I struggled through "The Cult of the Amateur" for a variety of different reasons, but what sticks with me most vividly is the overwhelming feeling that the author had an alternate agenda - as if at some point I would become a part of a sophisticated infomercial for some far away product. Fortunately, that was not the case, but the struggle to get through it was no less painful.
At the end of the whole thing I found myself wondering what the point was - knowing because it had been pounded into me throughout the story - and not believing that there's anything wrong with the "amateur" challenging the common professional or even the "expert" that might know what he's read or learned in years of experience. I believe, as most Internet people probably do, that sometimes the expert doesn't know what's best and the "amateur" will come up with the next best thing and/or the right idea. The author's hypothesis was quite a bit different, suggesting that the amateur is taking over and that the power is nearly destroying what we know as expert opinion and knowledge. Quite different from how I and most of my peers view things.
Hope that helps for those of you considering this book - perhaps enough to save your credits and wait for it to hit the sale rack.
Summary: good not great. I really enjoyed some parts of Freakonomics, and believe that the authors were on the right track. Unfortunately, for me, they got lost in the value of a name for too long without focusing on the other pieces that made this book exciting - such as their analysis of why swimming pools are more dangerous for children then guns. It's something we all likely know, but the immediate damage of firearms is more feared then the known threat of pools. Interesting.
Good, not great, but worth a listen.
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