The best beach reads for IT pros in 2016
The Chip : How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution
Author: T. R. Reid
We no doubt take for granted the computer systems which now power our world, mobile devices, television sets and even our vehicles -- but how did it all begin? You can find out this summer by reading The Chip, the story of two men who stumbled across a way to create the silicon microchip, which proved to be the turning point in bringing PCs to the mass market and beyond the confines of research facilities.
Price: $15 (approx)
Author: Robert X. Cringely
Accidental Empire is a readable guide to the history of computer manufacturing which takes care to keep things fun and anything but dry. This particular story looks at everything from the odd, charismatic personalities which push the tech industry forward -- from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates -- as well as how personality traits, neuroses and the mistakes of men have changed the face of the business. It's fun, sometimes shocking, and absolutely worth a read this holiday season.
Price: $2.40 - $16
Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
Author: George Dyson
Alan Turing, a key figure in the development of the computer, had a fascinating -- although at the end, sad -- existence. If you enjoyed the film based on his life, The Imitation Game, you will enjoy reading Turing's Cathedral, the story of a group of scientists in the 1940's and 1950's who set out to make Turing's dreams of a universal machine a reality.
Price: $11.70 (approx)
The Annihilation Score
Author: Charles Stross
The latest in the popular Laundry Files series is a must-read for tech and IT pros who want an easy but enjoyable story which combines politics, the occult, technology and programming as the UK's hapless civil servants combat demons brought into the world -- and keep them from the public.
Dark Beyond the Stars
Author: Blair C. Babylon
An anthology of short stories submitted by female science fiction writers, Dark Beyond The Stars is a great book to take to the beach to enter different worlds based on space travel, space opera and adventure.
Price: $5.69 - $13.88
An Optimist's Tour of the Future
Author: Mark Stevenson
For an entertaining read on holiday, A Short History of Nearly Everything is an irreverent look at what's coming next for humanity. A traveler talks to climate change-fighting farmers, an emotional and grumpy robot and a Spanish entrepreneur in the middle of putting a hotel into space, among others. It would sound like science fiction, but perhaps it won't be long before that becomes our future.
Price: $5.98 - $16
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
For an enjoyable science fiction read, you can transport yourself into a battleground between worlds through The Dispossessed, a story based on the disparity between the rich and poor, technology, utopian anarchists and how one man tries to be the catalyst for change.
Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
Author: Kim Zetter
A staple, fascinating read for anyone in the security realm is Countdown to Zero Day, the story of how the Stuxnet worm -- considered the world's "first digital weapon" -- was unleashed on uranium plants in Iran to cause havoc, while also reminding us of the risk of digital weapons against our core infrastructure.
The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment
Author: Martin Ford
Technology isn't all about how things work now -- but how inventions could impact our future. Those interested in reading about how artificial intelligence in particular could have serious societal implications should read Rise of the Robots -- but you'll probably end up wondering how long your job is safe fo
Price: $9.53 - $10.89
The Car Hacker's Handbook: A Guide for the Penetration Tester
Author: Craig Smith
The cybersecurity landscape becomes more complex as each year passes, and now, the introduction of smart cars, infotainment dashboards and in-vehicle connectivity has prompted increased demand for researchers who have skills in new areas.
A very interesting, in-depth look at vehicle safety is The Car Hacker's Handbook, which introduces readers to the computer systems found in new vehicles, vulnerabilities, exploits and how these systems can be protected.
Price: $27.70 - $34
Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?
Author: James Tagg
Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?: Amazing Brain. Human Communication, Creativity & Free Will is an exploration of intelligence, free will, and what we consider to be the self -- all by tying in our history to technological principles, Turing's work and philosophical theories.
You may not agree with every point in this book, but it is still a worthwhile read with interesting ideas concerning humans themselves -- and potentially how we will categorize artificial intelligence in the future.