Essential Reading and Resources

Here’s the list of ESSENTIAL READING and RESOURCES in the back of Program or Be Programmed.
I’m very interested to hear what additions you’d like to see, as well as what luck you’ve been having with these.

Innis, Harold. The Bias of Communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008 (first published in 1951).
Kelly, Kevin. What Technology Wants. New York: Viking, 2010
Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not A Gadget. New York: Knopf, 2009
Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin, 2005.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: McGraw Hill. 1964.
Neal Stephenson, In the Beginning was the Command Line. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.
Packer, Randall and Jordan, Ken. Multimedia: From Wagner to virtual reality. New York: Norton, 2001. See the essays by Vannevar Bush, Norbert Weinter, James Licklider, Douglas Englebart, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and other Internet pioneers and visionaries.
Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage Books, 1993
Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Boston: MIT Press, 1993.
Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the trenches of Hyperspace. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
Shiffman, Daniel. Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann, 2008.
Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin, 2009.
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York; Basic Books, 2011
Wark, Mackenzie. A Hacker Manifesto. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
Weiner, Norbert. The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society. Cambridge: DeCapo Press, 1988. (first published in 1950).
Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

PBS Frontline: Digital Nation. by Rachel Dretzen and Douglas Rushkoff. Available streaming online at
BBC: The Virtual Revolution.

Free resources to learn programming: – MIT’s site for kids, but easy enough for adults.
“Learn Python the Hard Way” (which is actually easier).
“Learning Processing” – – tutorials by Dan Schiffman.
SiMPLE – – some Apple II developers wrote this beginners’ language back in 1995. Microsoft’s tutorials on how to learn Visual Basic are actually quite good for the beginner.
For educators interested in a very easy programming language to teach elementary school children, visit for a system to purchase or here for free resources.
Google Android App Inventor: You have to apply for this, but they will usually respond within a couple of days, and there are some great tutorials for getting starting actually building apps for the Google Android phone and tablet OS.

What would you put? What books are essential and required reading for someone to negotiate the digital realm? And what was your favorite introduction to programming? I learned it from a person, and would be interested to hear who got it from a text. Or a program, even.