1. The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr
The idea: The darker side of web 2.0
"The Internet is becoming one vast, programmable machine. The World Wide Web is becoming one vast, programmable machine. People have started to act like computers. We're beginning to process information as if we're nodes;
We're transferring our intelligence into the machine, and the machine is transferring its way of thinking into us.
Computers are technologies of liberation, but they're also technologies of control.
It's great that everyone is empowered to write blogs, upload videos to YouTube, and promote themselves on Facebook...If you're looking to monitor and manipulate people, you couldn't design a better machine."
2. Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger
The idea: There is value in smart aggregation.
"Before the Web, the word browsing was usually a polite way of telling a salesperson to buzz off...(review aggregators) Wize and Zillow make money by selling advertising, but their value is in the way their sites aggregate the miscellaneous--letting lots of independent sources flock together, all in one place.)
"We have to get rid of the idea that there's a best way of organizing the world."
3. The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, (2004) by James Surowiecki
The Idea: Aggregation of information in groups results in decisions that are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. Moreover, there are wise Crowds and Irrational Crowds.
Four key criteria separate wise crowds from irrational ones:
Diversity of opinion: Each person should have private information even if it's just an eccentric interpretation of the known facts.
Independence: People's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them.
Decentralization: People are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.
Aggregation: Some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision.
4. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson
Tye idea: Small niche markets will thrive in a Google-dominated, everyone-is-a-publisher world.
Update: The long tail idea has often been challenged. Here, here and here. The argument:
The internet was supposed to bring vast choice for customers, access to obscure and forgotten products - and a fortune for sellers who focused on niche markets. But a study of digital music sales has posed the first big challenge to this “long tail” theory: more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the internet failed to find a single buyer last year.
One arena where the Long Tail works:
20 to 25% of the queries we see today, we have never seen before.
- Udi Manber, Google's VP of Engineering
5. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
The idea: A analysis of how people come together to from groups and do great things using the internet, unhampered by traditional organizational hierarchies.
6. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams
The idea: This is the age of collaboration and creation of wisdom through participation.
7. Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble, Shel Israel
The idea: One of the first books to sing the praise of blogging to companies.
8. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff
The Idea: How businesses can harness social media tools, encourage user participation and create more business.
9. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
The idea: Groups/Tribes can do big things and on the internet, we must create groups of people with shared passions and get them excited by new product, service or message.
Lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. e.g. the Obama Campaign
10. Designing for the Social Web (Voices That Matter) by Joshua Porter
The Idea: A book by an experienced web developer about what works and what doesn't on social web sites; and how to encourage user participation.
11. Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig
The idea: How the Internet is redefining constitutional law, especially in view of increasing user activity and commercialization of the internet.