The first part explains the Law of Accelerating Returns, discusses the idea of an intelligence (us) creating a greater intelligence (computers), and how a machine would deal with ambiguities of language (there are at least four ways of interpreting the sentence "time flies like an arrow", laid out in the book). The second part deals with preparing the present, and discusses different ways of building brains (and uploading already-built brains to another substrate). The third part is a journey through the twenty-first century, with stops for snapshots at 2009, 2019, 2029, and 2099. At the end of each chapter is an imaginary talk with an imaginary reader, Molly, which helps explain things.
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age[permalink]
This book is a collection of essays from Paul Graham, most of which can be found on his web site (with the exceptions of Good Bad Attitude, Mind the Gap, Programming Languages Explained, and The Dream Language). The essays deal with the hacker culture, startups, and how to make good things.