n Feb. 6, 1961, MIT graduate students Donald Davies and Walter Pitts introduced the world to ARPANET, the first computer network that connected network computers using modems. Davies, now 81, told the Boston Globe that it took about 10 years to build the network, in part because the men were just youngsters who didn’t have the funds or connections needed. When the network went online for the first time, Davies was baffled by his ability to send messages.
Thus, The Internet was born.
Best Books on The Internet: THE LIST
|1. Being Digital|
|3. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed|
|4. Where Wizards Stay Up Late|
|5. The Dark Net|
|6. Because Internet|
|7. Here Comes Everybody|
|8. The Innovators|
|9. Weaving The Web|
|10. The Shallows|
|11. The Internet Is Not The Answer|
|12. The Internet Galaxy|
|13. How the Internet Works|
|14. Consent of the Networked|
|15. The Facebook Effect|
|16. The Search|
|18. The Future of the Internet And How to Stop It|
|19. The Circle|
1. Being Digital | By Nicholas Negroponte
In lively, mordantly witty prose, Negroponte decodes the mysteries–and debunks the hype–surrounding bandwidth, multimedia, virtual reality, and the Internet, and explains why such touted innovations as the fax and the CD-ROM are likely to go the way of the BetaMax. “Succinct and readable. . . . If you suffer from digital anxiety . . . here is a book that lays it all out for you.”–Newsday.
2. dot.bomb | By J David Kuo
J. David Kuo had a ringside seat at one of the biggest busts of the Internet age. Value America (NASDAQ: VUSA) was supposed to revolutionize retailing by using the Internet — no more retailers or distributors needed. Fred Smith, legendary founder of Federal Express, called it the best business model he’d ever seen and invested millions of dollars. In a few short years, the company raised and spent hundreds of millions of dollars before a spectacular crash.
As Senior Vice President of Communications, Kuo saw the stupefying insanity of it all: the machinations, delusions, good efforts, and wild miscalculations that led to the company’s demise. Writing with a liveliness and flair seldom seen in business narratives, Kuo brings us tales of wretched excess, inspired salesmanship, online dreams, and unmitigated moneygrabbing. This is an unforgettable story of Internet mania that everyone who ever invested in a tech stock will be dying to read.
3. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed | By Jon Ronson
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us – people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people’s faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and the very scary part we all play in it.
4. Where Wizards Stay Up Late | By Kati Hafner
In the 1960’s, when computers where regarded as mere giant calculators, J.C.R. Licklider at MIT saw them as the ultimate communications devices. With Defense Department funds, he and a band of visionary computer whizzes began work on a nationwide, interlocking network of computers. Taking readers behind the scenes, Where Wizards Stay Up Late captures the hard work, genius, and happy accidents of their daring, stunningly successful venture.
5. The Dark Net | By Jamie Bartlett
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit—a world of Google, Facebook, and Twitter—lies a vast and often hidden network of sites, communities, and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits, and where people can be anyone, or do anything, they want. This is the world of Bitcoin, 4chan, and Silk Road, of radicalism, crime, and pornography. This is the Dark Net.
In this important and revealing book, Jamie Bartlett takes us deep into the digital underworld and presents an extraordinary look at the internet we don’t know. Beginning with the rise of the internet and the conflicts and battles that defined its early years, Bartlett reports on trolls, pornographers, drug dealers, hackers, political extremists, Bitcoin programmers, and vigilantes—and puts a human face on those who have many reasons to stay anonymous.
Rich with historical research and revelatory reporting, The Dark Net is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at a world that doesn’t want to be known.
6. Because Internet | By Gretchen McCulloch
Because Internet is for anyone who’s ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. It’s the perfect book for understanding how the internet is changing the English language, why that’s a good thing, and what our online interactions reveal about who we are.
Language is humanity’s most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar of status updates to the protocols of comments and @replies. Linguistically inventive online communities spread new slang and jargon with dizzying speed. What’s more, social media is a vast laboratory of unedited, unfiltered words where we can watch language evolve in real time.
Even the most absurd-looking slang has genuine patterns behind it. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explores the deep forces that shape human language and influence the way we communicate with one another. She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer “LOL” or “lol,” why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.
7. Here Comes Everybody | By Clay Shirky
For the first time in history, the tools for cooperating on a global scale are not solely in the hands of governments or institutions. The spread of the internet and mobile phones are changing how people come together and get things done—and sparking a revolution that, as Clay Shirky shows, is changing what we do, how we do it, and even who we are. Here, we encounter a whoman who loses her phone and recruits an army of volunteers to get it back from the person who stole it. A dissatisfied airline passenger who spawns a national movement by taking her case to the web. And a handful of kids in Belarus who create a political protest that the state is powerless to stop. Here Comes Everybody is a revelatory examination of how the wildfirelike spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them. A revolution in social organization has commenced, and Clay Shirky is its brilliant chronicler.
8. The Innovators | By Walter Isaacson
The Innovators is a masterly saga of collaborative genius destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution—and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. Isaacson begins the adventure with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.
9. Weaving The Web | By Tim Berners-Lee
Named one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time, Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for one of that century’s most important advancements: the world wide web. Now, this low-profile genius-who never personally profitted from his invention -offers a compelling protrait of his invention. He reveals the Web’s origins and the creation of the now ubiquitous http and www acronyms and shares his views on such critical issues as censorship, privacy, the increasing power of softeware companies , and the need to find the ideal balance between commercial and social forces. He offers insights into the true nature of the Web, showing readers how to use it to its fullest advantage. And he presents his own plan for the Web’s future, calling for the active support and participation of programmers, computer manufacturers, and social organizations to manage and maintain this valuable resource so that it can remain a powerful force for social change and an outlet for individual creativity.
10. The Shallows | By Nicholas Carr
In this ground-breaking and compelling book, Nicholas Carr argues that not since Gutenberg invented printing has humanity been exposed to such a mind-altering technology. The Shallows draws on the latest research to show that the Net is literally re-wiring our brains inducing only superficial understanding. As a consequence there are profound changes in the way we live and communicate, remember and socialise – even in our very conception of ourselves. By moving from the depths of thought to the shallows of distraction, the web, it seems, is actually fostering ignorance. The Shallows is not a manifesto for luddites, nor does it seek to turn back the clock. Rather it is a revelatory reminder of how far the Internet has become enmeshed in our daily existence and is affecting the way we think. This landmark book compels us all to look anew at our dependence on this all-pervasive technology.
11. The Internet Is Not The Answer | By Andrew Keen
Since its creation during the Cold War, the Internet, together with the Web, personal computers, tablets and smartphones, has ushered in one of the greatest shifts in society since the Industrial Revolution. The Digital Revolution has contributed to the world in many positive ways, but we are less aware of the Internet’s deeply negative effects.
The Internet Is Not the Answer, by longtime Internet skeptic Andrew Keen, offers a comprehensive look at what the Internet is doing to our lives. The book traces the technological and economic history of the Internet, from its founding in the 1960s through the rise of big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. In this sharp, witty narrative, informed by the work of other writers, reporters, and academics, as well as his own research and interviews, Keen shows us the tech world, warts and all.
Startling and important, The Internet Is Not the Answer is a big-picture look at what the Internet is doing to our society and an investigation of what we can do to try to make sure the decisions we are making about the reconfiguring of our world do not lead to unpleasant, unforeseen aftershocks.
12. The Internet Galaxy | By Manuel Castells
Manuel Castells is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the new information age, hailed by The Economist as “the first significant philosopher of cyberspace,” and by Christian Science Monitor as “a pioneer who has hacked out a logical, well-documented, and coherent picture of early 21st century civilization, even as it rockets forward largely in a blur.” Now, in The Internet Galaxy, this brilliantly insightful writer speculates on how the Internet will change our lives.
Castells believes that we are “entering, full speed, the Internet Galaxy, in the midst of informed bewilderment.” His aim in this exciting and profound work is to help us to understand how the Internet came into being, and how it is affecting every area of human life–from work, politics, planning and development, media, and privacy, to our social interaction and life in the home. We are at ground zero of the new network society. In this book, its major commentator reveals the Internet’s huge capacity to liberate, but also its ability to marginalize and exclude those who do not have access to it. Castells provides no glib solutions, but asks us all to take responsibility for the future of this new information age.
The Internet is becoming the essential communication and information medium in our society, and stands alongside electricity and the printing press as one of the greatest innovations of all time. The Internet Galaxy offers an illuminating look at how this new technology will influence business, the economy, and our daily lives.
13. How the Internet Works | By Preston Gralla
How the Internet Works, Eighth Edition is divided into nine parts, starting with a brief introduction to the Internet and its architecture followed by eight additional parts talking about everything from connecting and communicating on the Internet, security and privacy, entertainment and multimedia, Intranets, eCommerce and more. This book is up to date on all the latest and most talked about Internet technologies, such as:
- Wireless Internet technologies, including WiFi and Wireless Hot Spots
- Blogs and podcasts
- Grid computing
- Spyware and phishing
- Internet Surveillance
14. Consent of the Networked | By Rebecca Mackinnon
The Internet was going to liberate us, but in truth it has not. For every story about the web’s empowering role in events such as the Arab Spring, there are many more about the quiet corrosion of civil liberties by companies and governments using the same digital technologies we have come to depend upon. In Consent of the Networked, journalist and Internet policy specialist Rebecca MacKinnon argues that it is time to fight for our rights before they are sold, legislated, programmed, and engineered away. Every day, the corporate sovereigns of cyberspace (Google and Facebook, among others) make decisions that affect our physical freedom — but without our consent. Yet the traditional solution to unaccountable corporate behavior — government regulation — cannot stop the abuse of digital power on its own, and sometimes even contributes to it.
A clarion call to action, Consent of the Networked shows that it is time to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers people, and address the urgent question of how technology should be governed to support the rights and liberties of users around the world.
15. The Facebook Effect | By David Kirkpatrick
In little more than half a decade, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects—even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.
Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives. Kirkpatrick tells us how Facebook was created, why it has flourished, and where it is going next. He chronicles its successes and missteps, and gives readers the most complete assessment anywhere of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company’s remarkable ascent. This is the Facebook story that can be found nowhere else.
How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has transformed the Internet and how did he grow it to its current enormous size? Kirkpatrick shows how Zuckerberg steadfastly refused to compromise his vision, insistently focusing on growth over profits and preaching that Facebook must dominate (his word) communication on the Internet. In the process, he and a small group of key executives have created a company that has changed social life in the United States and elsewhere, a company that has become a ubiquitous presence in marketing, altering politics, business, and even our sense of our own identity. This is the Facebook Effect.
16. The Search | By John Battelle
What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question—in all its shades of meaning—can unlock the most intractable riddles of business and arguably of human culture itself. And for the past few years, that’s exactly what Google has been doing.
But The Search offers much more than the inside story of Google’s triumph. It’s a big-picture book about the past, present, and future of search technology and the enormous impact it’s starting to have on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest.
17. Click | By Bill Tancer
What time of year do teenage girls search for prom dresses online? How does the quick adoption of technology affect business success (and how is that related to corn farmers in Iowa)? How do time and money affect the gender of visitors to online dating sites? And how is the Internet itself affecting the way we experience the world? In Click, Bill Tancer takes us behind the scenes into the massive database of online intelligence to reveal the naked truth about how we use the Web, navigate to sites, and search for information–and what all of that says about who we are.
As online directories replace the yellow pages, search engines replace traditional research, and news sites replace newsprint, we are in an age in which we’ve come to rely tremendously on the Internet–leaving behind a trail of information about ourselves as a culture and the direction in which we are headed. With surprising and practical insight, Tancer demonstrates how the Internet is changing the way we absorb information and how understanding that change can be used to our advantage in business and in life. Click analyzes the new generation of consumerism in a way no other book has before, showing how we use the Internet, and how those trends provide a wealth of market research nearly as vast as the Internet itself. Understanding how we change is integral to our success. After all, we are what we click.
18. The Future of the Internet And How to Stop It | By Jonathan Zittrain
This extraordinary book explains the engine that has catapulted the Internet from backwater to ubiquity—and reveals that it is sputtering precisely because of its runaway success. With the unwitting help of its users, the generative Internet is on a path to a lockdown, ending its cycle of innovation—and facilitating unsettling new kinds of control.
IPods, iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos represent the first wave of Internet-centered products that can’t be easily modified by anyone except their vendors or selected partners. These “tethered appliances” have already been used in remarkable but little-known ways: car GPS systems have been reconfigured at the demand of law enforcement to eavesdrop on the occupants at all times, and digital video recorders have been ordered to self-destruct thanks to a lawsuit against the manufacturer thousands of miles away. New Web 2.0 platforms like Google mash-ups and Facebook are rightly touted—but their applications can be similarly monitored and eliminated from a central source. As tethered appliances and applications eclipse the PC, the very nature of the Internet—its “generativity,” or innovative character—is at risk.
The Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true “netizens.”
19. The Circle | By Dave Eggers
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.
As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.
Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.
What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on The Internet
The internet is expanding to more and more people across the globe. But, it is also more than just the internet. It’s a complex ecosystem with a complex set of rules and an even more complicated set of people involved in them. There is a machine called the internet, which operates the web pages and services we all know and use on a daily basis.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.