Digital Maoists

A nice review by Tara Brabazon in last week’s Times Higher of a new book:
You are not a gadget by Jaron Lanier. Published by Allen Lane, 2010. ISBN 9781846143410 (See it on Amazon UK or Amazon US which also has an interview with Lanier.)
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The book is a critique of Web 2.0 and its effect on creativity, leaving us with a “culture of reaction without action” (a bit like me writing a blog post about a review of a book rather than thinking up my own idea for a blog post!). He says “You have to be somebody before you can share yourself”. Lanier derides what he calls the “Digital Maoists” – those in favour of Open Culture, Creative Commons, Linux and the like.
Judging by the review it is a lively book that readers will either love or hate. Tara Brabazon suggests that he has a done a good job in writing an entertaining book and in stimulating us to think about our current digital culture, but she suggests that he should have paid more attention to the world of education, and highlights some parts where Lanier descends to “unreconstructed hippy 1.0”.
I don’t have the book myself yet but, using Amazon’s “search inside” feature, I can see that science does get a few mentions so I think it’s worth a look for anyone interested in Web 2.0 and where we going with it. One review on the US Amazon site suggests that this book “is destined to become a cultural icon in the future”.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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4 Responses to Digital Maoists

  1. Bob O'Hara says:

    Hmmm. I guess I should blog about this post too.

  2. Matt Brown says:

    We tweeted it.

  3. Mike Fowler says:

    Is it only available as an e-book, or can I find it in a little, red, book format?

  4. Frank Norman says:

    Mike, it is available as a physical book, though not with a red cover I don’t think.
    Matt- thanks for the tweet!

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