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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The new edition of "A Gift of Fire" is a welcome update to a good textbook. My opinion of the second edition is that it's a solid three star book, but the restructuring and inclusion of new material puts the latest edition into four star territory.

The textbook itself is an excellent introduction to the material, with an emphasis on "introduction"; it is by no means a deep and encompassing work, but its accessibility is quite welcome in a field of supposed introductory works that are absolutely impenetrable to those actually in need of an introduction. I've given the book to a few non-experts - or, as one of them referred to himself, a "computard" - and they've enjoyed the book quite a bit. The mix of historical, philosophical, and light theoretical content manages to inform without overwhelming. I find the writing a bit preachy at times, especially considering the fact that the book is supposed to be an ethical primer as opposed to commentary, but those sections are few and far between.

I've taught out of this book, and I have to say that one of the book's greatest assets is the supplementary material on its associated website. Type the title into Google, it should be the first hit. Updates to the source material are posted every few months to keep up with changes in case law, the news, etc. The website also includes sample lecture schedules, assignments, discussion topics, and just about everything else you would need to develop a course.

So to sum up: welcome update on a good textbook, definitely for neophytes as opposed to experts, excellent value added by the website.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 8, 2008
This is an ethics book of course, so I will keep the writing short: This book is written very well, and is suitable for someone whose never taken an ethics course before--which wasn't me, but I changed majors and info-tech ethics was required.

The exercises are the most valuable part of the book but it will take a good teacher to make the most out of them: I got lucky there.

Baase does a very good job of hitting all the high-notes and gray-area cases that have popped up in the last 20 or so years as a result of new technologies. But at the end of the course I didn't feel I ended up taking anything away that I couldn't have learned by myself.

The book is really very wordy in my opinion--even for an ethics book--and doesn't hit enough ethical theory for my taste. It's great for its target market though, but don't think it'll work magic if you've already had some 'traditional' ethics courses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I wish every author of college textbooks pushed forth this kind of effort!

The book is very well written, seems well researched with exhaustive notes citing references, additional material and end of chapter questions. And fortunately, you don't need a student solutions manual to find the answer; if you missed it in the reading you simply need to browse back and find it.

Sara Baase covers all the areas of ethics in computing, from the issues since the emergence of computers, social media and the integration of computers into the workplace to the risks and responsibilities of users, programmers and managers in the creation of software, its debugging and its use. These topics also have relevance in studies outside of computer science and computer engineering; MBA students might be required to read chapter 5 (Crime), chapter 8 (Risk) and chapter 9 (Ethics and Responsibilities).

Yes, this book is about ethics, but without the deep philosophy. There's not a lot of Kant in there, you'll see him in an introduction as to the philosophical views and a few areas talking about labor. Otherwise, if you're looking to tussle with your instructor or get into deep philosophical discussion over $1 Pabst Night, you'll need to take the class that deals with such things. Actually, if that's your thing (the philosophy, not the $1 Pabst), you'll enjoy this book more *after* taking that class.

However, I do agree with other reviewers in their assessment that a few areas of the book are needlessly long and perhaps, rambling. It is not a pervasive problem through the entire book, but rather in the author's attempt to give plenty of examples, the reader is left thinking "okay, okay, I get it". Of course, the alternative is worse so I'm happy just trudging through it or skipping ahead.

If you are going to make a book selection for a computer science ethics class you will be teaching, you could make far worse choices.

As I approach the end of my second tour of duty through undergraduate college (career makeover as one of those 'non-traditional students'), I wish to point to this text for any current or future college textbook authors -- this is how you do it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2010
This book was required for my course in social/legal/ethical issues of computing. The author provokes some interesting thought concepts that I, as an intermediate computer user, never thought of before. I've also learned some things that I never knew before about internet law, cookies, etcetera. Probably wouldn't be a book one would want to read for leisure purposes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
There is a lot of good information here, but the author does not organize it well. Chapters are interminably long and rambling. I think the book could be a lot more concise and still convey the same information.
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on August 13, 2010
Most of the time school books have a tendency to be a bit on the boring side. This is one book that would be an awesome read no matter if you were in school or just wanting to gain a lot of knowledge about laws, trends, and emerging trends in E-Commerce as well as the internet in general.
I have to say, Sarah Baase did an excellent job presenting each subject in a to-the-point manner. She doesn't use 100 pages to get 3 boring points across. This is a fun, easy to understand, yet very educational book.

For Sale: I have this book for sale. Email me at Asteward2010@Live.com if you want to buy this at a ROCK BOTTOM, LOW PRICE.
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on July 2, 2014
Bought this for a college course on Technology and Ethics. There is a lot of good information in it, but the writing is so densely packed that it is a painfully slow and dry read. This is coming from someone who loves to read. I've learned to just skim for the most important highlights, because reading it all would take every moment I have, with nothing left over to do any actual coursework. Could really use some lightening up.
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on July 19, 2012
Being that this edition is a little outdated, it is still a good textbook. After looking far and wide for a good textbook for teaching my Information Assurance Policy course, I decided to pair this with Greene's Policies and Procedures. The two encompass the problems faced socially, legally and ethically in the IT world, and how to create a good policy around those issues.
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on December 10, 2012
I loved this book but the only downside is there is a lot of repetition throughout the book. You should still get it and read it just keep that in mind when you do.
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on January 30, 2013
If you are even remotely tied to the business of computer science, you must own this book. It is truly an eye opener. Tons of good examples on why we must be aware of the technology we are developing and the consequences that could occur. Lots of good details on the legal side of things too.
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