A Little Festive Reading: Mission Northers Share 10 Books to Help Unlock the Tech World
As the bells jingle, as twinkle lights illuminate our streets at night, and holiday commercials and music have been stuck on repeat since Thanksgiving, the final days of the Christmas season are here! We asked Mission Northers which book they’d consider gifting to help the recipient gain a deeper understanding of the technology industry.
Our book recommendations range across recent and older fiction and nonfiction, encompassing key concerns around the intersection of humans and technology, from bias in tech to antitrust legislation and cybersecurity. Take a look at our 10 suggestions for last-minute tech-themed presents, which could also make for engaging gifts at any time of the year:
Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin
“This book is on my own Christmas list this year, and would be a great addition for anyone interested in antiracism and the impact of tech on our broader society. Any tech tool we use is built by humans, so it’s crucial to understand how our human biases can become embedded into our systems, and as a result, how tech may reinforce those biases in the real world. We can only mitigate these issues if we understand the roots!”
“I really enjoyed this book about Big Tech policy. It takes a look at antitrust laws and how they can currently be applied to tech and/or evolved to become relevant and enforceable. The author also serves in the Biden administration with responsibility for technology and competition policy. Gaining insight into Tim’s point of view is timely and immensely helpful in understanding the current regulatory climate.”
Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne
“A quick read that balances the greatness of digital technology while simultaneously preserving its image in an AI-powered world as told by two Microsoft executives—Brad Smith, president and vice chair, and Carol Ann Browne, chief of staff and executive communications. The authors use jargon in a digestible manner for readers who are new to the tech world as they connect lessons drawn from historical technical contexts coupled with their own position and journey within the industry for a humanistic approach to technology.”
Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway
“Professor Galloway’s use of eye-popping infographics and humor make his many lessons in the book easy to digest, such as how Big Tech can adapt to become a much more positive force in the world. This is a must-read for anyone with a vested interest or curiosity in the future of business, corporate culture and society.”
“This is my go-to gift because this oldie, but goodie, sharply focuses on the human and humorous sides of the early days of the PC industry. After all, strong and strange personalities continue to drive tech innovation, and there’s a lot of luck involved along the way. It’s interesting to reread the book today and reflect on which lessons have been learned from those crazy times and which history the tech industry still sadly appears doomed to repeat.”
“I would recommend this book, which is broadly applicable to tech as well as beyond that industry. It’s an excellent gift for anyone who would like a better understanding of anything or who wants to create change in their life. The book is also a good reminder that little steps can make a significant impact!”
“This beautifully written nonfiction novel reads like a chilling cybersecurity thriller as it prepares readers for a future likely to be riddled with cyberwarfare. Anyone who works in technology, whether they touch on cybersecurity or not, must read this book to understand the consequences technology can have on every aspect of our lives.”
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, Cass R. Sunstein
“This book is a fascinating look at the science behind human judgment. Using real-world examples from the criminal justice system, businesses and healthcare, the authors explore the mathematics and behavioral science behind the judgments we make about everything from medical diagnoses and jail sentences to professional performance predictors and hiring decisions. Warning: There are some moderately heavy statistical concepts in here, including multiple regression analysis and percent concordance! However, if you want to seriously examine the assumptions every human makes about the strengths of our judgments, and how we can eliminate ‘noise’ in those decisions, you should read this book.”
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang
“This book by the host of Bloomberg Technology is my (current) favorite book to give because it shares both empowering stories about women in tech challenging the status quo, while also giving great examples to our counterparts on how to not be ‘that tech bro.’ Enlightening, funny, and sometimes frustrating, the author Emily also weaves in suggestions on how we can all work more harmoniously together—something all of us can get behind.”
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
“I recommend this sci-fi adventure novel for how it delves into the uncomfortable truths that come with your digital profile. As Facebook and others embrace the metaverse, this book couldn’t be a more timely, fictitious romp about the dark side that accompanies a virtual world so closely intertwined with reality that the two become inseparable.”
We’re curious: Are one or more of these books new to you, and do you agree with our suggestions? Which book would you wrap up and give to a friend?
Wishing one and all Happy Reading and Happy Holidays from all of us at Mission North!