Wired Magazine has a column called This Day in Tech. This book is a collection from these that covers all 366 days of the year. In these nice short one- to two- page synopses of important tech events were fun and informative. The best part is that they don’t require any significant science knowledge to be able to learn from them. I had lots of fun reading these!
Category Archives: Computer Science
Mad Science: Einstein’s Fridge, Dewar’s Flask, Mach’s Speed, and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made our World edited by Randy Alfred
This book details the major areas of the field of social networks and what has already been found, as well as where the field is going. It starts with an introduction and some study of networks, so it is not necessary to have background going in. It then covers the major aspects of social networks, like formal and informal hierarchies and how things (like information and disease) travel through the networks. Since the chapters (except the first few on general network theory) are fairly self-contained, this is an opportunity for the reader to focus only on the topics of interest. The best part is the Coda that covers the 10 master ideas of social networks (which were covered in more detail in the body chapters). Although this book is intended for a general reader, it requires an interest in the topic going in to make it through some of the boring bits.
Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life by Albert-László Barabási
Dr. Barabási is an incredible network scientist who revolutionized the field (using the World Wide Web to demonstrate that networks are not connected randomly). This book surveys the field and how it connects to basically every other major field, and manages to do this in a very accessible way. Even without knowing anything about networks going into this book, the reader can understand exactly what he is talking about and appreciate the beauty of the science. Although there are a couple of examples that are out of date (he discusses how Apple is not successful amongst other slightly out of date topics), the reader is still familiar with when these situations were true (the book was published in 2002) and can understand what Dr. Barabási means. In addition, the many other examples given are still applicable today, some are even more important than they were 10 years ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in science, regardless of the field. If you are a scientist, you will learn how these networks can be applicable to your own work and if you aren’t a scientist, you will learn something very interesting and something that permeates everyday life.