Best technology books for IT pros

Despite the deluge of information online, nothing beats settling down with a fresh paperback book and spending an hour immersed in a world of new, tantalising knowledge.

Here are the best newly released tech tomes flavouring our thoughts on everything digital in recent years, with some timeless classics thrown in for good measure.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Algorithms are the invisible cogs stealthily running in the background and determining outcomes in a vast array of industries and across all spheres of social life. In this book, former Wall Street quant, Cathy O’Neil, takes a closer look at the mathematical models that we have invested with such enormous power, and particularly their most troublesome aspects - their power to reinforce discrimination, and lack of accountability, for example.

A fascinating read for anyone in the technology space, or simply those concerned about the potential pitfalls of the fully automated future we are hurtling towards.

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

In an age where machines are not only capable of carrying out manufacturing tasks, but also exhibiting interpersonal and creative skills, what does it mean to be human?

It's this question that's at the heart of this illuminating 2017 work by Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute.

The book tackles all the most pressing issues surrounding the ever greater entanglement of humans and robots, and earned a glowing endorsement from Stephen Hawking himself.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

There are certain products that we can't seem to live without, while others fail to catch on at all.

What makes consumers incorporate certain products into their daily tech lives? In a bid to answer this question, Nir Eyal outlines his four-step process to subtly influence customer behaviour, making sure they keep coming back and incorporate the products into their daily lives.

Eyal has spent numerous years researching and practicing his process, directing the book at startup founders and marketers.

Hookedoffers a practical guide to building products that consumers love, and get hooked on.

Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking up Tech by Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens

Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking up Tech by Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens

Written by Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens, Geek Girl Rising tells the stories of the fierce and formidable women who have managed to grow thriving startups in the stiflingly male-dominated Silicon Valley.

Giving a voice to the oft-overlooked women of the tech industry, this book introduces readers to the women thrashing the STEM stereotype, including Debbie Sterling, the inventor of GoldieBlox, YouTube star Michelle Phan and Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Published in 2015, this biography of Elon Musk's life - written by technology journalist Ashlee Vance - follows the life of Musk, from his upbringing in South Africa to Silicon Valley, marking every milestone in this highly publicised tech entrepreneur's life.

Vance had full access to Musk, and draws on over 40 hours of conversation with him and interviews with almost 300 people present throughout his explosive journey to the top.

Exploring Musk's greatest business achievements and most tumultuous stories, this book is a must-read for Musk fans and aspiring tech entrepreneurs.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

In the world of business and technology, women are underrepresented massively, with few women holding seats on boards and suffering from the massive pay gap that doesn't appear to be closing any time soon.

Sheryl Sandberg, the author, Facebook COO and one of Fortune's 'Most Powerful Women in Business', discusses milestones in her business life, calling on her experience in business as a woman and offering tips for women across the world.

In Lean In, Sandberg provides advice on small changes that businesswomen can make to impact change, and how women can overcome preconceived notions and anxieties that stop them making it to the top.

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson

The Road Aheadwritten by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson cuts straight to the heart of the personal computing revolution, which at the time was just starting to gather immense speed.

First released in 1995, The Road Ahead is still very much relevant today, depicting a 'global information superhighway', in which the internet is bursting at the seams with information which impacts our lives daily from the first personal computers.

The predictions that Gates makes in the book have largely come true, for example, regarding the music industry: "Record companies, or even individual recording artists, might choose to sell music a new way. The music will be stored as bits of information on a server on the highway."

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

Coming from well-established careers within Silicon Valley, both Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg had a challenge on their hands when they joined Google in its infancy.

Schmidt and Rosenberg had to relearn what they knew about IT business management and help Google grow from a small startup to what we know today and How Google Works shares just how they did that.

In this book, the authors explain how big milestones such as the internet, the mobile revolution and of course the cloud meant that they had to move their focus from companies to the consumer.

How Google Worksoffers great insight into Google's growth, how it has innovated and become one of the world's biggest global icons.

The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

The Age of Cryptocurrency by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

Packed full of anecdotes and spirited metaphors, The Age of Cryptocurrency explains the digital currency landscape and how the current system governing money with its middlemen and "coined liberty" was first disrupted in 2008 with the introduction of Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies could cut out the unnecessary brokers and the elite gatekeepers and instead provide a way to transform the way we perceive and use money, creating a totally digital and democratic monetary system.

The Age of Cryptocurrencyoffers a complete guide to Bitcoin, its pros and cons, its origins and how a cybereconomy could work.

The Intel Trinity by Michael S. Malone

The Intel Trinity by Michael S. Malone

The Intel Trinitytells the story of Intel's co-founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove, Intel's third employee who later ran the company through much of its growth period.

Author Michael S. Malone sifts through Intel's archives, providing a detailed and encapsulating company history surrounding each of the men, highlighting not only their influence and hard work but also their personalities and challenges along the way.

The Intel Trinityis a great base for getting to know the three visionaries, legendary in Silicon Valley.

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon by Gina Smith and Steve Wozniak

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon by Gina Smith and Steve Wozniak

To give it its full name 'iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It', offers an insight into Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak's life, career and the Apple computer.

The book also sheds light on his relationship with Steve Jobs and his feelings towards Apple as a whole.

The book concludes with Wozniak offering advice to aspiring programmers and young people to pursue their own inventions and prioritise their passions over the mainstream.

Just For Fun: The Story Of An Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond

Just For Fun: The Story Of An Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond

In this humorous book, Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds and Just For Fun co-author David Diamond provide a history of the Linux operating system and highlights the principles found in Law of Linus, named in honour of Linus Torvalds.

Just For Funalso tells the story of Torvald's early life, his passion for programming and his belief in open source software and the free software movement.

Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley money machine

Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley money machine

The life of the high-powered tech elite working in Silicon Valley is something that can intrigue, baffle and those outside of it and Chaos Monkeys offers a guide for navigation, stripping back the facade and revealing its dark side.

Former Facebook and Twitter advisor Antonio García Martínez recounts his time in the Californian tech bubble and looks at how tech can and should disrupt every part of modern life.

In this fast-paced book, García explains how to succeed in the digital sector, from startups and digital marketing to social media and digital privacy, helping us understand the wealthy and insular world within Silicon Valley.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

In this bestseller, Michael Lewis tells the infamous tale of the multi-millionaire high-frequency traders (HFT) working in the US finance market on Wall Street and the programmers that scammed the banking system.

Centering on former Goldman Sachs programmer, Sergey Aleynikov and founder of IEX, the Investors' Exchange, Bradley Katsuyama, the book describes how electronic trading replaced countless jobs and changed the way the whole market was run.

Lewis then details Aleynikov's conviction for stealing Goldman Sachs' high-frequency trading source code before joining a rival firm.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Written by Walter Isaacson at the request of Jobs, Steve Jobs takes an honest look at Jobs' life, and is based on countless interviews conducted by Isaacson over a two-year period. Isaacson pulled information from Jobs' friends, family, colleagues and even rivals.

The book, released in 2011, 19 days after Jobs' death, describes life all the way from childhood and school to his milestone moments at Apple and his relationship with Bill Gates.

A film adaptation of the book was released in 2015.

Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson

Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson

Author George Dyson draws attention to the small but dedicated group of mathematicians and programmers that were tasked with creating the modern-day computer after the second world war.

Asked to meet at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and led by John von Neumann the group was set on making Alan Turing's 'universal machine' a reality. In fact, they successfully formulated the numerical framework that supports most if not all modern computers.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.