November 28, 2004

Books I recommended at Design Engaged

At Design Engaged we put up Post-Its of books we liked. I put up the following 3 books and decided to share my decisions with everyone, especially now that Christmas is coming up. ;-)

Human-Built World: How to Think About Technology and Culture by Thomas Hughes. A short and awesomely enlightening history and contextualization of where our contemporary attitudes toward technology come from. (Thanks, Mom!)

Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin by Gray Brechin. The Bay Area was the worldwide center of technology innovation before, during the heyday of mining in the 19th century. There's soon going to be a big biotech campus is on the spot where the worldwide center of iron, steel and machinery innovation was happening around 120 years ago. It's intensely instructive to see how the power (literal, in terms of electricity and figurative in terms of influence) related to what, how and why technological advancement happened, and the consequences (it's not surprising that John Muir and modern ecological consciousness happened in Northern California when you see the context). And it's a great read, especially for those who live in SF and the surrounding area.

The Red Queen : Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley. A masterful presentation of sex, evolution and how much like birds and the bees we really are. Those who still maintain the Descartian Duality may be surprised as to how much of our behavior is part of a feedback system that's quite obsessed with sex-based competition. All of Matt Ridley's books rock, but this was the first one I read and it's still a big touchstone when I think about human behavior.

[An update: Andrew posted the whole list on his blog. Excellent!]

Posted by mikek at November 28, 2004 01:01 PM | TrackBack
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