Summer Reading List v4.0

Summer is here, and a string of very warm days here in London are giving us even more reason to shake our fists at the recent decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the Paris Agreement…

The good news is that we’ve put together our annual list of books that we are reading or are earnestly planning to read. Admittedly, this year everything does seem to touch on limits, contradictions and the end of consensus. We can’t fight the zeitgeist!

Radical Technologies: the Design of Everyday life by Adam Greenfield  

“It is time to re-evaluate the Silicon Valley consensus determining the future” – amen. We like the idea of a radical stock-take of emerging technologies and what they really mean for our lives, by a commentator we know best for his critiques of the “smart city”.

The End of Ownership book cover

photo from MIT Press

The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy by Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

As we contemplate the end of ownership of our gadgets, via remote kill-switches, what can we learn from digital goods like e-books which are already almost fully locked down? We hope that reading about “end user agreements” can be good summer-time reading…

The Idealist’s Survival Kit. 75 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout by Alessandra Pigni

While targeted at humanitarians, this book is a really practical exploration of how anybody in a mission-driven organisation can live well and be as “sustainable” as their organisations aim to be. (Disclaimer: we are friends with Alessandra!)

The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch by Thomas Thwaites

We finally got around to this book – as provocative and zany as we expected. A blow-by-blow account of Thwaites’ quest to mine and process materials, and create a “toaster” – which worked for all of one second.

Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufecki

A deep dive into the myths of “social media”-driven protest movements – examining the impact of socially networked mobilisations, but also the backlash by governments, and the prospects for longer-term change.

And to end on a positive note…

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Zine-like text and comics to remind us that people (especially women) have been innovating in the face of huge injustice and challenges, since forever.

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