Book Recommendations for 2017 Part 1

Here are a few books from the first half of 2017 that might be worth your time and which cover a variety of topics.

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind The Silk Road by Nick Bilton #

About: This is the story of Ross Ulbricht who started the Silk Road—a website which allowed people to sell drugs on the dark web. It covers Ross’s story using a lot of facts from various sources to fill in the gaps and provide a gripping narrative.
Why it’s interesting: It’s a detective story at its heart, but deals with the dark web and cryptocurrency.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity by Derek Thompson #

About: Hitmakers digs into how things have gotten popular, from the early days of published media to today’s instant viral pictures and videos using social networks.
Why it’s interest: If you don’t have an immediate answer for how a piece of content goes viral, in the context of social media, but work in internet-related items, you should be reading the book.

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple #

About: This is a look at the job of Chief of Staff, interviewing the 20 living people to hold the position, working for the last seven presidents—the 45th present excluded.
Why it’s interesting: While the West Wing did a great job explaining the different top level positions in the White House, but this book sheds a new light directly from the people in that role. From the perspective of Chief of Staff, a lot of history’s events look a little different than they did from the outside.

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong #

About: A look at all things Seinfeld. It includes things from the TV show both from a personal and production standpoint.
Why it’s interesting: Seinfeld is one of the best sitcoms of all time, so most everything about this look at the show is interesting.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis #

About: A novel, set in modern time, with characters that work at a technology company where an smartphone is not connected enough and a direct link from one person’s mind to another is the next frontier.
Why it’s interesting: Telepathy seems like it could be cool, but anyone who thinks that likely hasn’t considered its implications. This novel hovers around YA, but set in a technology company with a superpower many haven’t given much thought makes it a worthy, easy, read.

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant #

About: How did the iPhone come about and how is it made? This book answers all those questions.
Why it’s interesting: I thought this was more of an iPhone origin story, and while there are some elements of that here, this is more explaining where all the parts in an iPhone come from and how those parts originated from other places. It’s definitely interesting, plus reading about sneaking into a secret manufacturing facility the size of a small city was thrilling.

Bonus: #

Check out


Now read this

How We See Music

CEO of Beats Music on his personal site talking about the launch of the service: I’ll give you my personal view: If you’re the kind of person who pays ~$1,000/year for cable and refuse to spend ~$100/year on a great music service, you... Continue →