6. The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown (2014) by Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center

For the last decade the Pew Research Center has been doing some of the best public polling in the world. Paul Taylor, who has overseen much of this work, puts the results of this and other research into a coordinated snapshot of how America is evolving. In separate chapters he describes how public life and opinion is changing on important issues such as marriage, the use of technology, immigration, finance and the role of government. Overall Taylor paints a fairly optimistic view of the future clouded only by the unsustainability of the government’s commitment to the Baby Boomers, particularly in the form of unsustainable entitlement spending.


7. The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined (2012) Salman Khan

Like many innovators, ex-engineer and hedge funder, Salman Khan (creator of Khan Academy) rethinks existing assumptions and imagines what education could be if freed from them. And his core idea—liberating teachers from lecturing and state-mandated calendars, and opening up class time for human interaction—has become his life’s passion. In this book, Khan presents his radical vision for the future of education, as well as his own remarkable story.


8. Open Data Now: The Secret to Hot Startups, Smart Investing, Savvy Marketing, and Fast Innovation (2013) by Joel Gurin

Open data went from a niche topic among a few computer scientists and activists to a subject of national debate and a presidential executive order in a few short years. This is due in no small part to the work of open data evangelists like Gurin, a senior advisor at New York University’s GovLab. This book is at once a primer on what open data is and how it can be used, as well as a call to action for government to embrace open data and make these applications more accessible. The book also contains innumerable examples of present and future applications for open data, which are sure to prove inspiring for entrepreneurs, scientists, and tech companies alike.


9. Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom (2014) by Adam Thierer

Mercatus scholar Adam Theirer provides a succinct treatise on the merits of “permissionless innovation,” or the idea that policymakers should leave innovators free to create without first seeking their approval. This model of technological innovation serves as a stark contrast to the countervailing “precautionary principle”—the belief that innovators should be restrained until they can prove that they have sufficiently addressed risk—which underpins the thinking of many policymakers. Theirer’s book is a compelling read, and one that is supremely relevant to a host of technology policy debates from drones to 3D printing to crypto currencies.


10. The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education (2011) by Curtis Bonk

To help educators and others understand what’s possible with web-based technology, Curt Bonk employs his groundbreaking “WE-ALL-LEARN” model to outline 10 key technology and learning trends, demonstrating how technology has transformed educational opportunities for learners of every age in every corner of the globe. The book is filled with inspiring stories of ordinary learners as well as interviews with technology and education leaders that reveal the power of this new way of learning.

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