Books often fill in gaps left by articles, and present the complete synthesis, vision, and research from an author. Links are to my reviews.
Abundance (2011) Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler Full review.
Optimistic interpretation of technologies and their impact on the future, especially as they can improve the lives of the “bottom billion.” Focus on water, energy, food, climate.
Accelerando (2005) Charles Stross. Full review.
The first true singularity novel.
Being Mortal (2014) Atul Gawande Full review.
An examination of the end of life, goals, compassion, medical care, and the evolution of institutions (hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living, green house, hospice, palliative care).
Coding Freedom (2012) E. Gabriella Coleman. Review and essay.
Deep look at the history and culture of programming/hacking, with an emphasis on copyright law. A day in the life of a hacker, described from an anthropological point of view. Useful in understanding movements like Wikipedia, open access, and the phrase “code is speech.”
Digital Rapture (2012) James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel (Eds). Full review.
Collection of stories about post-humans, with a few non-fiction essays. Excellent and sometimes disturbing introduction to the possibility of a new humanity.
Collected Fiction (2015) Hannu Rajaniemi
19 stories from 2003 to 2015, showing the range of his fiction. Full review
The Fractal Prince (2012) Hannu Rajaniemi
Second in his trilogy of a far-future, hard science depiction of post-humanity. A feast of stories, speculation, and possibilities. Demanding but rewarding. Full review.
Hybrid Reality (2012) Parag and Ayesha Khanna. Full review.
Description of worldwide trends in technology (“geo-technology”) and their effect upon worldwide economy, society, government, and the individual.
The Information (2011) James Gleick. Full review.
Profound history of information leading to our time; an education in one book. One of the best science writers today.
The Lights in the Tunnel (2010) Martin Ford. Full review.
A sobering look at the possible effect of accelerating change on the world economy.
The Nature of Technology (2009) W. Brian Arthur. Full review.
The combinatorial explosion, and why we’re quickly moving into a transformative era.
An Optimist’s Tour of the Future (2011) Mark Stevenson. Full review.
Journalistic review of people, developments, and science. Excellent first book if you have little science background.
Regenesis (2012) George Church and Ed Regis. Full review.
The current state and future possibilities of synthetic biology/genetics, from a Harvard geneticist who is himself pushing the field forward. Eye-opening.
The Patient Will See You Now (2015) Eric Topol, MD. Full review.
Detailed look at how medicine is being democratized by the smartphone, data, and predictive analytics. The culture of paternalism, hospital-based care, the ownership of the medical record, and even how exams are done will change dramatically.
The Singularity Is Near (2005) Ray Kurzweil. Full review.
Foundational text on the subject. Extensive arguments and evidence, with startling conclusions about the future.
The Spike (1997) Damien Broderick. Full review.
Literate, witty, humanistic, careful examination of the prospect of a technological singularity (“spike”).
Technology Matters (2006) David Nye. Full review.
Short book that examines the development of technologies and our human relationship with them. Reading it will change your view of many things.
Too Big To Know (2012) David Weinberger. Full review.
This book poses a single question: is the nature of knowledge changing?
The Universe Within (2013) Neil Shubin. Full review.
Rocks, ideas, long history, and the interrelationship of all things.