point where there is very little privacy. It is also a world in which the government is very suspicious of high intelligence, and the Averys’ son Harrison is very intelligent indeed. But how do you teach a six-year-old child, who hasn’t learnt how to lie, that he must hide his genius?

It’s amazing how much is packed into this short story. I was weak with apprehension when I realised what was at stake. If the man from the government discovers just how clever Harrison is, he will be taken away from his parents and neutralised. The Averys’ agony as they make plans to escape is palpable. And the ending knocks you sideways.

I came upon this little gem relatively recently and just read it again to check that it was as…

By Alexander Sofras, Lynette Sofras,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At six years old, Harrison Avery is already considered a prodigy and, in a world suspicious of intelligence, that places him in jeopardy. His parents live in fear of his extraordinary IQ being discovered—and will go to any lengths to hide it. But how do you disguise genius in a six year old when you are under constant surveillance?
(Short Story)


Book cover of Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age

Keith M. Martin Author Of Cryptography: The Key to Digital Security, How It Works, and Why It Matters

From my list on cryptography and how we secure the digital world.

Who am I?

I am a cryptography professor, which sadly doesn’t mean I spend my time breaking secret messages (at least not every day). I first studied cryptography simply because it was fun and interesting. It still is – but today it is unbelievably important, underpinning the security of almost everything we do in the digital world. I believe that developing a notion of 'cyber common sense’ is a vital life skill since so much of what we do is digital. A basic understanding of cryptography and its societal impact provides a superb foundation for making sense of digital security, so I’ve selected some of my favourite reads to get you started.

Keith's book list on cryptography and how we secure the digital world

Keith M. Martin Why did Keith love this book?

I always knew cryptography was political, but I had no idea how political until I read this book. Seeing the subject I am so fascinated by through the words of a political journalist was truly eye-opening. Steven Levy navigates a deeply fascinating period in modern technological history – the late twentieth-century battles between governments trying to maintain power and control over communications, and technologists who saw the fledgling internet as an opportunity to build a new world. Cryptography, which protects digital communications, sat plum on the frontline between these two communities, hence battles over cryptography turned into so-called 'crypto wars’ (although nobody died). Nobody who read this book was surprised with much that Edward Snowden had to say to the world in 2013 – Snowden was just reportage of the latest chapter in the same ongoing conflict.

By Steven Levy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you've ever made a secure purchase with your credit card over the Internet, then you have seen cryptography, or "crypto", in action. From Stephen Levy the author who made "hackers" a household word comes this account of a revolution that is already affecting every citizen in the twenty-first century. Crypto tells the inside story of how a group of "crypto rebels"&#151nerds and visionaries turned freedom fighters&#151teamed up with corporate interests to beat Big Brother and ensure our privacy on the Internet. Levy's history of one of the most controversial and important topics of the digital age reads like the…


Book cover of Industry Unbound: The Inside Story of Privacy, Data, and Corporate Power

Daniel J. Solove Author Of Understanding Privacy

From my list on about privacy.

Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.

Daniel's book list on about privacy

Daniel J. Solove Why did Daniel love this book?

Ari Waldman’s Industry Unbound eviscerates many of the current privacy laws and corporate privacy programs. On the surface, we appear to be living in the golden age of privacy law. Privacy laws are being passed at a feverish rate. Many companies now have dedicated teams of individuals who build a privacy program at the company to comply with the laws, assess privacy risks, train employees, and ensure that products and services are designed in ways that are protective of privacy. Unfortunately, Waldman contends, these privacy programs are hollow. They amount to building a meaningless paper record and end up cloaking poor privacy practices with a pretty facade. Even those who do not agree with the potency of Waldman’s critique must take note of the concerns he raises. His arguments are essential to engage with.  

By Ari Ezra Waldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Industry Unbound, Ari Ezra Waldman exposes precisely how the tech industry conducts its ongoing crusade to undermine our privacy. With research based on interviews with scores of tech employees and internal documents outlining corporate strategies, Waldman reveals that companies don't just lobby against privacy law; they also manipulate how we think about privacy, how their employees approach their work, and how they weaken the law to make data-extractive products the norm. In contrast to those who claim that privacy law is getting stronger, Waldman shows why recent shifts in privacy law are precisely the kinds of changes that corporations…


Book cover of Uneasy Access

Daniel J. Solove Author Of Understanding Privacy

From my list on about privacy.

Who am I?

I became interested in privacy in the mid-1990s. When I began my career as a law professor, I thought I might write one or two papers about privacy and then move on to other issues involving law and technology. But like Alice in Wonderland, I found an amazing world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I’ve written more than 10 books and 50 articles about privacy, and I have a list of topics and ideas that will keep me writing many more in the future. I recently wrote a children’s book about privacy called The Eyemonger, which is designed to spark a child’s thoughts and understanding about privacy.

Daniel's book list on about privacy

Daniel J. Solove Why did Daniel love this book?

Anita Allen is one of the pioneers of privacy law who began exploring privacy issues long before most others. She holds a PhD in philosophy, and in all her books, she explores privacy in a rich theoretical way but also a personal way too. Deeply humanistic, her work is thought-provoking and wide-ranging. I could have listed many of her great books, but the one that stands out the most to me is Uneasy Access. One of the earliest books written about privacy, Uneasy Access discusses privacy in the most illuminating way. The book makes an enormous contribution in discussing the role that privacy plays in women’s lives, but its conceptual work on privacy provides such clarity that it makes this book one of the best theoretical discussions of privacy across all contexts. 

By Anita L. Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Anita L. Allen breaks new ground...A stunning indictment of women's status in contemporary society, her book provides vital original scholarly research and insight.' |s-NEW DIRECTIONS FOR WOMEN