As if you don’t already spend waaaaaayyyyyyy too much time reading stuff on your computer, laptop and mobile devices, we thought we’d do some digging and see if we could find some books that IT pros like you might find interesting, in a geeky kind of way.
Inspired by selections by the fine folks at Venturebeat.com, here are 5 books that you may want to add to your reading list (especially if you have a long flight coming up and want to make sure the guy next to you doesn’t talk your ear off, like The Accidental Tourist). We’ll follow up for 5 more in our next blog post.
The word “hacker” is everywhere these days – heck, it was pasted all over Variety magazine of all places during the Sony breach! However, credit for the term traces back to this book, in which Levy profiled a whole bunch of uber geeks, including Steve Wozniak and free software pioneer Richard Stallman.
2- Steve Jobs: by Walter Isaacson (2011)
Like him or not, Steve Jobs’ fingerprints are all over our modern digital culture. Just think: without the iPhone, how could tween girls engage in semi-literate flame wars about whether Justin Bieber is better or worse than One Direction? (Okay, maybe that’s not the best example, but you know what we mean.) The point is that Jobs was incredibly influential, and Isaacson’s book is probably the most revealing exploration about the man – and the myth, too. The author had over 40 interviews with Jobs, on top of more than 100 others who knew Jobs: some of them ardent fans, and some of them definitely not. It’s also worth mentioning that Isaacson is a very gifted writer in his own right, which makes this book much more readable than you’d expect from a 500+ page biography.
Back in 1948, the narrator for a movie aptly called The Naked City intoned that “there are 8 million stories in the naked city…”. He was referring to New York. But if he was around today (and provided he could still talk because he’d be pretty damn old), he’d switch his gaze to the west coast and talk about all of the naked stories in Silicon Valley – and he’d zoom in on this epic tale about Jim Clark, who was the founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape and Healtheon. Now, when we think of Silicon Valley today, we expect to be impressed by some of the massive tech enterprises that live there. But back in the 1990s, it was really just starting to explode – and Clark was its primary architect. This is a must-read for any students of tech history.
It’s comforting to think that every success story can be traced back to smart people, making smart decisions, at smart times, and then going on a smart break and having smart cookies and smart coffee. But as we know, life is kind of, well, weird at times – and sometimes luck is far more valuable than brains. This book celebrates this interesting (and at times, somewhat infuriating) fact of life by looking at the early geeks who made Silicon Valley what it is today. This book is laugh-out-loud funny (so don’t read it in church or anything), and is a source of inspiration to everyone who thinks that you need to be the smartest guy or girl in the room to succeed. Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Strange, but true.
Yes, I know we’re all kind of dealing with Facebook fatigue (by the way, if I get one more FarmVille invite I’m going to go completely nuts!). But no matter what we think of Zuck and the gang, the fact is that Facebook has forever changed how we communicate, who we communicate with, and even why we communicate. This book traces Facebook back to its roots, and highlights how what seemed like small decisions led to major consequences -- both good and bad. It’s also widely held that this book is far more accurate than Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, which later became the movie The Social Network.
Stay Tuned for Part 2!
Next up, we’ll be sharing books 6-10 in our “must read for IT Pros” series. Stay tuned!