Out of Control:
The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World

Kevin Kelly

Today we are seeing, at an ever-quickening pace, the emergence of made systems so complicated they resemble living organisms. Kevin Kelly explores what this means to us, the creators and caretakers of such systems, and how it relates to the organic systems that have already been running for thousands of years.

More on Kevin Kelly

Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud

Whether you're a fan of the medium or not, this book, written with insight and enthusiasm entirely in the form it discusses, lays bare the mechanics of comics and in the process explores the very nature of visual communication.

Scott McCloud's website

Gödel, Escher, Bach:
An Eternal Golden Braid

Douglas R. Hofstadter

Essential for anyone seriously interested in unlocking the secrets of the mind. Thinking about thinking. Jam-packed with chewy goodness and interlocking tangential ramblings, just like life.

How Buildings Learn:
What Happens After They're Built

Stewart Brand

Once a building has been created we tend to think of it as solid, immutable. Stewart Brand reminds us that in fact the opposite is true, as he explores the many ways buildings and their occupants interact with and change each other over time. Deep thinking on an important yet neglected topic: The dynamics of long-term use.

More on Stewart Brand

A Pattern Language:
Towns, Buildings, Construction

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein

A tremendous resource for anyone interested in understanding and affecting the built world. Inspirational for anyone involved in creating and managing shared spaces, from major metropolitan areas to virtual communities on the web.

Suburban Nation:
The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Jeff Speck

Are we destined to spend our lives shuttling from place to place in our cars, separated from the rest of the world by a buffer of metal and glass? How much of our social fabric and quality of life have we sacrificed to the almighty automobile? This book explores the causes of and solutions to our automobile centered world with clarity and sensibility.

The Clock of the Long Now:
Time and Responsibility: The Ideas Behind the World's Slowest Computer

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand does it again with a lovely little book that will change the way you think about your relationship with time.

The Long Now website

The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene, Joost Elffers

In life it's not important whether you play the game of power, but it's essential that you do know the rules. This book is an excellent synthesis of the teachings of the great philosophers of power, from Sun Tzu to Machiavelli to P. T. Barnum, complete with an endless supply of fables and historical anecdotes.

A Year with Swollen Appendices:
Brian Eno's Diary

Brian Eno

A fascinating, jumbled, intimate peek into the mind of a profoundly creative and influential individual.

The Annotated Alice:
The Definitive Edition

Lewis Carroll, Martin Gardner (Annotations), John Tenniel (Illustrator)

Two delightful tales by Lewis Carroll, full of intelligence and humor, bound together and given the behind-the-scenes treatment by Martin Gardner. The Alice stories are revealed as both complex social commentaries and serious play. Fun for all ages!

Fight Club
Chuck Palahniuk

Bold, fresh and on the money.

Now a major motion picture, directed by David Fincher.

A Scanner Darkly
Philip K. Dick

A mind bending book, from a mind bending author.

William Gibson

Still one of the finest examples of cyberpunk fiction.

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

An operatic drama in the world of genius children.

The Contortionist's Handbook
Craig Clevenger

A vibrant debut from a good friend of mine.

More on Craig Clevenger

... and I highly recommend Christina's Words and our Germany Journal.

Still want more? Check out our Amazon Wish List for a peek at possible future additions to this page.

Ian Gilman Copyright 1998-2013, Ian Gilman