The pirate’s dilemma : how youth culture is reinventing capitalism / Matt Mason, Free Press, 2008
A quote from John Perry Barlow:
Throughout the time I’ve been groping around cyberspace, an immense, unsolved conundrum has remained at the root of nearly every legal, ethical, governmental, and social vexation to be found in the Virtual World. I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can’t get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work?
Since we don’t have a solution to what is a profoundly new kind of challenge, and are apparently unable to delay the galloping digitization of everything not obstinately physical, we are sailing into the future on a sinking ship.
This book attempts to answer the question above. It’s very readable. It’s not a business book per se, but if you are planning a startup you need to understand all of this.
Planet Google : one company’s audacious plan to organize everything we know / Randall Stross, Free Press, 2008
This very readable book charts the history and prospects for the Google company. It is not technical, but it will interest anyone planning a profitable business.
Google advertising tools / Harold Davis, O’Reilly, 2006
Here is a fascinating book on how to make advertising money from your web site. Some programming knowledge is required to make use of this book.
Programming interviews exposed : secrets to landing your next job / John Mongan, Noah Suojanen, Eric Giguère. Wiley Pub., 2007
If you work in technology, whether programming or similar, you probably need to look for new work now and then. This book is the best I have seen for advice on how to interview, negotiate pay, and prepare your resume. Useful to hiring managers too.
There is another way to approach this book. More than half of the book is programming algorithms that you would learn in undergrad CS, and you can read it to refresh your knowledge.
Access denied : the practice and policy of global Internet filtering / edited by Ronald Deibert, MIT Press, 2008
This is an important book about freedom of internet access worldwide. The authors are academic leading lights. It reports a detailed survey of counties around the world: what do they attempt to control, how do they do it, and how effective are they. Further, when Google, Yahoo and other companies do business in controlled countries, how should they handle this issue.
The new school of information security / Adam Shostack, Addison-Wesley, 2008, hard cover
The economics of security. This is not a large book, but it is very readable and full of insight, suggesting a new approach to security. One of the best books I have read this year.
Blog rules : a business guide to managing policy, public relations, and legal issues / Nancy Flynn, American Management Association, 2006.
The blog is a powerful tool for a business, but it also puts you on thin ice. This book is a guide to the best business practices related to blogging, and the rules that a business needs for managing its blogs.
Thinking inside the box : the 12 timeless rules for managing a successful business / Kirk Cheyfitz. Free Press, 2003
This timeless book should be read by everyone wanting to run a business profitably. Or choose a business to invest in, or work for. It is quite readable, and the 12 chapters are independent so you can put it down at the end of a chapter without losing context.
Smart and gets things done : Joel Spolsky’s concise guide to finding the best technical talent / Joel Spolsky. Apress, 2007.
This is for the HR person charged with hiring programmers, and the software manager. It is also obliquely for the programmer who is unsure why he does not like his current job, and needs to know what questions to ask of a prospective employer.
Spolsky writes in a lucid and flowing manner, as you will know if you have been reading his previous books on software design and his blog.
Founders at work : stories of startups’ early days / Jessica Livingston. Apress, c2007.
Fascinating interviews with founders of technology startups including Paul Graham, Joshua Schachter, Mike Lazaridis, and Joel Spolsky.