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Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change Paperback – March 22, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1576753705 ISBN-10: 1576753700
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for those who think the Internet changes everything." -- Bob Frankston, VisiCalc developer and computer industry pioneer

About the Author

Bob Seidensticker is a successful writer who graduated from MIT and then spent 25 years in the technology industry, including an 8-year stint at Microsoft as a project manager. He resigned from Microsoft in 1997 to write software as an independent developer and to pursue a writing career.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (March 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753705
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Byron C. Justice on September 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
As an audio specialist these last 30 years, I've seen my share of technology hype. Even though history is littered from horizon to horizon with inflated expectations, broken promises, unfounded predictions, and a few outright lies, I'm always amazed at how easily people are goaded into throwing down their credit card for the latest tech toys. Of course, this book reaffirms that which I already know--technology for its own sake may be cool, but has no other benefits. I was predisposed to enjoy this book, and I wasn't disappointed. The guy who should read this book is the same guy who replaced his Beta tape library with LaserDiscs.

Seidensticker writes in a very anecdotal style. The layout is clean and inviting to the eyes. It is extremely well organized and edited. What makes FUTURE HYPE so much fun is all of the neat little quotes and factoids, some of which are pretty humorous when read in our modern context. An appendix lists sources for material on the subject worth looking into.

Reading this book gives one the long view, and puts current trends in their proper perspective. I sure wish our government and our school district would read it, because what scares me is that we are being forced to buy into technology that actually lowers productivity or has costs disproportionate to its benefits. For instance, our switch to HDTV has been LEGISLATED, because it didn't win over the marketplace overnight as some hoped it would. School students are REQUIRED to use computers to do assignments which can be done faster with a book, pen, and paper. FUTURE HYPE advocates adopting technologies according to their benefit.

Protect yourself. Read this book before the hype seduces you!

Byron C. Justice, author of "Violent Night"
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Format: Paperback
Future Hype: The Myths Of Technology Change by Bob Seidensticker (a 25 year veteran of the technology industry and holder of thirteen software patents) is an iconoclastic collection of "insider insights" debunking common misconceptions about the role, function, and progress of technology. Providing readers with wealth of useful data and often surprising information, Future Hype reveals nine technological myths including: the disproval of the rate change is not exponential; important new products do not arrive any faster then they ever have; the analytical perspective that the internet doesn't really change everything; and more interesting and documented observations. Future Hype is very strongly recommended reading for students of science and technology, popular culture and contemporary sociology, as well as non-specialist general readers interested in the impact of technology on their lives, their communities, and their future.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian on April 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
The people of every period in history tend to think that the time in which they live is somehow special: dramatically better than, or worse than, or in some way fundamentally different from all the times that came before. (And/or the people of today are *themselves* somehow different from the people of yesterday.) Historians these days are digging past these commonly held ideas and finding that the "truth" (as near as one can approach it) is not that simple; things do change, but there's also a lot of continuity through history--which is often the more surprising story. One of the things I like so much about Future Hype is that, although it isn't a history book and *certainly* isn't an academic book, it shares a similar sensibility and a similar conception of historical change: that change (technological and social change, in this case) is usually not catastrophic or revolutionary (or "exponential"), and that our own place in history is not all that privileged, after all.

So this was obviously a book whose message I was already willing to receive; yet I feel I learned a lot from it. The author presents a model of historical (technological/social) change that is complex enough to be believable and simple enough to be understandable. It also has made me much more aware of the prevalence of "future hype" in many areas of life. One area in which that hype really thrives, of course, is advertising. The author's overall argument, I think, encourages people to be skeptical of advertisers' claims, and in many ways he really is encouraging (most) people *not* to buy the latest gadgets. Let the early adopters adopt the fancy new toy, he says, and even when it does eventually become "tried and true," ask yourself whether you really need it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By KR on April 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
For those of you who have been worried that despite your best efforts (or because of them) technology is leaving you in the dust, Future Hype is a breath of fresh air. Seidensticker maintains that the pace of technology change today is not any faster than it has been for centuries. Packed with enough historical details to merit its own version of Trivial Pursuit, Future Hype challenges some of the cherished myths of technology change, seeking to replace them with a clear-eyed look at the reality of high tech in the world today, and giving us all a guilt-free chance to get off the treadmill.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. G. on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Given all the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding technology its nice to see a more measured approach to the question that also offers some much needed historical perspective. Seidensticker has a great way of stringing together his examples into a coherent narrative that helps to illustrate his incisive analysis. Definitely worth the time.
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