BOOK REVIEW: The # Monumeta Social Media Book

Many have tried to write fiction based on social media with mixed success. Monumeta goes a long way to being the definitive work on the subject.

monumetaWhat is The #Monumeta Social Media Book? At first look, it appears to be a hashtag-led manual that will teach readers how to use the media. However, this is misleading, this book may finally be the fiction that brings together modern-day reality, old school storytelling and a possible future.
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150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Rise Of The Machines – Thomas Rid

Rise Of The Machines is not an easy read, but one that is worth all the effort it takes.

machinesThe theme of Rid’s book can be illustrated by US countercultural writer Richard Brautigan who wrote about humans being looked after by ‘machines of loving grace’.

Rid refers to Brautigan’s words of loving grace towards machines and to a lot of things besides. He tracks the theory of cybernetics, a control theory of machine and man, from its post-World War II origins through the myths and realities of its evolution.

Nicely written in spite of its complicated premise, Rise Of The Machines is a weighty read, but a very useful reference book to anybody interested in our possible or impossible futures.

The previously unwritten story of Russia’s cyberattack against US institutions in 1999 may be an act of war that may yet determine a probable future, and not a optimistic one at all.

Vaporized by Robert Tercek: BOOK REVIEW

Vaporized is one of those books that every businessman, digital being, parent, human and robot should read.


VaporizedI first met Rob Tercek in a San Francisco hotel during the CTIA conference and I’ve never forgotten that meeting; I even remember the decor and the angle of the sunlight.

Tercek was talking about Africans playing mobile games and why mobile games publishers (such as my company) weren’t preparing for that market. He was the first person apart from my young self who had talked about that, it was awesome that I could agree with somebody as smart as that.

Since then, Rob has the portfolio career that has allowed him to meet everybody; the smartest people on the planet while I’ve stayed true to reading books, making 50/50 decisions and playing pool in the Hassocks Hotel, my local pub. But I still understand him, and I loved this book.

Moreover, it’s the first e-book I’ve ever read and I found the process fascinating because I read faster than normal. That, however, is probably down to the content I was reading. Rob is a visionary and his idea of the near-future is as certain as anything I’ve read.

At times it’s like reading the scriptwriter and mentor of the Black Mirror series of films, but less dyspotic. Beneath the Cassandra-style warnings lies an optimism that inspires. All industries and creations are being ‘vaporized’ by software, not just jobs, but also companies, governments and even our bodies.

Most of us in the ‘industry’ know that, but Tercek knows more and, a decade on, I still agree with him. That is, apart from books. He’s happy to see the bookshop go, I’m not. I would have enjoyed Vaporized even more if I’d read it as a hardback. Even so, I cannot recommend this highly enough. It’s the Great American Tech Novel.

BOOK REVIEW: The Industries Of The Future – Alec Ross

Future industries are the subjects of Ross’s eponymous book and the outlook isn’t looking good for anybody who was brought up in the analogue past.

futureFirst were the musicians, journalists and writers whose livelihoods were destroyed by digital, the next wave will see translation and driving careers destroyed and after that, it will be everything else.

Ross knows what he is talking about after his time in the White House as a Senior Advisor on Innovation to Hilary Clinton and this book is a worthy addition to the near-future canon. The Industries Of The Future.

The blurb talks of his travels that took in more than 40 countries and a million miles, but this is incidental to the stories within. Ross writes well on what he knows and, like an expensive consultant, he knows a lot about a lot.

For those who read such books, there is little here that is new. Most observers know that the next ten years will pick up on the disruption the internet has wreaked over the past two decades. Even so, for those who only know a lot about particular subjects, this book will serve as a decent reference book to their knowledge-gathering

BOOK REVIEW: Official ScratchJr Book

Most parents with children of a certain age know about the Scratch programming language as much as the kids themselves. It is a free app that lets kids to code in an easy way by showing them how to create games and animations.


bookMost parents with children of a certain age know about the Scratch programming language as much as the kids themselves. It is a free app that lets kids to code in an easy way by showing them how to create games and animations.The best back-up to Scratch if kids want to learn more about coding is the Official ScratchJr Book, which lets them (as well as their parents and teachers) drill into the app and take things to a different level.

Unlike the app, this physical book isn’t free and costs around £13 from various app stores, the Kindle edition being slightly cheaper. It is, however, worth that small investment. Getting teenagers to code is a Herculean task because for many it is perceived as extra maths or even difficult algebra; timing is key if they are to maintain an interest.

By working with them at any time for the five years before teenhood with books such as these means there is an above-average chance they will go with the coding flow. If they don’t, then by the time they leave their teenage years the world may have no use for them if they cannot code. That is the New Normal, it doesn’t even ‘scratch’ the surface of how important this skill, even art, is going to be.