The Great Acceleration - The reading list

I promised in the hardback edition of ‘The Great Acceleration’ that there would be an online bibliography.

It turned out - ever so ironically - that life got away from me. So to celebrate the publication of the paperback edition in the UK, here is a far from complete reading list for anyone who’s interested in the topics covered.

All the titles on here are recommended - I read dozens more that didn’t make the cut - but the titles with notes underneath in italics are those that I found particularly useful or interesting.


James Gleick - Faster
The father of the “life is getting faster” genre, to which I and others owe a tremendous debt. Written before the internet really got its hooks into us but still relevant and fascinating.

Carl Honoré - In Praise of Slow & The Slow Fix
I disagree with many of Carl’s conclusions and recommendations, but his is an excellent analysis.

Stephen Kern - A Cultural History of Causality & The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918

Stefan Klein - The Secret Pulse of Time
An excellent book, translated from the German, about the pace of daily life.

Robert Levine - A Geography of Time
Why do people in some cultures move faster than others? The definitive guide.

Marshall McLuhan - Understanding Media & Counterblast

Mark Roeder - The Big Mo

Alvin Toffler - The Third Wave & The Culture Consumers (A Study of Art and Affluence in America)

Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd - The Time Paradox


John Battelle - The Search

Andrew Blum - Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet

Richard L Brandt - One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of

Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee - Race Against The Machine

Kenneth Cukier & Viktor Mayer-Schonberger - Big Data

Dave Eggers - The Circle
As a novel, it’s far too didactic. As social commentary, it’s right on the money.

David Kirkpatrick - The Facebook Effect
If everything you know about Mark Zuckerberg comes from The Social Network, this is the history for you.

Tom Standage - The Victorian Internet
Fascinating history of the telegraph, drawing out the parallels with today.

Christopher Steiner - Automate This
Really excellent primer to our new algorithmic world.

Brad Stone - The Everything Store
The best history yet of Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

Randall Stross - Planet Google


Dan Ariely - The Upside of Irrationality
I used the material about dating, but there’s plenty more fascinating stuff in this book.

John Brockman (Ed) - Is The Internet Changing The Way You Think?

Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman - Top Dog

Susan Cain - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
Powerful counter to the idea that you always need to put yourself forward to get ahead.

Nicholas Carr - The Shallows
First and best of the ‘technology is frying our minds’ genre.

Charles Duhigg - The Power of Habit
Really good study of how habit rules our lives, and how we can adapt.

Daniel Goleman - Focus
Another really good study of how we can keep our heads in a fast-paced age.

Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow
If you still think humans are rational creatures, this is the book for you.

Daniel J Levitin - The Organized Mind

David J Linden - Pleasure

Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir - Scarcity

Frank Partnoy - Wait
Partnoy is normally a business writer, but this on the power of patience was fascinating.

Robert M Sapolsky - Monkeyluv
A great science writer explains why we’re all just animals underneath.

Clive Thompson - Smarter Than You Think
The antidote to Carr - why technology isn’t destroying our minds.

Richard Watson - Future Minds


Frances Booth - The Distraction Trap

David Brooks - The Social Animal
New York Times columnist uses the latest research to explain modern life.

Stephanie Brown - Speed

John Freeman - The Tyranny of Email
It’s fair to say he’s against it.

Maggie Jackson - Distracted

Andrew Keen - Digital Vertigo

Aleks Krotoski - Untangling the Web
Excellent guide to what computers are doing to our social lives.

Brigid Schulte - Overwhelmed
If you read one book on this list, make it Schulte’s masterful examination of how we’re all stressed as hell.


danah boyd - It’s Complicated
Her dislike of capital letters is weird, but the research on how young people actually use the web is fascinating.

Howard Gardner & Katie Davis - The App Generation

Henry Hemming - Together

David Levy - Love + Sex with Robots
The case for human-robot relationships.

Christian Rudder - Dataclysm
OK Cupid co-founder on what our romantic preferences say about us

Dan Slater - Love in the Time of Algorithms

Alice E Marwick - Status Update

Sherry Turkle - Alone Together
The case against human-robot relationships…

Amy Webb - Data, A Love Story


Tom Chatfield - Fun Inc

Anita Elberse - Blockbusters
An overwhelmingly convincing demolition of the long tail.

Steven Johnson - Everything Bad is Good for You & Future Perfect
The first of these is the best possible antidote to the idea that we’re all dumbing down.

Robert Levine - Free Ride

John Seabrook - The Song Machine
Why modern music sounds like it does, from one of the New Yorker’s best writers.

John B Thompson - Merchants of Culture
If you’re in publishing, this should be a must-read


Nick Davies - Flat Earth News & Hack Attack

Julia Hobsbawm et al - Where Truth Lies

Ryan Holiday - Trust Me, I’m Lying

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel - Warp Speed

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel - Blur

Howard Rosenberg & Charles S Feldman - No Time to Think


Jonathan Alter - The Promise

Jamie Bartlett - The Dark Net
Fascinating exploration of the dark underbelly of the net.

Tony Blair - A Journey

Douglas Carswell - The End of Politics

Misha Glenny - DarkMarket

Philip Gould - The Unfinished Revolution

Al Gore - The Future
Blasts you with detail but there's so much to get to grips with here.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin - Game Change

Mark Henderson - The Geek Manifesto

Patrick Hennessy - Distilling the Frenzy

Steve Hilton - More Human
David Cameron’s ideas man provides a stark verdict on modern government.

Sasha Issenberg - The Victory Lab

Jaron Lanier - Who Owns the Future?

John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge - The Fourth Revolution
How change is sweeping the world, and how governments are struggling to cope.

Evgeny Morozov - The Net Delusion & To Save Everything, Click Here
Morozov is one of our most caustic critics of digital utopianism - his debut is particularly recommended.

Beth Simone Noveck - Wiki Government

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen - The New Digital Age
Two of Google’s biggest beasts on how the world is changing.

Matt Taibbi - The Divide

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Antifragile


Ha-Joon Chang - 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Tyler Cowen - Average Is Over
How the economy is shifting from share-the-wealth to winner-takes-all.

Alistair Darling - Back From The Brink
That rarest of things - a political memoir which is also relentlessly readable.

Michael Goodkin - The Wrong Answer Faster

John Lanchester - Whoops!
Noted author provides a very readable primer to the financial crisis.

Michael Lewis - Flash Boys
The story of high-frequency trading, told with novelistic verve.

Peter Marsh - The New Industrial Revolution

Iain Martin - Making It Happen
The rise and fall of RBS, in jaw-dropping detail.

Frank Partnoy - F.I.A.S.C.O. & Infectious Greed

Andrew Ross Sorkin - Too Big To Fail
The inside story of the financial crisis. A must-read for anyone interested in business, finance or how the hell we got here.

Gillian Tett - Fool’s Gold


Evan DG Fraser & Andrew Rimas - Empires of Food

Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott - Farmageddon
The case against modern farming.

Paul McMahon - Feeding Frenzy
The case for modern farming, sort of.

Paul Roberts - The End of Food
The modern food ecosystem, examined in forensic detail.

Carolyn Steel - Hungry City
How the world’s resources are increasingly devoted to feeding its cities.


Diane Ackerman - The Human Age
How mankind is reshaping the planet.

Mike Davis - Planet of Slums

Mark Lynas - The God Species
Can the environment cope with billions of human beings living Western lifestyles? Just about…

Fred Pearce - Peoplequake
Fascinating study of the ageing population and its implications.

Paul Roberts - The End of Oil

Tom Vanderbilt - Traffic
Commuting is dull. This book about it is fantastic.

Gaia Vince - Adventures in the Anthropocene
How mankind is reshaping the planet, again.


Oliver Balch - India Rising

Patrick French - India

Edward Glaeser - Triumph of the City
Humanity is now an urban species. Here’s what that means.

Evan Osnos - Age of Ambition
Must-read study of modern China from the long-serving New Yorker correspondent.

Doug Saunders - Arrival City

Ruchir Sharma - Breakout Nations

PD Smith - City

Nathan D Wolfe - The Viral Storm


Nick Bostrom - Superintelligence
Why AI could kill us all, the thoughtful version. I liked it so much I pretty much stole the whole thing.

Ray Kurzweil - The Age of Spiritual Machines

Ray Kurzweil - How to Create a Mind

Adam Rutherford - Creation


Bill Bryson - Home

David Frum - How We Got Here - The 70s

Nate Silver - The Signal and the Noise