Hello everyone and welcome to week 3 of Nonfiction November! I’ll be your host this week, so this is the post where you can link up your answers to the prompt and any nonfiction reviews you do this week. You can also check out what everyone has been posting in previous weeks, with the intro post hosted by Julz and Julz Reads and the fiction/nonfiction pairing hosted by Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves. And don’t miss the next two weeks discussion either, coming from co-hosts Rennie at What’s Nonfiction and Leanne at Shelf Aware.
Three ways to join in this week! You can share 3 or more books on a single topic that you’ve read and can recommend (be the expert); you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you’ve been dying to read (ask the expert); or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
I’m actually going to do both a Be the Expert and an Ask the Expert, since I’d like to provide some helpful recommendations and I’d love to get some recommendations from you! First, for my Be the Expert, I began the year by reading a bunch of books on the history of Silicon Valley, in part motivated by my recent move to that part of the US. Here’s what I thought of the books I picked up:
This book is largely a critique of the libertarian leanings of many company founders. Sometimes I agreed with it and sometimes I didn’t. It was thought-provoking, but felt more opinion-based than substantial. – review, 3/5 stars
This book goes the other direction, with an extremely uncritical approach to Silicon Valley. However, the oral history the author pieces together is an incredible, in-depth look at the history of the valley. It does what it does very well. – review, 5/5 stars
This book is a perfect complement to Valley of Genius. It was equally engaging and informative, but focused on fewer stories; gave more context; and covers some aspects of Silicon Valley that are completely missed by Valley of Genius, like the biotech industry. – review, 5/5
This was a fascinating but somewhat shallow look at the founding of Uber and AirBnB. – review, 3/5
I liked that this book highlighted the perspective of social workers, activists, and long-time residents. I wish it had done so in a way that felt less biased against people new to the area though (speaking as a Bay Area transplant myself!). The interviews were also somewhat disjointed. – review, 3/5
This isn’t as focused a history of Silicon Valley as the previous books on this list, but author Ellen Ullman’s memoir gives a fascinating, first-hand account of many of the most iconic moments in computer history. – review, 5/5
Second, for my Ask the Expert, I’d love to hear any recommendations you have for books on Technology and society; the formation of cities, life in cities, city planning, etc; and women in science. These are all topics I’d love to read more about!
And, last but not least, here’s a link-up where you can share your discussions and nonfiction reviews: