The Boost (Tor Books, 2014)
“Baker has written a true delight of a techno-thriller that has deep, dark roots in the present…. [His] characters are memorable and wickedly fun.” —Kirkus Reviews
“His tale is rendered in light, easy, smooth prose which walks the tragicomic tightrope brilliantly and deftly.” —Locus Magazine
Final Jeopardy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)
“Like Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine, Baker’s book finds us at the dawn of a singularity. It’s an excellent case study, and does good double duty as a Philip K. Dick scenario, too.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Like a cross between Born Yesterday and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Baker’s narrative is both . . . an entertaining romp through the field of artificial intelligence—and a sobering glimpse of things to come.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Dark Site (Kindle book, 2018)
Washington, 2043. A 16-year-old girl named Alissa is the first kid in the city with a cognitive brain implant. She gets into all kinds of trouble. The book is a prequel to The Boost, which takes place 29 years later, at a time when cognitive implants are the norm (and those without them are considered ‘wild’).
Alissa encounters Dark Sites:
“It used to be that we had prisons, and if you were a criminal, that’s where you went. Everyone else was free (at least once we were done with slavery). A Dark Site is sort of a middle ground. You don’t have to be a criminal to go there, but you’ve probably done something wrong. Or maybe they think you’re going to do something wrong. So they hold you there. And if they think you’re dangerous, it could be forever…”
The Numerati (Houghton-Mifflin, 2008)
Following a 2006 BusinessWeek cover story, this is about the advent of Big Data, and how all of us will be modeled and optimized as patients, consumers, workers, potential terrorists, and even lovers.
Publisher’s Weekly calls it “An intriguing but disquieting look at a not too distant future when our thoughts will remain private, but computers will disclose our tastes, opinions, habits and quirks to curious parties, not all of whom have our best interests at heart.”
“Stephen Baker artfully conjures up vivid images to explain what he’s talking about and why a reader should care.”– The Christian Science Monitor
Hop Skip Go (Harper Collins, 2019)
I researched and wrote this book in 2018, working with my former BusinessWeek colleague John Rossant. It took me to China, Finland, Dubai, Detroit, and lots of other places.
Hop, Skip, Go is about us: billions of people on the move. Underlying each stage of mobility, from foot to horse to cars and jets, are the mathematics of three fundamental variables: time, space and money….The coming mobility revolution will be no different. This book explores how these changes might revamp our conception of global geography, the hours in our days, and where in the world we might be able to go.
Where Does it Hurt (Penguin Portfolio, 2014)
Written with Jonathan Bush, co-founder of athenahealth, in 2014. This one gave me a wonderful introduction into American health care (which occasionally made me a little sick). Fun project, though. It reached #7 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Atul Gawande wrote: “[A]long the way you’ll learn more about the real world of how health care works than should be possible for a book this interesting.”
The Science of Dream Teams (McGraw-Hill, 2021)
Written with Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, near Boston. It reached #2 on the Wall Street Journal’s Business Bestseller list in July, 2021
How do you find the perfect person for the job in a stack of hundreds of resumes? Why do some teams succeed while others—made up of equally talented people—stumble? If the quality of your workforce is your company’s most important asset, then why are your managers still basing these critical decisions primarily on interviews and their gut instincts?
In The Science of Dream Teams, Mike Zani details a data-driven approach to talent optimization that makes hiring, motivating, and managing people more efficient and effective than ever.
The Shame Machine, by Cathy O’Neil, with Stephen Baker (Penguin Random House, 2022)
During the first year of Covid, I had the privilege of working on two writing projects, the Dream Teams book (below) and this one on Shame, by Cathy O’Neil. I’d previously worked with Cathy on Weapons of Math Destruction, her bestselling treatise on poisonous algorithms. Basically, it was like writing the dark side that I’d left out of The Numerati. (I would have included it, of course, if I’d seen what was afoot.) Cathy and I worked with the same ace who had edited my previous books, Amanda Cook. She, along with Katie Berry, also edited The Shame Machine.
The book is on sale as of March, 2022.
The Numerati was translated into some 20 languages. I think the prettiest among them was the paperback in Japan.