Every season is book-giving season, and we’ve put together a list of 11 books published in 2021 to help you find the right gift for yourself or for the FOSS and tech enthusiast in your life.
The books in this list cover a variety of topics that are critical to understanding the technological and societal landscape of today and tomorrow, ranging from AI, data, and robots to tech history, software development, and the accelerating pace of change.
Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence
By Kate Crawford
In this book, Kate Crawford explains how AI is a technology of extraction — from the rare minerals drawn from the earth to the data harvested from personal actions. Crawford explores how these practices are fueling a shift toward increased inequity and undemocratic governance.
Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century
By Jeff Lawson (Author), Eric Ries (Foreword)
Jeff Lawson provides a management tool kit for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization, explaining how to engage developers not only to build products but also to solve business problems and drive digital transformation.
Deep Tech: Demystifying the Breakthrough Technologies That Will Revolutionize Everything
By Eric Redmond
Eric Redmond posits that, by 2030, seven emerging technologies will have a $100-trillion impact on the global economy. Deep Tech covers these technologies and their potential for digital disruption.
Living in Data: A Citizen's Guide to a Better Information Future
By Jer Thorp
To live in data in the 21st century is to be incessantly extracted from, categorized, sold, and surveilled, says Jer Thorp. In Living in Data, Thorp redefines what data is and reimagines who gets to use its power to create a more just and democratic future.
My Robot Gets Me: How Social Design Can Make New Products More Human
By Carla Diana
This book examines how technology allows designers to humanize consumer products in subtle ways. Through examples of social design principles, the author shows how the use of light, sound, and movement can evoke human responses to even the most mundane products.
Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World
By Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe argues that when it comes to changing minds, facts are only part of the equation. Hayhoe explains that we also need to find shared values to overcome distrust of data, indifference to imminent threats, and resistance to proposed solutions in order to spur collective climate action.
System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot
By Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, Jeremy M. Weinstein
System Error exposes how big tech’s focus on optimization is driving a future that reinforces discrimination, erodes privacy, displaces workers, and pollutes information. In this book, the authors provide ideas and solutions to help people understand what they can do to control technology instead of letting it control them.
The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society
By Azeem Azhar
As technology accelerates, the human mind struggles to keep up, which means certain people, companies, and democracies get left behind. This is known as the exponential gap. In this book, Azeem Azhar attempts to make sense of this period of rapid change and explores how we should respond.
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
By Adam Grant
Adam Grant examines the critical art of rethinking — that is, learning to question your own opinions and open other people's minds. In this bestseller, he shares how to embrace being wrong and bring nuance to charged conversations, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life.
This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race
By Nicole Perlroth
Nicole Perlroth investigates the cyberweapons market — the most secretive, invisible, government-backed market on Earth — and examines the urgent threat facing us all if we cannot bring the global cyber arms race under control.
Where Is My Flying Car?
By J. Storrs Hall
In this book, J. Storrs Hall explores whatever happened to flying cars. He looks at the technical limitations of building flying cars as well as the scientific, technological, and social roots of the economic stagnation that started in the 1970s.
If there are books you would add to this list, please let us know. And, in the spirit of open source and community, if you choose to purchase these or other books, we encourage you to support your local bookshop.
Other books to note:
Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home
By Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen
The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity
By David Graeber and David Wengrow