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Best Security, Business, and Technology Books of 2018

As we close out 2018, I had an incredibly hard time reducing this list to a top ten. I read one book a week for my Global Frequency mailing list (if you aren’t a subscriber, you should be – and had many great books to pick from for 2018. Last year, I specifically excluded cyber books, but they are back on the list for this year with LikeWar winning my pick of the year. This year is also heavy on AI books as I’ve been on a personal quest to learn as much as I can about the topic. I think AI developments will be an important fundamental shift in the near-future and it will touch every industry just like cybersecurity touches every industry today. As in previous years, I’ve also reserved two spots for fictional books because all work and no play makes Matt a dull boy, but fiction reliably informs our future as well. Happy reading and if you enjoy this list, please share it.

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UPDATE: We are giving away five copies of LikeWar via Amazon. Just visit this link to enter – LikeWar Giveaway

LikeWar by P. W. Singer & Emerson T. Brooking
The most important book of 2018 should be required reading for informed citizens. LikeWar examines how influence operations have fully moved into the domain of social networks and provides not only a detailed history but key insight into the current state of play. (Amazon Link)

Also check out OODA Loop’s interview with author P.W. Singer – OODA Loop LikeWar interview

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age by David E. Sanger
There have been numerous looks at the current state of cyberconflict, but Sanger’s is one of the best. Richly detailed and well sourced, this is a great look at an important topic. (Amazon Link)

Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Successby Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown
How does data science integrate with business operations to drive growth? I’ve read a lot of books on this topic and Hacking Growth is my favorite. (Amazon Link)

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese
If you could only read on book on AI, this would be my top pick. This is a reasoned look at the role AI will play in our future and offers an optimistic viewpoint to counter many of the sensational headlines. (Amazon Link)

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna & Michael J. Casey
When I put together my 2017 list, Bitcoin was priced at just under $20k. Today it rests at $4k and within that year-long window we saw the rise and fall of the cryptocurrency market through ICOs and the launch of hundreds of cryptocurrency variants. Despite the hype and volatility, I fundamentally believe cryptocurrencies and blockchain will play a fundamental role in future technology, financial, and social systems. The Truth Machine is the best book on the topic for 2018. (Amazon Link)

New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms
If I could pair one book with LikeWar to provide the best viewpoint on the changing dynamic of social networks and amplified influence, it would be New Power as it offers not only insight into these dynamics but couples it with insightful case studies. My top pick for 2016 was Ramo’s Seventh Sense (Amazon Link) and this book is a more detailed examination of the issue accessible to both novices and technologists. (Amazon Link)

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, & Avi Goldfarb
Provides a great look at AI related issues by dissecting them to their lowest common denominator of making predictions. If you want to understand how AI will impact your industry, perhaps look at what predictions machines can help you make.(Amazon Link)

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee
An important look at AI issues and role they will play on the global stage including in the realms of innovation and economic competition. What makes this book most notable is the author’s deep insight into China’s AI strategy which makes it an important business and international relations book as well. (Amazon Link)

Kill Process by William Hertling
The survivor of an abusive relationship uses her hacker skills to liberate other women from abusive relationships by remotely killing their partners. She then starts a company to take-on a Facebook like closed system with a more open-source federated approach. This is a fun read as it provides a great optic on the hacker culture, start-up life, and is deeply grounded in very accurate technology depictions. (Amazon Link)

The Terminal List By Jack Carr
If you like Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, or Brad Thor – then do I have the book for you. Breakneck pace with an incredible cast of characters coupled with accurate action sequences make this my favorite thriller of 2018 (and I read all the Clancy, Flynn and Thor series books released this year). (Amazon Link)

Honorable Mentions:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, & Ola Rosling

The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking by Olivia Fox Cabane & Judah Pollack

The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture by Brian Dear

Matt Devost

Matt Devost

Matthew G. Devost is the CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC. Matt is a technologist, entrepreneur, and international security expert specializing in counterterrorism, critical infrastructure protection, intelligence, risk management and cyber-security issues. Matt co-founded the cyber security consultancy FusionX from 2010-2017. Matt was President & CEO of the Terrorism Research Center/Total Intel from 1996-2009. For a full bio, please see