10 gift books for digital communicators for 2017

Need inspiration for your career in 2017? Here’s our selection of Christmas gift books to buy for yourself or the digital communications professional in your life. Our top 10 list has been picked with a recruiter’s eye on market trends and modern technologies to help you upskill, freshen up your ideas or just get a handle on all things digital in 2017.

It’s not all handbooks and best practice, however, there are also some good futurologist and online culture reads to put your feet up with. Our roundup includes help with tech comm, content strategy, metadata and digital marketing, as well as insights into hacking, the rise of AI and our near-term digital futures.


1. Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web (2016)

Interesting insights and an enjoyable read for onlookers, commenters, moderators and social media managers around the nature of modern online commentary.

Author Joseph Reagle says conversations “on the bottom half of the Internet” can tell us much about human nature and social behaviour. All the world is here!

2. Hacking: Learn Hacking FAST! Ultimate Course Book For Beginners (2015)

Hacking is big news and also a popular trend in books it seems. This one is less about how to take down governments and large corporates, and more about getting under the hood and improving your own computer skills and knowledge with some practical fun hacks.

Want to speed up your computer using invisible folders, for example? This will show you how to do it. You’ll be a cool geek by year’s end.

3. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (2016)

A New York Times Bestseller by tech thinker Kevin Kelly, who offers up the 12 technological imperatives that will shape the next 30 years and transform our lives.

Don’t expect a future of doom-laden foreboding though… the blurb says it’s a hopeful book that aims to give guidance on things like what to invent, where to work, what to invest in, how to better reach customers  and what to begin to put into place as this new world emerges.

4. Technical Writing Process (2015)
This is not a book for experienced technical writers but it may be a useful primer for beginners or anyone tasked with creating technical docs as part of their job and looking for an easy place to start.

The book’s subtitle sums it up as a “simple, five-step guide that anyone can use to create technical documents such as user guides, manuals and procedures”.

5. Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide (2015)

Ann Rockley, one of the world’s leading experts in content strategy, has written the foreword to Kevin Nichols’ step-by-step guidebook to building an enterprise content strategy for your organisation – so it must be good!

In it Nichols outlines some of the best practices for conducting and executing content strategy projects for your business. Expect many definitions, questions to ask, checklists and guidelines to give you a good grounding in enterprise CS.

6. Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience (2016)

This step-by-step guide to content marketing process in B2B and B2C is written by Pamela Wilson, who manages Copyblogger, one of the most-respected content marketing blogs in the world. Wilson promises to help you with content marketing strategies that build your audience with every piece of content you create, as well as lots of ideas and templates to prevent you coming unstuck.

7. The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change (2016)

For content professionals who prefer a good read over handbook checklists and practical how-tos, try this one for size.

Bharat Anand looks at a range of global businesses across sectors – from The New York Times to The Economist, Chinese Internet giant Tencent to Scandinavian digital trailblazer Schibsted – to analyse their content strategies and see how connectivity wins over content alone.

8. The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything (2016)

Robert Scoble, leading tech evangelist know for the Scobleizer blog, has co-authored this book on how AR and AI will radically affect and disrupt all our near-term futures.

It is based on two years of research and about 400 interviews with technologists and business decision-makers to explain the new landscape for business thinkers and general audiences.

9. Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane (2016)

A highly readable look into the future, including smart homes, smart cities, and the development and implications of artificial intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality technologies that will affect all of us.

Brett King asks what will the new Augmented Age bring: will robots take our jobs, will AIs subsume us as inferior intelligences, or will this radical change usher in a new age of abundance?

10. Metadata for Content Management: Designing taxonomy, metadata, policy and workflow to make digital content systems better for users (2016)

There are a few books out there introducing metadata and taxonomies but for Firehead readers this dive into how it is used to improve digital content should be spot on. We’re not sure what is going on with that cover but the inside promises to help content managers organise their content and employ metadata, taxonomy, policy and workflow strategies to make content systems more usable, functional and valuable to users.

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