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An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths Hardcover – March 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595550542
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595550545
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this testament to the power of the little guy, law professor and blogger Reynolds gleefully hails the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class resulting from the democratizing power of technology-the manifestation of his observation that "a society that's rich and free will have citizens who-entirely on their own-develop a wide range of skills." Among the skills he cites are citizen terrorist-busters, hackers and average Joe techies who set up phony jihad sites to foil terrorism in the U.S. Others have taken on big media, forcing newspapers and networks into something "akin to what happened to the Church during the Reformation." Reynolds shows how technology opened up markets to software companies in Poland and to filmmakers and musicians in Africa. Proclaiming good blogging as a combination of "rapid response times" and "personal voice," Reynolds praises the explosion of cyber-self expression, seeing it as yet another way to proliferate information and build knowledge among communities. And while Reynolds may seem naïve in ignoring any potential negatives that could arise from widespread, unmitigated, technology-enabled empowerment and does little to touch upon the ethical implications of the everyman becoming a superman, he brings a contagious sense of optimism to this "new reality."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

George Orwell feared that technology would enable dictators to enslave the masses. Glenn Reynolds shows that technology can empower individuals to determine their own futures and to defeat those who would enslave us. This is a book of profound importance-and also a darn good read.-MICHAEL BARONE, senior writer at U.S. News & World Report and author of Hard America, Soft America 


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Customer Reviews

The book often seems to forget just what it is supposed to be about.
Tim Challies
As an instapundit loyal reader and groupie - this is an outstanding book with an incredibly positive view of an individually powered world.
J. Nagle
It is my hope that the good law professor will some day soon do a new edition to his space law book, however.
Jack Kennedy Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Adam B. Brown on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thematically, there is nothing particularly new here for any regular readers of Instapundit, though this is a magnificent unification of Reynolds' arguments and comments on personal liberation through technology.

For those who do not frequent the blog, this book will be quite a different sort of adventure in the future than is usual: so accustomed I am to panic-mongering and doomsaying with books of this sort (froth-mouthed heralding of global warming, virulent pandemics, all of the "coming storm" offal), that this book and others like it (Ray Kurzweil's Singularity, for instance) are a breath of fresh air. The roles of "Big Business", "Big Media" (including Fox News, my rapacious fellow reviewers), and "Big Government" are reevaluated in the face of currently available technology that distributes power in a dynamic, decentralized order that can potentially revolutionize modern society. This is a future I am captivated by and embrace, thus I heartily recommend this book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Roger N. Overton on August 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Whoever said size matters hasn't read An Army of Davids by Glenn Reynolds, well known in the blogsphere as Instapundit.com. The book is about how individuals, as opposed to large organizations, media, and government, are and will continue to be the primary moving force behind changes journalism, business, technology, space exploration, and overall human advancement.

Composed of twelve chapters, An Army of Davids examines our society from the bottom up. The analysis begins with the growing number of small businesses, specifically work-at-home jobs, in contrast Dilbert type office jobs. Reynolds suggests that this shift will continue and will be beneficial as a crime deterrent and for more stable families. Moving on, Reynolds looks at recent developments in music technology, the war on terror, and media as instances of individuals becoming more powerful and important.

After a brief interlude on good blogging, Reynolds continues by making the case that war video games have become the best educational tool for military history and tactics. He then moves on to discuss the possibilities available from the development of nano and age-prolonging technologies. The final chapters explore our potential for space exploration and reaching "singularity." Singularity, I think, refers to the point in time where technological advancement occurs beyond the grasp of human intelligence.

While an Army of Davids has much to offer, it also has a few problems. For one, the discussion of singularity went mostly over my head, and I think that's mostly because I couldn't find a clear definition in the book that could help make sense of the discussion.
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79 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I was younger, I had a friend who seemed to live somewhere in a grey area between reality and fantasy. He was able to deal with reality for periods, but would always slip back into strange little fantasies where he was a ninja or an elf warrior or something else equally strange. He and I would go to the park to practice golfing, but inevitably the golf club in his hand would become a sword and he would want to begin sword-fighting with me. He developed a near-obsession with fantasy books and games, science fiction and the like. The cover of every book he owned featured either a picture of spaceship or a warrior holding some ridiculously large weapon. As I read An Army of Davids I continued to conjure up memories of this friend.

Glenn Reynolds is best known as being the "Instapundit." His blog makes just about every other blog in the world look miniscule in comparison. His site gets more readers in a day than many blogs get in a decade. Just about every blogger dreams of someday having the audience and influence of the Instapundit. Most never will.

In some ways, Reynolds is the ultimate "little guy." Or that is how he started out, in any case. He represents a new breed of reporter who has arisen to challenge the mainstream media. With little more than a web site built upon free software and a desire to share what his interest in current events, he has become extraordinarily widely-read and influential. It was no great surprise, then, to learn that he had written a book that would seek to explain "how markets and technology empower ordinary people to beat big media, big government and other Goliaths." There are few people more qualified to join this discussion.

I was expecting a book about blogging and the power of new media.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jack Kennedy Jr. on January 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An Army of Davis provides the reader insight into the future. I was drawn to the book by reading the UT law professor's wonderfully detailed book on space law. This book devotes a chapter to space but it is much more rounded in its approach to technology and society. It was a fun and easy yet worthwhile read. It is my hope that the good law professor will some day soon do a new edition to his space law book, however. In the meanwhile, this book is worth the money and the time.
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130 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Britt Gillette on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The story of David and Goliath has survived the centuries and remains an inspiration to this day. But how exactly did David defeat Goliath? He did so with leverage. More specifically, with the leverage of technology. It was the technology of the slingshot that evened the playing field between the giant warrior Goliath and the undersized peasant boy David.

In his new book, An Army Of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths (Nelson Current, 2006), successful blogger Glenn Reynolds (otherwise know as Instapundit) lays out a convincing case for the transformative effect of today's technology and the technologies to come. The publishing ease and worldwide reach of the Internet has put individuals in head to head competition with metropolitan newspapers. Thus, the phenomenon known as "the blogosphere".

But are blogs the end of the road or just the beginning? Reynolds portends that new technologies will spread the benefits of a captalist marketplace through the increased freedom and entrepreneurism endemic to emerging technologies. The new landscape will enable individuals and small nible organizations to compete with large bureaucracies and stogy old corporate empires. To a certain extent we've witnessed this effect in the likes of Microsoft taking on IBM and the blogosphere taking on Dan Rather and CBS news.

However, Reynolds argues that the future will offer more advantages and greater opportunity for enterprising individuals than ever before. Let's hope he's right, because nothing could be more desirable for the human condition than to witness individuals gaining greater freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility to administer their own affairs as they see fit...

Britt Gillette
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