With some of American tech’s most myopic companies raking in record profits, it’s remarkable that Elon Musk has moved so boldly into electric cars, rockets and clean energy—and doubly remarkable how well he is succeeding in dragging a risk-averse culture with him. Ashlee Vance’s biography of the man is an enjoyable look at how Mr. Musk epitomizes what my mother always told me: If you want the world to change, you’d better do it yourself
Stephen Witt tells of how technology in the form of the MP3 digital format brought the music industry to its knees. His book is a tour de force, delving into the criminal underworld of hackers and pilferers as well the complacent corporate boardroom.
Best historical examination of how important new technologies impact the economy, and one of two books that have best predicted the evolution of the US economy the last 6 years.
A book I’ve returned to many times. The mathematics in the book may cause many readers to return it to its shelf, but it is surprisingly readable, and one of the most influential books of the century.
Bruce Schneier’s amazing book, Data and Goliath is the best overview of ‘privacy &/vs. security’ ever written.
A pithy, pointed, and highly readable explanation of what we know in the wake of the Snowden revelations, with practical steps that ordinary people can take if they want to do something about the threats to privacy and liberty posed not only by the government but by the Big Data industry
What the author calls ‘Bandwagon Effects’ most people call network effects. If you are thinking about starting or investing in a business with network effects, this is the best (and only good?) book on the topic.
Although a bit too enterprise (vs consumer) focused for my taste, this is an extremely intelligent and useful book. You’ve probably heard about the central thesis (lots of startups get stuck in the “chasm”- in between early adopter and mainstream customers) but there are lots of other juicy anecdotes in the book and it actually prescribes an actionable set of strategies for overcoming the chasm. I’ve reread this one a couple of times. The sequel Inside the Tornado is good too.
‘Real economists’ talk about the economics of information goods (roughly defined as zero marginal cost goods). Sometimes a bit obvious if you’ve studied economics before but overall a really interesting read. Especially like the parts on different ways to tier pricing for information goods.