Stuff to read or listen to over the holidays

In case you get bored over the Christmas break, you may get back to this post and check out some books, newsletters, blogs or podcasts.

As 2019 draws to a close and 2020 looms on the horizon, we’d like to draw your attention to some stuff to read or listen to: a couple of blogs, newsletters, podcasts and books hopefully worth your time and attention. Let’s start with three books I currently have on my reading list.

In October, Ben Horowitz (of Andreessen Horowitz) published his second book: What You Do Is Who You Are. It’s about company culture and how to build and sustain it. For a first glimpse into the book, listen to this a16z Podcast episode. The a16z Podcast in general also made it to my list of podcasts I listen to on a regular basis.

In November, Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant launched User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play, a book about experience design, how it redesigned our world and continues to do so. Here’s a New York Times book review. Here’s a podcast with the authors. And here’s an excerpt from the book.

The third book on this short list is Roman Krznaric’s Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day. Fittingly, it was first published in 2017. It’s probably the least digital book, compared to the other two, but it connects to a debate we’ve had for years now. How do we spend our time? The author has been on a podcast as well.

Tech and politics

Speaking of podcasts, here are some more recommendations. NEXT regular Andrew Keen shares our concerns regarding the future of democracy, and he still is Keen On Democracy (hence the name of his podcast). Like Jamie Susskind, who spoke at NEXT this year, Andrew is one of the few people who understand both tech and politics. His podcast features a series of interviews with people who have something to say about it.

Also worth reading, if you’re into both politics and tech, is Jamie Susskind’s 2018 book Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech. This relates to a debate we had on democratising digital and the real digital revolution. You might want to listen to this podcast episode with Jamie Susskind.

Douglas Rushkoff has both a book and a podcast called Team Human. Which is not only a clever content marketing strategy, but also makes for compelling content, with the book and the podcast complementing each other. Rushkoff’s stance fits well with our approach to technology: tech should be a force of liberation, not of repression.

Azeem Azhar writes a weekly newsletter called Exponential View, covering the intersection of technology and society. Of course he has a podcast (by the same name) as well, which is another treasure trove.

Big questions

Let’s not forget Ben Thompson and his blog Stratechery, also available as newsletter. Over the last couple of months, Ben started to explore the great philosophical and political questions technology has brought to light. For example, he wrote about tech and liberty, or about free expression. Ben also has a podcast called Exponent together with James Allworth.

Making Sense is a podcast from Sam Harris. On a more philosophical level, Sam discusses questions about the human mind and society, often with a strong technological aspect as well.

And finally, I’d like to point you to Anil Dash’s podcast Function. Anil talks about the cultural angle: how culture is shaped by technology.

With this, it’s time to close this list and leave you with the best wishes for joyful holidays and a great 2020. In case you get bored over the Christmas break, you may get back to this post and check out some books, newsletters, blogs or podcasts.


Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash