When it comes to books for techies, there’s a great deal to choose from. Kristen Lotze put together a book gallery for TechRepublic on 31 books that techies should read, or should be interested in trying to add to their list. Below is an edited transcript of our interview.
Kristen: I basically tried to come up with some titles that were going to be as wide reaching, and interesting as possible. Obviously, these are not going to be instructional type books, they’re more things about tech culture, so a lot of the topics include women in tech, job productivity, the effect of technology on a variety, artificial intelligence. Then, there’s also several recommendations that were on the Bill Gates’ books of recommendation list.
See: Tips for building and advancing your leadership career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Karen: What would you say, from the list, which are the books that probably stood out the most, and why?
Kristen: I would say there’s actually a few that I would’ve picked off that list. The first one being the Elon Musk biography, it’s an authorized biography by Ashley Vance. I thought that was interesting because Elon Musk is so ubiquitous in the tech world, and also in pop culture, so I felt like that was just a really great addition for the list.
The second was Ellen K Pao’s autobiography, Reset. I felt like that was important to include. It’s from her perspective about a very infamous legal case in Silicon Valley told from her perspective, and also she’s just made a lot of really great strides for equality for everyone in the tech world, so thought that was definitely interesting read to have on the list.
Next, I would say, would be Hans Rosling’s Factfulness. That was one of Bill Gates’ recommendations, he called it a breakthrough for him. It’s basically just about how a lot of the opinions that we have are misinformed, and we have misinformation, our perspectives are little bit skewed, goes into all that, but ultimately it leaves the reader feeling hopeful, and inspired. That’s was definitely something that I thought was good to include.
Next would be Productivity Hacks by Emily Price. 500 tips that will help you be more productive in the workplace including using the do not disturb mode on your phone, or creating email templates for more commonly used responses to your emails, just ways to be more time efficient at work.
Lastly, I would say, Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil, fun title. Basically, it just talks about a lot of the ways that technology is being misused, how big data works against us due to unregulated models, and biased algorithms, and how that shapes our futures. Things from being granted or denied bank loans based on your ZIP Code to sorting resumes, and targeting certain voters. It’s just a call to be aware of that information, and a way to maybe change that in the future.
Karen: Really, a wide range of topics for some things that can really help you on the job to some interesting reads altogether. Do you have one that you would like to read, or adding to your list?
Kristen: All of the titles were especially interesting I thought, but I’m torn between the Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking, that was his final book that he wrote, so I thought that one was interesting. For the second one I would say John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, which outlines or details the Theranos scandal that happened several years ago, just a more detailed account of that. He was the one who covered that from start to finish, so I thought that would definitely be a really interesting read.
Karen: Lots of great suggestions there in the book gallery, check it out on TechRepublic.