This book is a well calibrated compilation of historical facts and opinions, in a way that is rare to find elsewhere.
The narration is very good, with good impressions of characters depicted in the story, so we're clearly aware of quotations when the come along.
As to the book's content, we should put aside the fact that any storytelling (or any history-telling for that matter) is always biased. Even so, if as much as half of what is in the book is true, the world of communication and the internet revolution that everyone brags about is indeed very different than you might have thought.
The author's take on this subject sheds light on historical patterns that we tend to forget.
It's an amazing reading for those interested in the matters of business and communications!
this book chronicles the rise of telephones, movies, cable tv and the internet. In the later parts, it gets into the wars between microsoft and apple and google and everyone else. It's quite amazing to see the screen ripped off your computer and know what is really going on with the powerstruggle for net dominance. This book seriously has me at least questioning if I will purchase an Iphone. The decision is not as simple as it would have been before I read this. And... well... the book is pretty well narrated, too!
i drive a truck on the night shift. i love hearing interesting stories, i need some action to keep me awake :)
the economic history of the media and telecommunications industry also the authors thoughts on apple and google.
the narrator was fine, the story just got boring to me about half way through. sorry i am not that academic.
not a character so much but at times the author would write from wildly idealistic perspectives, then when those did not pan out use them to juxtapose the reality of the situation. i thought is was a weird lens to see the past and future.
The narrator did a decent job of making the stories interesting and listenable. Had good inflection and did not take things overboard
I have read alot of history, and would say that the way the stories were told were engaging, relevant, and made me think about it days after I read it.
Stuck to reading the script at hand, and did a good job at that.
It is broken down into different eras and technologies. So it is easy to digest in parts.
But I did enjoy listening to it, and changed plans to finish it.
This is a brilliant book that encompasses history, law, and technology in an accessible and fascinating way. Wu's argument is that all new communications technology in the 20th century--telephone, motion pictures, radio, broadcast television, and cable television--went through the same cycle: when first introduced, it was widely and easily accessible to all and was hailed as something that would change the world, but later was bought up and controlled by big corporations that limited the freedom of speech of those who used it. He predicts that the same thing will happen to the Internet unless we take action to prevent it. I don't think his proposed solution will work, but his book was eye-opening to me about the past, present, and future. Reading this from a printed volume might be challenging, but when it's experienced as an audiobook, you can't tear yourself away. Top marks in every category.
Very long and dry, however gained many insights. He describes the history of how radio, film, television and telecommunications all started out full of hope and openness with many players only to grow into a closed monopoly of a few until a disruptive technology comes along to change everything. He outlines many ways monopolies and government regulations negatively affected innovation and free enterprise. He then applies the past patterns to the internet. Worth reading for it exposes the darker side of these industries, however almost didn't finish it due to it being so dry.
Amazing look at the repeating patterns of communications industry emergence and decline. Real inside stories of the people and processes behind the telephone, movie and internet worlds and the incredible commonalities between them.
Computational cognition, ethics, transhumanism, etc.
Excellent story telling. Compelling history & topic selection. Clear legacy of infamy articulated.
Most of it: stories of little guys getting crushed, simple people being bullied, basic freedoms destroyed...
Very interesting historical account of information monopolies including telecom, the movie studios, FM radio, TV and the internet. How oligarchies and the government have historically stifled competition and fought for control, often playing dirty pool.
Lone inventors of game changing technologies are profiled.
The last section of book focuses on the internet and how it may have created a different dynamic/cycle.
Missing is the role of VC's and investors in this new model and how they help the inventors and small companies from getting crushed by the oligarchies. A major oversight in my opinion.
What starts as good history, fact, and analysis of information in predominantly 20th century America devolves into a dogmatic prescription and warning for the information future.
As the book moves closer to the present, the lack of outcomes lead increasingly to speculation and idealism. And even within the history, the author's inclinations weigh unnecessarily on the analysis. The history of monopoly, corporate control, and wealth as societal quandary extends beyons information, and is the heart of any history of power and control. A broader look at world history may have helped provide more context and depth.
Monopoly or free markets do not seem to me themselves guarantee better, fairer access or better pricing for that matter. Healthcare, finance, education are areas where free markets and government control have not insured fair access or satisfactory outcomes.
This has as much to say about society as it does governments and corporations. The fact is we struggle as a nation and world to define and balance fairness and freedom. Unregulated economies can lead to natural monopoly. Regulated ones can too. Monopolies can provide benevolent efficiencies just as dictatorship. And free markets and democracy can restrict personal freedoms and the wellbeing of minorities and the disadvantaged.
Societies swing between degrees of freedom, distribution of power, and the public welfare. That is the cycle. And it would seem to me finding a middle way - between war, tyranny of the few and majority, and failures of the collective, would be in order. That is vastly more complicated and less succinct, thus surely unlikely in the end. So let the cycle continue until it can no longer.