150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Bold by Peter Diamandis and Stephen Kotler

Bold cover

Bold cover

‘Go big, create wealth and impact the world.’ Bold’s subheading is quite a boast, and for two thirds of the book, it will certainly inspire most readers to think they can do exactly that. The book starts by giving examples and case studies of businesses engaged in disruptive/exponential technologies like 3D printing, biotech, AI, robotics and more.

The second part of the book explores how people can get into the ‘bold’ mindset – looking at some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and their moonshots as well as digging into psychological theories like flow and others.

As with their previous book, Abundance, the authors are at their best when they’re broadening the reader’s horizons and talking about those technological leaps we’re likely to make over the next 10 to 20 years. Sadly the final third of this book gets slightly lost with what felt like digressions into creating communities, crowdfunding and more.

Read it. Be inspired. Skip chapter 8 on.

150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

Dark Net Cover The Internet that most people use on a day to day basis is a veneer. The part that lies unindexed by Google and unvisited by most is only occasionally glimpsed in tabloid exposes or dodgy pop-up ads on sites people visit for ‘research’.

The Dark Net is about the layers – rotten and amazing – that lie beneath. Free from the academic ruminations or tabloid hysteria that has characterised so many other books on this topic, Bartlett explores this semi-walled garden.

These include Camgirls, Silk Road dealers, trolls, transhumanists, perverts and many others by exploring those people who live and make a living from the more opaque, obscure and occasionally illegal and immoral corners of the Internet.

Not only are the characters perfectly cast, their stories are expertly told. You’ll either be horrified or racing to download Tor afterwards. Or maybe both. Regardless. You’re going to want to read this.

REVIEW: 9.75/10

150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Designing The Internet Of Things

designing_the_internet_of_thingsWhen I agreed to review this book by Adrian McEwen and Hakim Cassimally, I thought I would be reading an everyman book about how our world is being changed by the collision between physical computing and the internet.

I was wrong, this book is for software engineers, web developers, product designers and electronic engineers; I couldn’t understand a word of it… and I CAN code. This book covers subjects such as embedded programming, microcontrollers, web APIs and electronics and if this is you, then I’m sure you’ll revere it.

According to friends of mine who work in the disciplines above, this is an excellent introduction to read through the principles of prototyping through to manufacture and business considerations. So, I’ll take their world for it that this is an excellent book.


150 WORD BOOK REVIEW: The year without pants by Scott Berkun – a book about WordPress

Year without pants coverOver 20% of the websites currently online are powered in one way or another by WordPress yet only 120 full time staffers work for its parent company, Automattic. There’s no central office. Staff work remotely – from pretty much every continent on Earth.

The year without pants is based on Scott Berkun’s experience of working with Automattic and their distributed workforce and centres around trying to figure out if and how it works. It does.

It makes for fascinating reading if, like me, you think that office working serves a purpose, but should not be the default setting for organisations. Berkun is an engaging author, and the book gives lots of examples of the processes that WordPress use to overcome any issues that arise from not having physical interactions on an ongoing basis. There are lots of lessons here – not just from Automattic/Wordpress, but also from Berkun’s time at Microsoft. Well worth a look.

150 WORD BOOK REVIEW: Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian

Without their permission book cover

Without their permission book cover

Reddit is incredible. In biological terms, it’s one of the Internet’s arteries. It has humour, character, seriousness and solemnity – and much more besides.

It should come as no surprise that the site’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian has written a book with the same characteristics. Without their permission is at once funny, informative and touching. Writing conversationally is a difficult trick to pull off, but in Ohanian’s case, he does it with aplomb.

Expect lots of brilliant advice, interesting anecdotes and nods to pop culture in a book that is both a memoir of his time at Y Combinator, Reddit and Hipmunk and a how-to guide for startups.

If you’re have a passing interest in where the Internet is going, you’re going to want to read this. The best books are the ones where I’m left with notes after reading. This generated pages of them.  Enjoy.