59 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Old elites beware! Your time is up! Become the new elite today! That's the message of this intriguing, fascinating, and thought-provoking look at what's already happened on the Internet.
I not only thought that this is the best book about the social effects of the Internet, I also think it is by far Michael Lewis's best work.
This book deserves many more than five stars as a result.
The original idea was simple. There are all of these people making a big splash on the Internet as individuals. Let's go meet them in person and find out what's really going on. Believe me, it's different from what you read in the newspapers or saw on television. With the aid of a researching crew from the BBC, Mr. Lewis found that the cutting edge of the Internet revolution was going on with 11-14 year olds. Soon, it will probably drift lower in age.
Because the Internet lets you play on a equal footing and assume any identity you choose, youngsters with guts and quick minds can take on major roles. Usually, their parents have no clue until adults or major authority figures start arriving on their doorstep challenging what the youngster is doing or seeking personal advice.
The core of the book revolves around the stories of Jonathan Lebed who used chat room commentaries to help drive his $8,000 stake into over $800,000 in less than three years, Marcus in Perris, California who became Askme.com's leading criminal law expert based on his watching of court TV shows, and Justin Frankel who became an important developer of Gnutella for filesharing while having trouble getting an education in school.
Mr. Lewis makes the point that these youngsters weren't doing anything that their elders don't do in other forums. Yet the established authorities deeply resented and challenged them. Mr. Lewis suggests that the old elites "get a life." Their day is over. He uses the analogy of his father's refusal to adapt his law practice to the methods of personal injury lawyers using billboards and television ads to show this is how the existing elites always respond . . . by condemning and trying to ignore the new.
At the same time, Mr. Lewis raises several important questions that will stay with you. After having been king of the hill for your 15 minutes of fame at 15, how will you feel about the rest of your life as an also-ran? His portrayal of Danny Hillis's project to create the 10,000 year clock captures that point very well. He also lampoons Bill Joy's arguments that the Unabomber had it right that we (the existing elites) need to constrain technology.
The basic point is that economic and social effectiveness will rest on the foundation of how effective you can be rather than who you are, what degrees you have, what age you are, or who you know. In other words, the Internet has added another degree of leveling to our society. Surely, that's good.
I'm a little more optimistic than Mr. Lewis about the implications. I think that many people will find the lower barriers to entry provide them the chance to develop themselves more than would otherwise happen. What they learn as youngsters can be used in new ways on broader canvases later in life. For example, Jonathan will probably become a great marketing guru. Marcus has the seeds of a marvelous counselor, attorney, or columnist in him. Justin will probably create masterful new software structures that will make sharing easier and more effective. Those are potentially beautiful futures for these young men.
Child prodigies have always been with us. The lessons for those based in the Internet will be the same as for those who did it in music or the motion pictures. You have to keep developing yourself, have sound values, and prepare for an adult role that you enjoy and are good at. I do feel for the parents of these young people. They are the ones with the big challenge!
After you finish enjoying this wonderful book, I suggest that you think about where you can pursue lifelong interests on the Internet! You can go back to being 11 again, too!
Log on and have a ball!
30 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
"Next" is an exercise in technoeuphoria---the Internet changes everything and the kids are leading the way. In trying to make his point, Lewis takes anecdotes and individual examples and claims that they present the whole picture. It really seems that he has not got outside the reality distortion field that helped to create the Internet bubble that has burst with such devastating effects. The technology, of course, is here to stay but it may be more evolutionary in its impact at this point than revolutionary.
Jon Katz, a technophile who writes for Slashdot, would seem to agree that Lewis has gone over the top in this one. In his recent review of the book in the Wall Street Journal, Katz writes: "Partway through "Next," I grew uncomfortable with Mr. Lewis's familiar absolutist fervor. The popular media have always tended to portray digital culture in binary terms of alarm (pornographers, hackers, thieves) or of hype (everything will change forever). Mr. Lewis seems to be falling into the latter trap. For all his skill and confidence, he's bought into the heavy breathing about technology and its impact on society."
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Carl A. Redman
- Publié sur Amazon.com
In "Next: The future just happened," Michael Lewis opens by stating that in the long run the Internet will become invisible and ubiquituous and no one will think of the social effects anymore than they think of the social effects of electricity. This is a rather obvious statement if one thinks about it: the reason that electricity has had zero social effect on me is because it has been a part of every facet of my life for my entire life. This is the idea that Lewis sets out to explore through stories that he has investigated. The stories are quite interesting, but are not interestng enough to make this book worth the read.
The first chapter, entitled "The Financial Revolt," tells the fascinating story of Jonathan Lebed in great detail. The story stretches for the entire eighty-page chapter and relays the inside scoop on the 15-year old kid that made $800,000 by going into chat rooms and giving financial advice. Lewis's analysis of the Lebed story is that stock prices respond to the public's perspective. Lewis also hints at what might be the future of the stock market: millions of small investors plugging becoming in essence professional analysts, generating little explosions of unreality in every corner of the capital markets. But Lewis fails to further explore this idea, providing many pages of story, but no bang to back it up.
The book follows the pattern of the first chapter: a long, very detailed, interesting story with very little analysis. But the book is only four chapters, so really you're only getting four stories. Marcus Arnold and his rise in legal advice on AskMe.com is discussed in chapter two, Lewis's point being that if one reduces the law to information then anyone can supply it. Sounds like Will Hunting's claim that anyone can get an education with a library card and $1.35 in late fees. In chapter three, kid-whiz Daniel Sheldon and file sharing application Gnutella are explored. Lewis's major point through these three stories and chapters is that the Internet undermined all the old sources of insider power: control of distribution channels, intellectual property, and information. Chapter 4 is about the effect of TiVo and Knowledge Networks on opinion surveys and advertising. This is the least interesting chapter and Lewis is at his lowest in analysis.
In the final chapter, Lewis explains that he has interviewed and explored many more people and stories, but selected only a few to tell that fairly represented the whole. Perhaps Lewis should have just told all of the stories in brief, because then the reader would have been left with a bunch of stories to draw conclusions from, instead of just four or five like there are now. Lewis closes his book with a quote from Leded: "I feel that it is very important to focus on the future right now." Lewis's closing remarks are icing on the cake for the breakdown and in depth explanation he misses throughout the book.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is NOT one of those tedious and hyperventilating books pompously declaring that the Internet has made all human knowledge before 1996 obsolete. Aren't we thankful for that? I know I am.
This delightful book insightfully reports some of the ways our world culture is changed and re-ordered because of the way the Internet has flattened the structure and availability of information. Mr. Lewis uses the image of a pancake versus a pyramid. That is, through the web anyone can be an expert and everyone can communicate with everyone else. Privileged positions are evaporated. As he illustrates with several of his vignettes, not only does no one on the Internet know you are a dog, they don't know that the stock trader or the person dispensing legal advice or social theory is a fourteen or fifteen year old typing away from some nook in his parents' house.
Mr. Lewis digs deeper than most and his writing has color and bite that is often laugh out loud funny and makes his points vividly. For example, he digs out the facts and tells a more complete version of the teenage stock trader who was forced by the SEC to pay a quarter of a million dollar fine. By interviewing Lebed's parents, his accusers at the SEC, and the wunderkind's teenage fellow traders, the author let's us see how the adults flounder in trying to understand what is happening to their world and how the youngsters breath this stuff so naturally they don't even see the revolution they are waging.
I think Mr. Lewis's point that the kid wasn't doing anything actually malicious is spot on and that the real "crime" is that he was using all of the tools available to him more proficiently than the old elite.
While I enjoyed every story in the book, the bit about the 10,000 year clock and the Long Now Foundation was particularly and disturbingly funny. We are shown a bunch of rich over-achievers going through their mid-life crisis by engaging in a bunch of self-important pseudo-intellectual analysis (for example, Stonehenge is a failed monument!). I won't reveal Mr. Lewis's punch line to this bit, but it is terrific.
This is no alarmist piece and there are few bold predictions of the future (except around TiVo and television of the future) and that is wonderfully refreshing after so many years of fully amped hype around the frictionless future. What we do get is a tour around the way some wonderfully creative outsiders have faced necessity in their lives and used some inexpensive tools to invert their station in life.
This is great stuff that is worth reading more than once and thinking about very carefully.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I understand the temptation. The Big Story of the early 1990s was the stock market, and that is the story that writer Michael Lewis rode to fame. And the Big Story in the late 1990s was technology, and so Lewis tried to do ride it this time. His efforts, to be frank, have been patchy at best.
Unlike in politics and the stock market, where Lewis's insights are canny and spot-on, in technology he is all-too-often just another mouth-breathing naif, wheezing away about some new gee-whiz bit of technology being promoted by twenty-somethings in Palo Alto.
What's worse, this book isn't really a book at all. Instead, it's a collection of article Lewis wrote for varous publications, supposedly, as he told on interviewer, to pay for some renovations he and his wife were having done on their San Francisco home.
This book reads like something written to pay for renovations. It is workmanlike, at best, with none of the sparkle and gitchy-goo wordplay of Lewis's best work. Matter of fact, it is often boring -- and I never thought I'd say that about anything Mike Lewis wrote.
Avoid -- unless you can't find the articles online in the NY Times Magazine archives.