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Daemon and Freedom: Reading with IT
February 8, 2010 - 8:57pm

In my fantasy world our jobs in higher education technology include includes time for book discussion. The boss, or the unit, or someone would choose a book each month that relates to our jobs - buy the book for everyone - and set aside one hour for all of us to discuss. Maybe we'd all vote on the books. And all of us could choose the format we want to read our books. I'd choose audio. Maybe my colleague would choose an e-book. Some people would choose paper.

Two books I'd nominate right away would be the Daemon and Freedom, by Daniel Suarez.

I'm nominating these books not because they are great works of literature, or because they teach us something profound about the intersection of technology and education. Rather, I think these books are a blast - and I think our colleagues who work in networking, systems, and security would really enjoy them.

The author, Daniel Suarez, spent most of his career as an IT guy. From his website bio: "Daniel Suarez is an independent systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies. He has designed and developed enterprise software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries. An avid gamer and technologist…."

The first book, Daemon, was originally self-published - as the traditional publishers did not know what "genre" the book belonged in. Suarez was able to turn online buzz and blog mentions into a publishing deal. I think that this path to publication makes a great "meta story" around Daemon (and later Freedom), and would contributed to our ed. tech IT discussion.

Both Daemon and Freedom essentially take the perspective of the network specialist / systems engineer to tell a much bigger story about government, privacy, and corporate control. Suarez mixes large scale narratives of technology based economic change and the concentration of corporate ownership with lots of juicy technical ideas and speculations about how the Web is changing social life. It would be really enjoyable to discuss Suarez's ideas with the folks who design our networks, handle our information security (and see the intrusions), and admin our servers and systems.

What books would you recommend that you think may be of interest to across the higher ed IT spectrum?


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