|Engines of Creation|
Recommended by Eliezer Yudkowsky (see below).
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Books of knowledgeEdit
Before Great Mambo Chicken, there was Engines of Creation, the book in which Eric Drexler deliberately and calculatedly set out to create the multi-million-dollar nanotechnology research efforts we know today, and the zillion-dollar nanotechnology industry of tomorrow. His was the stroke of genius. He invented the phrase. He did the homework. He projected the results. He wrote the book. He created the industry. Every time you hear the word "nanotechnology" used today, every time you read about it in Time Magazine or Business Week, it's because Eric Drexler decided to make it happen.
And this is the book that started it all.
(If you want the technical stuff, see Dr. Drexler's Nanosystems, published years later. Engines is the futurist's version, from before there was the technical stuff.)