It’s always jarring to society when we move from one way of doing things to another. Today’s rapid changes can leave us feeling like we’re confronting unprecedented madness, but change is one of the most reliable constants in history.

The struggle is maintaining that larger perspective in the midst of it all.

Google X’s Captain of Moonshots Astro Teller explains in a video interview how periods of systemic change shock society—like moving from telegraphs and the pony express to home phones—but that in retrospect, the changes settle in and make sense. Often, we’d never willingly return to how things used to be.

One way to zoom out and hold this larger perspective is by reading great books that examine the future and help us better understand the world as it is. They guide us into a new narrative about how we got to today and what the future may hold.

At Singularity University, we love these kinds of books. We tapped a few of our fellow staff to bring you a reading list from our community on the books they found influential and fascinating in 2016. We hope you enjoy.

(Tweet us your favorite book of 2016 here.)


The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
Kevin Kelly

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations
Thomas L. Friedman

Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity—One Gene at a Time
Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans

The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future
Steve Case

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future
Joi Ito and Jeff Howe 

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
Michael Lewis

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Angela Duckworth

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy—And How to Make Them Work for You
Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary


Image Source: Shutterstock

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Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).