There are so many good books out there that it's impossible for me to come up with a list of books I'd like to recommend.
Instead I've put together a list of books that I believe are particularly valuable for their interdisciplinary relevance. Ther are aspects from mathematics, computing, architecture, cognitive psychology, philosophy... These books are very meaningful to me and might also be interesting for others.
Daniel Kahneman: "Thinking, Fast and Slow" (2011).
This book offers some fascinating insight into the world of cognitive psychology. At first sight there is no connnection to IT — yet the phenomena described here can in fact be observed in virtually every IT project.
Jaron Lanier: "You Are Not A Gadget — A Manifesto" (2010).
This book takes a critical look at the Internet and the changes in society that result from its usage. The book contains lots of ideas that may be discussed in a controversial many, yet it's always thought-provoking. Ultimately the author challenges Internet users to reclaim diversity, individuality and creativity on the Web.
James Surowiecki: "The Wisdom of Crowds" (2004).
People have been critical of the term 'crowd wisdom' for very good reasons. However, this book doesn't take crowd wisdom for granted but sets out to explain, along with many examples, the conditions that need to be fulfilled so that crowds stand a chance to act wisely.
Stewart Brand: "The Clock of the Long Now" (1999).
A book on the history of knowledge and the importance of long-term thinking. Quite unusual, but full of surprising ideas and insight.
Simon Singh: "Fermat's Last Theorem" (1997).
The story of a mathematical proof, this is one of those books you just can't put aside until you've finished it.
Gero von Randow: "Das Ziegenproblem" (German language only) (1995).
A short and entertaining book that demonstrates the tricks that our intuition plays on us when it comes to statistical problems. The book starts with the now famous Monty Hall problem, but has many other surprises in store.
Douglas Hofstadter: "Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid" (1979).
Still the classic in the literature on computer science. The book demonstrates the asthetics of logic like none other. More than 40 years after it was first published, the book is still absolutely fascinating.
Christopher Alexander et al.: "A Pattern Language — Towns, Buildings, Construction" (1977).
This book offers an unusual view of architecture by describing so-called architectural pattern. Opinions vary regarding the indivdual patterns, however, the idea to identiy and collect such patterns is doubtlessly remarkable. It's an idea that years later was adopted in computing.
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