1. Thing Explainer – Randall Monroe
Monroe is the author of last year’s popular What If? and the science-oriented question and answer blog of the same name. After building robots at NASA, he went on to author the popular webcomic xkcd.
Monroe again uses line drawings and only the thousand most common words to offer simple explanations to interesting questions, such as the bags of stuff inside you (cells) and the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates). This is a good book for your favorite nerd.
2. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance
This one is from our Fall Book recommendations. It is a perfect gift for giving, so we included it here. Released last May, it continues to garner a lot of attention, just as its subject, Elon Musk, continues to be in the forefront of the news. Vance is a tech writer for Bloomberg Business Week and offers a comprehehnsive study of the entrerpreneur.
The 44 year old Musk is a virtual superman of tech start-ups, currently CEO of the rocket company Space X and the electric car company Tesla Motors, along with being chairman of Solar City, the largest American solar power installation company. Somehow, he keeps moving a step ahead of everyone else.
Based on extensive interviews with close to 300 people, this book is a compelling and informative read for anyone interested in business and technology.
3. The Big Book of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects – Doug Cantor
Brought to you by Popular Science, this book is full of funny and fascinating projects for techies or aspiring techies, from DIY robots to action-powered hood ornaments for your car. The WSJ claimed, “this book offers everything you need to thoroughly alarm your loved ones.” We’re still recommending it, so have fun!
4. Rising Strong – Brené Brown
A New York Times bestseller and recommended on many reading lists this year is this book by social scientitst Brené Brown. Her theory is that living a brave life and being vulnerable is the key to success and a happy life. inevitably in life, we all fall. Brown’s topic is how we rise from falling, and her research includes interviews with Fortune 500 leaders, teachers, artist and couples in long-term relationships. The commonality that she found in these people was their abililty to recognize the power of emotion and not being afraid to sit with discomfort. This is a thought-provoking book for the new year!