Thought it would be boring and the cover is sort of ugly. But if you want scholarly insight into why people think their telecom/cable service is such a hot mess and if you wanna peek into all the power plays behind the scenes in the telecom/tech world you gotta listen to this book.
I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
This is a really interesting book that chronicles the rise of various information technologies, starting with the telephone and ending with the Internet. Wu presents a strong argument that information technologies tend to start free and then wind up being controlled by monopolies, the government, or a combination. His discussion of how AT&T suppressed important technological developments (such as the answering machine) for decades is both fascinating and a bit depressing. The same thing happened to FM radio and other technologies. So far, the Internet has been different, but the Obama administration has just announced plans to regulate it. So, despite Wu's hope that this time might be different, it looks like the cycle is on the verge of repeating.
There's a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes, but sometimes the author gets a little preachy and long-winded and I found myself just wishing he would get on with it.
Great book! Would recommend it to anyone who's interested in learning about the history of information exchange in the US.
Probably not, as he seemed to turn a straightforward analysis of monopolies and innovation into a super long history of everything from the film Heaven's Gate to education switchboard operators had in the early 1900s. Ughh.
Cut each chapter's content by 50-75%. The entire book should have been about 7 hrs. max.
Yeah, because his monotone voice seemed to drag the overly detailed histories to seem even longer than they were written. To be fair, there isn't much anyone could do with the material.
No way - unless some company wants to fund a 22 part series with each part being 2-3 hrs., I don't see this info translating to TV at all. Information overload.
This is a good example of a book with an interesting premise purposely made longer for the sake of pleasing a publisher and/or writer's ego. I didn't need to know the detail of every word mentioned, nor was 95% of it even relevant to the topics being discussed. Instead of focusing on modern day things the vast majority of the book is stuck in the late 1800s/early 1900s and only the last few chapters deal with the internet. Microsoft is omitted almost entirely, while glowing praise for Apple and Google gushes from the author far too much. The final chapter is one giant opinion and rambles on from one "point" to another with no clear end in sight. It's not a 2-star book, but it came close. I regret listening to it.
No "performance" from the narrator on a non fiction book
No but I wish there was some info presented on the site to indicate when the narrator chooses to use voices and accents
As long as he wasn't trying to do different voices or accents
Just the narrators interpretations of the people in the book
I understand when narrating a story/fiction how the person reading the book would be compelled to create character voices or accents. However these business/history books are so difficult to listen to with the distraction of strange accents and character voices coming out of nowhere
Lots of twentieth-century technological/corporate history, convincingly presented as relevant to modern policy.
No. The reading is full of false gravity, which he breaks out of only to half-attempt voices for the quotations, including such watery gems as fake german, fake french, old-timey, fancy old-timey, and presidential. It's ridiculous and distracting. Even worse, he shows no understanding of the text, emphasizing inconsequential words and reading asides with the same ponderousness as the main text.
This is why I love Non-Fiction. I had not heard of Tim Wu, but then I am not in the IT or media business. This was a unique 'documentary' (with a slight slant). He enlightened me on the guiding hands behind the 'gentle' media that molded many of us that are over 40. It is a thorough review of how telephony, radio, hollywood, TV came to be what the they were in the 1900's through benevolent (mostly) monopolistic czars. Tim also connects the dots on some amazing possible historical connections such as Nixon's support of cable TV. He is careful to qualify his connections, but the puzzle provides an eye opening analysis of Government influence in the media industry. I found it extremely interesting because of the lack of exposure I have had to this industry. He also treats us to more more fascinating ideas on the internet and the industry in the 2000's. Marc Vietor was also a pleasure to listen to as he almost sounded like and old AM radio announcer at times. I hope Tim has more up his slieve as I certainly want to hear more.