The IT sector is growing very fast and more and more people are interested in new technologies that affect our lives. The industry is always faced with new challenges and problems as it develops. If you want to know more about the IT industry, about coders, artificial intelligence, mathematics that surrounds us everywhere, you should certainly take a look at books mentioned in this article.
“Coders. The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World” by Clive Thompson
Have you ever heard a question “What do you really do as a software developer” at the family table? Has your friend ever asked you to repair her or his computer? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you should certainly let them read the book “Coders” – reportage written by Canadian freelance journalist Clive Thompson.
This story is a complex introduction to a world of new technologies and software developers; it answers questions about the programmers – why they are the way they are, why they are sometimes so frustrated and closed to other people. Thompson shows how powerful and intelligent they are, how they think and work. But this is not only the laurel for the developers. The author isn’t afraid of writing about the tough and bad sides of the IT industry. He shows that it is not only a place of nice hipsters smoking weed but there are many social problems like sexual harassment, racism, and nationalism. Thompson proves that the IT industry and career as a software developer is for everyone, for people of all genders, all nations and skin colors. The best summary of this theory is: “if a given tool is created by a team that is essentially homogeneous in terms of culture, it will have significant weaknesses – resulting from the failure to perceive certain aspects of representatives of this one culture.”
Link to english version: https://www.amazon.com/Coders-Making-Tribe-Remaking-World/dp/0735220565
“Ada’s Algorithm. How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age through the Poetry of Numbers” by James Essinger
Ada Lovelace was a daughter of Lord Byron, the famous poet, but she didn’t follow in her father’s footsteps. She became well-known as a brilliant English mathematician. She wrote a publication about Charles Babbage’s mechanical general-purpose computer. Ada started to be known as the first computer programmer after she published the algorithm.
James Essinger in his book called “Ada’s Algorithm. How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age through the Poetry of Numbers” tells the fantastic story about Ada, her stubbornness in pursuing the goal and her analytical thinking. The book also tells the story of the very beginnings of computers, programming, and algorithms. It is even hard to believe that all of that happened in the early XIX century, almost 200 hundred years ago. This is a story about an amazing woman who not only proves her outstanding intelligence but also does it in a world dominated by men.
Link to english version: https://www.amazon.com/Adas-Algorithm-Daughter-Lovelace-Launched/dp/1612194575
Link to polish version: https://www.znak.com.pl/ksiazka/algorytm-ady-james-essinger-163789
“Infinite Powers. How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe” by Steven Strogatz
When I was participating in my Mathematics course at the university, we had an exam about integrals and differentials. It was one of the most difficult exams in the first year of our studies. Some of us passed the exam on the first try, some of us passed the exam in the next attempts. I noticed that none of us, the ones who passed and didn’t pass the exam, didn’t really understand the integrals and differentials. We just knew how to solve exercises and remember the mathematical formulas. It changed when I read the book “Infinite Powers. How Calculus reveals the Secrets of the University” by Steven Strogatz.
The author explains the power of mathematics in a very simple way. He uses a lot of stories that help to understand what integral and differentials really are and how they affect everyday life. Without differential and integral calculus, there wouldn’t be mobile phones, television, we wouldn’t be able to disintegrate the atom or land on the Moon. If you want to understand mathematics and how it affects almost everything around us, you should definitely spend a weekend with Steven Strogatzs book.
Link to english version: https://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Powers-Calculus-Reveals-Universe/dp/0358299284/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=infinite+powers&qid=1649844765&s=books&sprefix=Infinite+Powers%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C159&sr=1-1
“Hello world. How to be Human in the Age of the Machine” by Hannah Fry
We live in a technologically advanced age. It develops in a very fast way, the fastest way in the world’s history. About 30 years ago, mobile phones started to be popular, but the internet wasn’t as popular as it is now. We are witnesses of a great era, at least in context of fast evolution. But is everything going in the right direction?
Hannah Fry, the British mathematician, in her book “Hello World. How to be Human in the Age of the Machine” in a very good way describes technological progress in the last few years and also predicts what we should expect in the near future. Should we be afraid of the development of smart homes? Should we be afraid of autonomous cars? Should we be afraid of data leaks? In this book, you will find answers to these and many other questions. Hannah Fry wrote that this book is about who we are, where we are heading, what is important for us, and how everything changes thanks to the new technology. It is a book about our relations with algorithms, the ones which already exist and work with us everyday.
Link to polish version: https://www.wydawnictwoliterackie.pl/produkt/3514/hello-world
“American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road” by Nick Bilton
Last but not least, I wanted to write about “American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road” written by Nick Bilton. The book tells the story of a man who started an online illegal drugs and guns shop on the Darknet. Ross Ulbricht wasn’t even a software developer, he was a radical libertarian who believed that online drug stores would decrease criminality. In his opinion, people who buy drugs on the streets would have an opportunity to order them online which might result in less gang shootings on the streets. Ulbricht didn’t have coding skills, he started the whole thing by reading tutorials on the web and creating his first store which was full of bugs and errors in security. The shop occured to be a good business and Ross Ulbricht became a millionaire in a very short time. The book written by Nick Bilton is a reportage but you can read it as an interesting crime story. It shows the study of insanity that pushes the boundaries further and further. To be honest, this is one of the best books I have recently had the opportunity to read.
All five books mentioned above are very good ones, written by leading journalists and scientists. You don’t need to have any technological knowledge in order to enjoy them. Especially if you are a software developer, project manager, ux designer or you just want to know more about the present and future world, you won’t be disappointed with these books.