The 21 books on Big Tech to watch out for in 2021, busting the scandalous inside stories and wild rise of giants like Facebook, SpaceX, and Spotify wide open


A host of books on Big Tech look set to hit the shelves in the 2021

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  • Charting everything from the rise of online giants like TikTok and Spotify to the fall of fraud-ridden Wirecard, 2021 is set to be a big year for blockbuster books on Big Tech. 
  • Authors include journalists from Insider, the New York Times, the BBC, and senior academics from the US, UK, and Middle East. 
  • Insider broke down the 21 bound-to-be tech bestsellers to keep an eye out for in 2021. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

2021 looks set to be a blockbuster year for books on Big Tech. 

As COVID-19 continues to force millions around the world to stay at home, what better time could there be to brush up on the inside stories, secret scandals, and ingenious innovations from Silicon Valley and beyond?

Highlights include “An Ugly Truth”, the latest deep dive into Facebook from New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, which reveals how Facebook tried to deny its role in the spread of disinformation worldwide, and “Driven”, the new book from Insider’s very own Alex Davies, which charts Big Tech’s battle to develop autonomous vehicles. 

Check out our 21 books for 2021 below: 

‘The Spotify Play: How CEO and Founder Daniel Ek Beat Apple, Google, and Amazon in the Race for Audio Dominance’

Diversion Books

Author: Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud

Summary: Since launching in 2006, Spotify has become synonymous with the global music industry, with hundreds of thousands of songs being streamed on the platform every minute. 

Swedish investigative tech journalists Carlsson and Leijonhufvud lift the lid on the firm’s early struggles, and the stories that define the firm today. 

Publisher: Diversion Books 

Release date: January 16, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Data: A Guide to Humans’


Author: Phil Harvey and Noelia Jiménez Martínez

Summary: In their crowdfunded new release, the authors of “Data: A Guide to Humans” unveil how to properly exploit data, why it’s important, and how companies and governments are using it right now. 

Publisher: Unbound

Release date: January 21, 2021 

Find it here. 

‘Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car’

Simon & Schuster

Author: Alex Davies

Summary: This upcoming book from one of Insider’s very own senior editors charts the dramatic battle between leading tech firms like Uber and Google to develop revolutionary autonomous vehicle technology. 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release date: February 5, 2021

Find it here. 

‘This is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race’

Bloomsbury Publishing

Author: Nicole Perlroth

Summary: In her upcoming book, distinguished New York Times cybersecurity reporter Perlroth goes digging into the cyber-weapons market. 

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release date: February 9, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future’


Author: Elizabeth Kolbert

Summary: This book offers a deep insight into the new world being created around us every day, including interviews with biologists trying to preserve the world’s rarest fish, engineers turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland, and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth.

Publisher: Crown

Release date: February 9, 2021 

‘Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX’

William Morrow

Author: Eric Berger

Summary: Drawing on unprecedented insider interviews with the people who were there from the beginning, Berger, senior space editor at Arts Technica, tells the story of how SpaceX went from unfathomable to unstoppable.  

Publisher: William Morrow 

Release date: March 2, 2021 

Find it here. 

‘Your Computer is On Fire’

MIT Press

Author: Various, edited by Thomas S. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks, and Kavita Philip

Summary: This collection of essays from leading academics is a call for radical action, warning society can no longer be “lulled into complacency by narratives of techno-utopianism.”

Publisher: The MIT Press 

Release date: March 9, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Whistleblower: My Unlikely Journey to Silicon Valley and Speaking Out Against Injustice’ (Paperback edition)


Author: Cade Metz

Summary: The upcoming title from New York Times technology correspondent Metz delves deep into the secret history of AI technology, and what its arrival might mean for all mankid. 

Publisher: Dutton

Release date: March 16, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Atlas of AI’

Yale University Press

Author: Kate Crawford

Summary: In “Atlas of AI”, Crawford, a senior principal researcher at Microsoft and cofounder of the AI Now Institute at New York University, tracks the impact of artificial intelligence on politics, the planet, and people. 

Publisher: Yale University Press

Release date: April 6, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Bear Markets and Beyond: A Bestiary of Business Terms’


Author: Dhruti Shah and Dominic Bailey

Summary: From bear hugs to unicorns, the worlds of business and finance are racked with terrifying terminology. As a host of tech companies look set to IPO in 2021, why not brush up on your lingo, with some animal-oriented inspiration? 

Publisher: Portico

Release date: April 6, 2021 

Find it here. 

‘Undoing Optimization: Civic Action in Smart Cities’

Author: Alison B. Powell

Summary: In “Undoing Optimization”, Powell, an associate professor of media and communication at the LSE and an affiliate of the Ada Lovelace Institute, examines how town planners, politicians, architects, and activists expect new technologies might transform life in the city. 

Publisher: Yale University Press

Release date: April 13, 2021 

Find it here. 

‘Hacker, Influencer, Faker, Spy: Intelligence Agencies in the Digital Age’


Author: Rob Dover

Summary: In his latest book, Dr Dover, a senior lecturer in Intelligence and International Security at the University of Leicester, uncovers how the shady world of international espionage has been forced to up its game in the age of social media. 

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers 

Release date: May 27, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Go Big: How to Fix Our World’


Author: Ed Miliband

Summary: Now back in frontline politics after a sabbatical spent hosting the ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ podcast, Miliband’s new book promises to be a manifesto for radical innovation, looking at how a combination of technology and new policy ideas could transform our world.  

Publisher: Bodley Head 

Release date: June 3, 2021

Find it here. 

‘An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination’


Author: Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang

Summary: Two veteran New York Times reporters bring years of experience covering one of the world’s biggest tech companies to a head with this in-depth dive into the world of Facebook. 

Publisher: Harper 

Release date: June 15, 2021 

Find it here. 

‘The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet’

Yale University Press

Author: Joseph Turow

Summary: “According to scientists, your weight, height, age, race, and illnesses can also be determined from the sound of your voice,” he writes. “Ultimately not only marketers – but also politicians and governments – may use voice profiling to infer characteristics about you to serve their interests, not yours or society’s.” 

Publisher: Yale University Press 

Release date: June 22, 2021

Find it here. 

‘Mother of Invention: How Good Ideas Get Ignored in An Economy Built for Men’

William Collins

Author: Katrine Marçal

Summary: In her latest work, Marçal, a Swedish writer, journalist and correspondent for Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, lifts the lid on how everyday sexism prevents women from helping to change the world. 

Publisher: William Collins 

Release date: June 24, 2021

Find it here. 

‘The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley’

Simon & Schuster

Author: Jimmy Soni

Summary: A long-time contributor to the likes of Slate, The Atlantic, and CNN, Soni’s upcoming book delves into the origins of the infamous “PayPal mafia”, a motley crew of tech geeks that would change the world of financial technology forever. 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release date: August 10, 2021

Find it here. 

‘House of Wirecard’

Author: Dan McCrum

Summary: In June 2020, Wirecard, Germany’s audacious fintech giant, was forced to file for insolvency after admitted around $2 billion was “missing”. 

In “House of Wirecard”, McCrum reveals how he and a team of Financial Times colleagues uncovered one of Europe’s biggest corporate fraud scandals of all time. 

Publisher: Penguin 

Release date: Unconfirmed 

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Martin Coulter