I liked this book. I liked it a lot more than I thought I should have, given what it was about.
Yeah, the internet has changed things, blah blah blah. Somehow, though, this book manages to really nail down how and why the internet and social media is changing things, beyond the surface level.
What is it that makes people engage with the internet so much, and just what can people accomplish when they use their "cognitive surplus" to accomplish something using new media tools? This book discusses the answers to this question.
I'll start off with the good stuff- this story is fun and entertaining, and certainly interesting. It starts off as a murder mystery and then grows from there into a great cyber-tech-based thriller. It brings in game technology, computer technology, and network technology, and it feels a bit like nouveau-cyberpunk.
The plot doesn't quite go where I expected, but in a good way. The book doesn't just fall into the trappings of good guy v. bad guy, there are a number of twists and turns that I did not expect and that I did not see coming.
The book leaves the end dangling, think of the end to "Fellowship of the Ring" and you got it. Be warned - if you like this book, you will be buying the sequel, "Freedom (TM)".
Now the bad stuff- The writing is not great. It tells the story, but feels forced at times. It seems like it *tries* to be creative and descriptive, instead of just being creative and descriptive.
The women in his story seem like they were written by a 15 year old, as do the few sexual scenes in the book.
The depiction of women is just the worst case of a general 2-dimensionality to all the characters. They all seem like caricatures of themselves, though this might be due to the narration.
The narration- each character's voice is acted out by the voice actor, which makes it easier to tell which character is talking, but it brought me out of the story at times. Young guys sound like frat boy bros, and women sound like a guy dressed up as a woman on Halloween as a joke. The "hard boiled" detective has a batmanesque growl to his voice, and the big, black, former drug kingpin sounds like the old spice guy.
I am not sure if it was the voice acting, the writing, or a combination of the two that made the characters sound flat to me.
All this said, I did enjoy the book, and I will be getting the sequel. Like I said, the story is entertaining.
I got this book on a whim, a friend of mine had mentioned it during a long discussion about how being sociopaths probably succeed more in business. I don't know how we got to discussing that..
Anyway. Back to this book.
Temple Grandin clearly and eloquently describes what it is like to be autistic, and how her mind works. She is able to describe it well enough that I feel like I can fairly well wrap my head around autism, and what it must be like.
I always wondered if I was a little aspergerish, but after I read this book, I realized that I'm not. I'm just anti-social and introverted. Not all the time though, don't worry. I can still party like a rockstar.
The latter half of this book gets pretty technical, and starts to talk about autism, various treatments, education, upbringing, etc. It seems a bit like an owner's manual for autism, which isn't as interesting to me, which is why I knocked it down a star.
The first part of this book, however, is fantastic, and if you are at all interested in finding out what it is like to experience the world with autism, check out this book.
I enjoyed Chip and Dan Heath's earlier book, "Made to Stick", so when the president of my company recommended this book on his blog I decided to give it a shot.
The subject matter is fascinating - what makes people change? How do we change our habits, routines, and personalities? Changing is quite possibly the hardest thing a person can do, and this book talks about how that is done.
The reason I didn't *love* this book is that it discusses ways to change in really anecdotal ways, some of the stories illustrate their point well, others only marginally so.
This is certainly not a "how to" book, though you can gather some ideas about how to apply the things they talk about, if you take a few minutes to ponder it.
I was expecting, or hoping, for more "how to" out of this book, but instead got a lot more "stories of change".
I thought this book was gonna be more "here's how the system was worked by rich dudes to transfer wealth and power to the banking elite", but it was more "everything is part of an orchestrated plan to gain total power and enslave the human race by the global elite".
It gets a bit nutso.
It starts out normal enough, talking about the Fed and our current financial credit disaster. Yes, central banking with a fiat currency results in inflation, which is a mechanism to transfer wealth. Rich people work to get richer.
Then it gets into medicine, and how we are all injected with undetectable viruses, and fluoride in the tap water is a mind control device, and the cancer cure exists, but the global elite keep it secret to use on themselves. Hmmm..
There was some good ol' Obama bashing, which I appreciate, since I don't really get a whole lot of it here in San Frantastic. This book, however, will have you conclude that he is not really just another crummy politician, he is part of the vast conspiracy to rule and enslave the world, perpetrated by the global elite.
When he got to chemtrails, this book lost all credibility to me.
So anyway. I was hoping this book would be well thought out, thought provoking and interesting. Instead it was severely one-sided, made use of backwards logic, used out-of-context quotes, and put forth social and political shortcomings as "proof" that there is a vast conspiracy. This is definitely not a book for the intelligent, thinking skeptic that sees more than one side to an issue.
This book makes great observations about problems in our society, but makes far-flung, conspiratorial conclusions, instead of analyzing the issues realistically.
The last part of the book, about guns, was neat though. I like guns, so I guess I'll keep my Beretta handy when the shock troopers of the global elite come knocking at my door to inject me with a microchip and send me to a concentration camp.
When I was told by a number of friends that I should have read "Ender's Game" by this point in my life, I was also told I should then read "Ender's Shadow". If you liked "Ender's Game", you will like this book. If you haven't read Ender's Game, I recommend you read that before this book. I was thoroughly entertained. 5 entertaimos.
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