Our top 20 summer reads for content pros

The summer holidays are coming and if you’re eager for knowledge, this is the perfect time to sit back, relax and catch up with a good book. If you’re more of a non-fiction reader, why not choose a book that could help you the rest of the year and perhaps boost your career, too?

We asked Firehead founder CJ Walker to share her current reading list – reflecting interests in AI, the future of information, the future of work, content strategy, metadata and more – and a few short notes on why she picked them.

Firehead summer books list

1. The Content Advantage – Colleen Jones

Colleen Jones sent this to me after I won it on a raffle on Instagram for making a Stars Wars quote. She is genius and it’s really good reading. I’m in the middle of it.

2. The Organized Mind – Daniel Levitin

This has more to do with applied taxonomies than the way I think in real life!

3. Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Klaus Schwab

Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, talks about AI, Information 4.0, and the future of jobs.

4. Applied Artificial Intelligence – Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, Marlene Jia

Making AI real with some applied explanations for the layman.

5. Metadata in Practice – Diane Hillmann and Elaine Westbrooks

A metadata classic.

6. The Future of the Professions – Daniel Susskind and Richard Susskind

Useful recruitment research about Information 4.0’s place in the new economy and “How technology will transform the work of human experts”.

7. Prediction Machines – Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

Machine and deep learning applied in the workplace.

8. Neural Networks Methods for Natural Language Processing – Yoav Goldberg

A great book for linguists to geek out to. (Side note: Toni Ressaire and I also are teaching about NLP in conversational design for chatbots in our course, Writing for Machines and Humans.)

9. Metadata for content management – David Diamond

Another metadata classic. This one is for managers looking for the best content management system for their needs. David Diamond explains metadata to the layman and compares possibilities.

10. Measure What Matters – John Doerr

Professional strategy planning for organisations and jobseekers.

11. How We Talk – NJ Enfield

Content strategy consultant Rahel Bailie recommended this to me over a discussion about conversational design for machines and linguistics.

12. Metadata – Jeffrey Pomerantz

This one has only just arrived from MIT Press. It promises to be a decent overview packaged in a small book.

13. The Fourth Industrial Revolution – Klaus Schwab

A slim book that helps explain content’s part in Information 4.0.

14. The Accidental Taxonomist – Heather Hedden

A very technical book but one that is full of context; Heather Hedden is a genius. This is a reference in a community that doesn’t have a proper name or degree programme to feed into it.

15. The Content Strategy Toolkit – Meghan Casey

An oldie but goodie… I still use the templates from this well thought out, practical guide.

16. No More Silos – Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew’s latest book follows on from Metadata Basics for Web Content (also on this reading list). Michael is a metadata God, who is helping the world learn to apply it.

17. Human + Machine – H James Wilson and Paul Daugherty

More future of work stuff in the age of AI and Information 4.0.

18. Designing your life – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

This book was written by two designers who are applying their design principles to project management and life organisation.

19. Data Strategy – Bernard Marr

A short title with a long tagline: “How to profit from a world of big data, analytics and the internet of things.” The author is a thought leader in future of jobs. Looking forward to reading it.

20. Metadata Basics for Web Content – Michael Andrews

This was the first Michael Andrews book I read. It helped me a lot in explaining metadata to clients. Recommended.

Happy reading! And happy holidays!

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