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Top 10 books to add to your 2023 reading list

17th January 2023
Paige West

Here are 10 technology- and engineering-related books we think should be on your reading list this year!

1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Touted as “the ultimate guide to human-centred design”, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how – and why – some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

It shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.

2. The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M. Low by Richard Jurek

At the end of his NASA career, Low was one of the leading figures in the development of the Space Shuttle in the early 1970s, and he was instrumental in NASA’s transition into a post-Apollo world.

Chronicling Low’s escape from Nazi-occupied Austria to his helping land a man on the moon, The Ultimate Engineer sheds new light on the fascinating and complex personalities of the golden age of US human space travel.

3. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper

Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Think about your phone, cameras, and cars being automated and programmed by people who, in their rush to accept the many benefits of the silicon chip, have abdicated their responsibility to make these products easy to use.

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum argues that the business executives who make the decisions to develop these products are not the ones in control of the technology used to create them.

Reported as being insightful and entertaining, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum uses the author's experiences in corporate America to illustrate how talented people continuously design bad software-based products and why we need technology to work the way average people think.

4. Data-Driven Science and Engineering: Machine Learning, Dynamical Systems, and Control by Steven L. Brunton & J. Nathan Kutz

Data-driven discovery is revolutionising how we model, predict, and control complex systems. Now with Python and MATLAB, this textbook trains mathematical scientists and engineers for the next generation of scientific discovery by offering a broad overview of the growing intersection of data-driven methods, machine learning, applied optimisation, and classical fields of engineering mathematics and mathematical physics.

With a focus on integrating dynamical systems modelling and control with modern methods in applied machine learning, this text includes methods that were chosen for their relevance, simplicity, and generality.

5. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable, this book is a vision of technology as a living force that can expand our individual potential.

Arguably one of today's most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution.

This book explores how technology gives our lives greater meaning and is a must-read for anyone curious about the future.

6. The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous

The Bitcoin Standard analyses the historical context to the rise of Bitcoin, the economic properties that have allowed it to grow quickly, and its likely economic, political, and social implications.

The final chapter of the book explores some of the most common questions surrounding Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin mining a waste of energy? Is Bitcoin for criminals? Who controls Bitcoin, and can they change it if they please? How can Bitcoin be killed? And what to make of all the thousands of Bitcoin knock-offs, and the many supposed applications of Bitcoin’s ‘block chain technology’?

The Bitcoin Standard is an ideal resource for a clear understanding of the rise of the Internet’s decentralised, apolitical, free-market alternative to national central banks.

7. Engineering for Teens: A Beginner's Book for Aspiring Engineers by Pamela McCauley

The job of an engineer is to solve all sorts of complex challenges facing the world while improving our lives through creative, innovative ideas.

This engineering book for teens gives you a look into what engineers do and how they drive society forward through math and science.

From designing tablets and smartphones to reimagining the way we collect and store renewable energy, this book introduces you to the major engineering disciplines and their distinct specialties, famous engineers throughout history, and more.

8. The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

This book answers the question: 'What's next?’

As Hillary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation, Alec Ross travelled nearly a million miles to forty-one countries, the equivalent of two round-trips to the moon.

In The Industries of the Future, Ross distils his observations on the forces that are changing the world. He highlights the best opportunities for progress and explains how countries thrive or sputter. Ross examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future over the next ten years, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the commercialisation of genomics, cybercrime, and the impact of digital technology.

9. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov's I, Robot launches readers on an adventure into a not-so-distant future where man and machine, struggle to redefine life, love, and consciousness – and where the stakes are nothing less than survival.

Asimov changes our perception of robots, and human beings and updates the timeless myth of man's dream to play God, with all its rewards – and terrors.

10. The Lego Engineer by Jeff Friesen

In The LEGO Engineer, you'll explore how some of humanity's greatest feats of engineering work, from towering skyscrapers to powerful rockets to speeding bullet trains.

Then follow step-by-step instructions to build these marvels with LEGO bricks as you experience the world of engineering in a fun new way! 

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