People try to do all sorts of clever and difficult things to improve life instead of doing the simplest, easiest thing — refusing to participate in activities that make life bad. Leo Tolstoy
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter. Irresistiable is the number one addicting technology book to read. It is guaranteed to make you cynical about social media, smartphones, and online marketing tactics.
Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier. Ten Arguments is the best social media specific book, by a Silicon valley pioneer. Lanier warns about the destructive and depressing power of social media, both at the personal and societal level. Jaron Lanier participates in no social media, he truly practices what he preaches.
You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier. You Are Not A Gadget is an earlier and more controversial book than the one listed above. This is a great book for people who are skeptical about technology. You should read the reviews on Goodreads (particularly the one star reviews).
The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas G. Carr. The Shallows explores the intellectual and cultural influence of the internet. Our brains respond to the technology we use, and our neural pathways are reshaped. This is a must read – I don’t think anyone likes the idea of the internet reshaping their brain.
The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu. Read this book if you want to completely re-conceptualize the way you think about marketing and notifications. We live in a distracted generation and it will probably get worse in the future,
The Hacking Of The American Mind: The Science Behind The Corporate Takeover Of Our Bodies and Brains by Dr. Robert Lustig. Corporate America has hijacked our natural survival instincts – written by a medical doctor, this book examines the pleasure and happiness, and how our desires create a culture of disease and addiction.
Deep Work by Cal Newport. Cal Newport is a computer scientists and cultural critic about technology. He highlights the major issue of our distracted generation and why it’s so hard for people to focus on repetitive or boring tasks. If you aim for productivity you should read it.
The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov. Morozov published this book in 2011, so he was definitely ahead of the curve. The Net Delusion shows why we should be skeptical about the Utopian idea of Internet freedom and the implications of this on democracy. The Goodreads reviews are harsh, and Morozov’s views have been vindicated by recent developments.
The Plug In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life by Marie Winn. The Plug In Drug was published in 1977, so it’s interesting to see the concern about technology from that era. It has a focus on television and the impact on the developing mind of a child. An interesting view of technology and developmental psychology.
Four Arguments For The Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander. Four Arguments was also published in 1977! The book has raving reviews on Goodreads. Mander advocates that TV is not reformable and should be completely destroyed. I know quite a few people feel this way about social media.
iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Mean for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge. This title is long enough to be self-explanatory.