It’s still summer, it’s still hot and people are still planning or going on vacations. Here’s a list of non-journalism but media-adjacent tech and management books you might enjoy and even get smarter from.

Most of these books came out in 2022. I have only included one that is from last year just because I keep coming back to it in many conversations and it is still a useful read for anyone, especially for professionals covering or looking into the future.

Meta-verse books for media managers

The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything

By Matthew Ball

If you look at what companies like Meta, Microsoft and Epic are building towards, they keep saying they are creating the metaverse. Or at least its building blocks. But what exactly is the metaverse? You will get as many answers as many people you ask.

Matthew Ball has been the lead thinker on the topic. He has published many influential essays that are regularly quoted by Big Tech CEOs. This book is a great primer for anyone looking to expand their understanding of what it is, the possibilities, but also downsides. 

The book garnered some favorable reviews from the likes of The Economist, The Washington Post and Financial Times. If you are not convinced, here is a podcast interview with the author.

Build book for media managers

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

By Tony Fadell

Tony Fadell is the man behind the iPod, iPhone and Nest Thermostat. He is a controversial figure mainly because of his aggressive management style, and he also does not care how he talks about things. That can be both useful (if you are a writer trying to reveal inner workings) and damaging (if you are an executive).

Build is Fadell’s first book, and he wrote it with the help of freelance writer Dina Lovinsky.  Walter Isaacson, famous author and biographer of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Leonardo DaVinci said that “Fadell has distilled his wisdom in this book, providing wildly useful mentorship in a delightfully readable set of stories.”

In many interviews Fadell has given, and he notes it in the introduction of the book, he said the reason he decided to write a book was because he kept saying the same things and giving the same advice to young founders and entrepreneurs. Thus it made sense to write a book about it.

Build is about building things, particularly companies. The book offers an inner look into how they operate and even how they fail. A useful read for anyone trying to build things. Here are reviews in TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal. And a podcast interview with the author.

After Steve book for media manager

After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul

By Tripp Mickle

Tripp Mickle is a tech journalist at The New York Times and his book After Steve is, simply put, very good. In his review, professor Clay Shirky wrote that the book is an amazingly detailed portrait of the permanent tension between strategy and luck: Companies make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.

After Steve follows a decade at Apple after its founder’s death and the tension between two main protagonists – Tim Cook (representing business) and Jony Ive (the creative). As Shirky wrote, it’s surprisingly detailed and well reported.

Futureproof book for media managers
Random House

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation

By Kevin Roose

With this book I’m cheating a bit. It was published in 2021, so in terms of summer reading lists it is considered “old”. But I think it fits here nicely, and also I keep meeting people who have never heard about it. Futureproof is about the future, increasing automation of tasks and what can people do to not be replaced soon by a robot.

Roose is a tech columnist at the NY Times, so he knows how to write, split the text into smaller chunks (9 rules) and tell intriguing stories about such a boring topic as is automation. After reading this book you will be better prepared for the future and also better understand what is about to happen.

a kids book about design
A Kids Company About Inc.

A Kids Book About Design

By Jason Mayden

OK, this is cheating, but in a different way; bear with me. I would have never bought and read this book if it wasn’t for a great headline in Fast Company “selling it to me”: This children’s book about design should be required reading for CEOs.

The book is part of a larger series of “empowering kids books” from the imprint A Kids Company About. A Kids Book About Design has only 62 pages and not a lot of words. You can finish it in one go in probably 5 or 10 minutes. Its approach is in the spirit of “explain like I’m five”. So, a perfect read for a busy executive. At least in my experience it is that executives rarely understand design. Maybe try gifting this to your boss and see what happens.

smart brevity media manager book
Workman Publishing Company

Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less (to be released)

By Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Roy Schwartz

The founders of Axios and Politico share their transformative methods for punching through the noise to get people to pay attention to what matters most in this upcoming book. I can’t tell you yet whether this book is good or not because I haven’t read it yet. But I can tell you I’m excited to read it.