Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: You Are Not A Gadget

I found a few of the ideas in Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget interesting and provocative. Despite that, I can't recommend the book.

The high level goal of Lanier's manifesto is to call into question the unbridled enthusiasm of the Pro-Internet, Web 2.0 movement, without taking the luddite stance that some do when taking issue with the same technology and progress. Lanier believes in technology's power, he just isn't naive enough to think that only good can come of it.

Some of the concerns he raises include whether we should consider the influence that system architectures have upon us and our culture, the cost of software & hardware design lock-in, and whether open source and open content models can innovate as well or in as many ways as traditional methods.

These are all good topics, worthy of discourse. Unfortunately, I found Lanier's screed to be a long-winded ranty and poorly structured attempt at doing so. Your time is better spent reading The Master Switch, or Bill Patry's book for starters.

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