5 digital leaders: what you need to read this Christmas

By Alex Wood 5 December 2017

We asked the experts.

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to upgrade your reading list. Whether you celebrate the festive season or not – there’s no better time to broaden your mind.

To help you plan your next reads, we’ve checked in with the world’s top futurists to find out what’s on their list.



Jeremy Waite

Jeremy Waite is the Global Leader of CMO Programs for IBM and an expert in cognitive technologies. He’s a champion for AI, and helps companies jump on board with the game-changing technology.

Life 3.0: Behind Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark.

By 2020 we will be engaging with bots more than our partners and probably using voice technology instead of screens for many web-based tasks.

This is a superb book about the challenges and opportunities that lie within this exciting new world. It talks about how AI should really be re-framed in marketing circles as IA since it is more of an “intelligent assistant” than an “artificial intelligence”.

So a book like this will help break down some people’s fears, and help them to understand how emerging technologies can help them to do their jobs better and faster.

Follow Jeremy Waite on Twitter.



Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop is a brand innovator whose ideas are constantly changing the game. Her current project,, is a platform for breaking down lofty goals into simple ‘microactions’ to get you on the right path.

The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream by Amy Webb.

I recommend it because it’s an excellent practical guide to separating out the signals from the noise and considering what we want to single out and deploy in order to create the future we want to live in – importantly, through the female lens.

As I like to say, women challenge the status quo because we are never it, and Amy brings a very different perspective to bear versus the bias in publishing towards too many books by white men.

Follow Cindy Gallop on Twitter.



Anne Boden

Anne Boden founded Starling Bank in 2014 and has been disrupting the finance industry ever since. Her company is constantly looking toward the future to see what trends and experiences will be most important to their users.

#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein.

It’s not about marketing per se, but about understanding the influence of social media on society, politics, etc.

We’ve seen social media strike revolutions, from 2010’s Arab Spring to these days’ feminist #MeToo worldwide campaign.

Social Media is no longer a fun pastime, but a serious matter, whether it’s a marketing campaign or political one, they are both actually the same, come to think of it, while Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium Is The Message resonates and reflects everything we do. (Another interesting read).

Follow Anne Boden on Twitter.



Russ Shaw

Russ Shaw founded Tech London Advocates as a way for leaders in the London tech scene to voice their opinions freely, and without barriers. His expert perspectives on technology have not only made him an incredibly successful investor, but also made him an important figure in the field of futurism.  

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti.

I have just finished The New Geography of Jobs, an excellent read that provides an optimistic view of tech as a force for economic good.

Many worry that tech will make most jobs obsolete, but this book demonstrates that innovation hubs are huge job creators, not just in tech but also in related work.

The author demonstrates via research that every new job in an innovation hub creates five additional jobs nearby, and the findings are of great significance as UK cities such as London, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh become an innovation hub.

The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.

Another great read is The New Digital Age. It provides insights from a technologist and an international relations expert into the societies of the future, and the role that technology will play within them.

The book predicted in 2014 things that have since come to pass: weaponised information, calls for companies to take sides in political issues, and the evolution of how privacy is defined between the last generation and the next.

While some would say it is utopian and could be more critical of technology’s threats, I consider it a thought-provoking look at how technology is changing the world and how we can anticipate changes and regulate proactively, something I would like to see politicians do more frequently.

Follow Russ Shaw on Twitter.



Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood founded Unruly in order to shake up the way companies use video advertisements. Using brand new ideas, Wood and her team brought about a new era of digital advertisements that has truly changed the game for good.

Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet? by Jane Gleeson White

I recommend Six Capitals for anyone who believes in the positive potential of business but thinks that capitalism as it currently stands is broken.

The Inevitable: Understanding The Twelve Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly.

I recommend The Inevitable because technological changes are reshaping our lives faster than ever before and we cannot afford to opt out.

Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From The World’s Happiest People by Dan Buettner.

This book is important because depression is a 21st-century pandemic and there’s no point living healthier, wealthier lives if we’re actually more miserable and unhappy.

There are plenty of actionable #HappinessHacks and fundamental insights in this book that could transform your outlook and New Year’s Resolutions for 2018.

Follow Sarah Wood on Twitter.