Books to read in 2014

I read 20 books in 2013, which is the most recreational reading I’ve ever done in one year. In fact, since July 2012 I’ve read 26 books. I’ve documented all of them on this blog, and you can see my review of each book by clicking here or on the “Book Reviews” category in the sidebar.

My reading binge started after heeding a recommendation by venture capitalist Brad Feld. I follow his blog, and after seeing numerous reading recommendations on his site, I stumbled upon an article he wrote titled, “Why I Read Science Fiction“. Since I am also a believer that reading shapes your subconscious thoughts, I found these lines from his post particularly relevant (the bold, underlined emphasis in the following quote is mine):

When I think about all of the information I synthesize both by going backward in time and reading forward (Dick, Vonnegut, Heinlein, Asimov) as well as starting today and going forward 5 – 30 years (Clarke, Suarez, Stross, Banks, Stephenson, Gibson, Sterling) I realize that I’m creating a subconscious framework in my brain for a lot of the stuff I’m investing in.  Sometimes it maps directly; sometimes it’s the stuff that misses that it so interesting.

After seeing this post, it occurred to me that stretching my imagination with some hard science fiction might help me understand where technology is headed and how I could incorporate in my business. I started out by reading William Hertling’s Singularity Series, which started with Avogadro Corp. In a nutshell, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve consumed a lot of science fiction related material, along with a few nonfiction and classics mixed in.

Based on what I read over the last 18 months, here is what I would recommend to start off your reading list for 2014 (click any of the titles for a link to my book reviews). By the way, these are all from my “Must Reads“. You can click here to see my latest recommendations throughout 2014.

Recommended Reading List for 2014

  1. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
    I have to put the only nonfiction book on this list at the top. Absolute must read if you want to understand how the technology around us is shaping society. The most amazing part is that this book was written 30 years ago and is more relevant now than it was then.
  2. Singularity Series by William Hertling
    1. Book 1 – Avogadro Corp.
    2. Book 2 – A.I. Apocalypse
    3. Book 3 – The Last Firewall

    Excellent hard science fiction series that builds upon itself. The books must be read in order to get the full effect.

  3. Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez
    A two-book hard science fiction series that will make the NSA surveillance programs feel like child’s play considering what’s possible, and then again….
  4. Silo Series by Hugh Howey
    1. Book 1 – Wool
    2. Book 2 – Shift
    3. Book 3 – Dust

    An interesting look at a dystopian future that becomes more plausible the more you read. Be careful, once you get started, it’s hard to put down.

  5. The Origin Mystery Series by A.G. Riddle
    1. Book 1 – The Atlantis Gene
    2. Book 2 – The Atlantis Plague

    These action-packed books will stretch your imagination, and then some. As with the other series, must be read in order, or you’ll be lost.

  6. Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos
    A dystopian future about the haves and have-nots. There’s a lot of military action and strategy in this story coupled with planetary exploration and colonization.
  7. Nexus by Ramez Naam
    What would happen if we could tap into our brain to control it and link it with others. The possibilities are limitless, and Naam explores them in this fictional thriller.
  8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    A timeless classic. After reading Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, you’ll want to pick it up, even if you’ve already read it when you were in high school – worth re-reading.
  9. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    Another classic that worth’s reading before you see the movie version.

I have a pretty big wish list for 2014 that I’ll be publishing in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if there are any books you’ve read over the past year that you’d recommend, please leave them in the comments.

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