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.
SPEED AND TIME
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 Amazon.com
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
BIOLOGY AND SOCIETY
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
LIFE AND WORK
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.
FRIENDS AND LOVE
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