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The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World Paperback – May 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray Publishers (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848546440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848546448
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,124,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Harkaway approaches technology not as a proselytiser but simply as a human being. This is the book's great strength: a warm, intelligent, trustworthy sensibility. The language is at times exquisite, and there are enough aphorisms to embellish PowerPoint presentations in Shoreditch for decades to come' Literary Review 'Harkaway is a qualified optimist on new technology and social media' Independent 'Harkaway has some big things to say about the current state of the world and he does so in an unassuming way, using his wry personal reminiscence to illustrate his point' Guardian

About the Author

Nick Harkaway is the author of two novels, The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker, and a regular blogger for the Bookseller's FutureBook website. From 1999 to 2008, he was a jobbing scriptwriter. During that time he also wrote brochure copy for a company selling bottle-capping machinery, and the website text for an exclusive lingerie boutique. He lives in London with his wife Clare, a human rights lawyer, and his daughter Clemency, an infant.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. McCLEAN on August 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Blind Giant is Nick Harkaway's first non-fiction book and it is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. As its title suggests it deals with the impact of digital technology on humans, both as individuals and groups of all sizes, couples, families, communities, nations, and beyond. It also discusses the choices open to us and makes the point that we are not innocents adrift in a sea of technology, but that we are complicit in the negative consequences of everything we allow to happen. This includes wars in Africa where armed groups clash for control of the mines producing minerals that are essential for the production of virtually all the mobile devices we take for granted in our everyday lives.

But this is no cold treatise containing a lifeless analysis of the mechanics of how modern technology, specifically the Internet, affects us all. It is a hearth-side conversation, probably with a pint of ale to hand, ranging in subject matter from the immediacy of on-line shopping to the toppling of governments in the Middle East.

The book is very up-to-date with inclusion of the social issues surrounding the London riots of 2011 and the Arab Spring that swept away governments in the Middle East, and the role played by the Internet in facilitating both the initiation of these events and the subsequent recovery and stabilization.

Harkaway is inviting debate. In his conversational style he lays out his views and concerns on the disappearance of traditional work rolls and the unintentional consequences of the large, new corporations of the digital age that promote good intentions but, due to their size and reliance on old financial structures, end up doing damage they never intended.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Pallister on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A while back I read (and subsequently reviewed) Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. I loved it so much I looked into what else he'd written. I found out that he had a non-fiction work about the impact of technology on business and culture, and so gave it a read.

It's hefty piece of work, talking about the impact of technology on a very wide range of subjects, from the publishing business, to our ability to learn and concentrate, to the impact on politics and life in the public eye. His view of the impact of tech on the publishing business is especially well done, as he's grown up in and around that industry as one of the 'disruptees', and yet is also a technology proponent.

Through the book, the author takes a nuanced, even-handed look at most of these areas of controversy, showing both sides as having some merit. He also tackles it in a way that is entertaining, and still goes deep enough to show that he's done a fair amount of research and thinking on the subjects.

The down side is that he covers broad ground without really reaching a hard conclusion. that might be OK though - as the point is to show that we are evolving in our relationship with technology, and that we don't necessarily know where it will end up, and that it's neither all good nor all bad, but somewhere in between, as will be our end destination.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Harkaway's keen observations and ability to synthesize perspectives from all over the map are first-rate, and suffice to merit 4 stars. The quality of his writing per se, and the abundant humor and humanity that permeate these pages earn the 5th. Outstanding.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read all Nick's fiction and I love it. This is very informative, an easy read and a wonderful resource for more cognitive studies. Thanks Mr Harkaway
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aquilone on March 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book with a fascinating title and great topic is nonetheless totally useless. It jumps from one narrative bit to the other. No bone, no order, no thesis. Examples follow and are for most of them pointless. A great deception. I have learned nothing. and was eager to learn and actually become more learned to "survive in the digital age". Arguments are fragile and references shaky with full of implicits that do not help.
Too bad!
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More About the Author

Nick Harkaway was born in 1972, a distinction he shares with Carmen Electra (allegedly), a collection of indifferent wines, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album, and a company which makes guttering in Pietermaritzburg. He is tall and has a shaggy and unkempt look about him which even the best grooming products cannot entirely erase. His eyebrows were at one time wanted on a charge of ruckus and affray in the state of Utah, but this unhappy passage has now been resolved.

He is the author of The Gone-Away World, Angelmaker (and the accompanying e-short, Edie Investigates), and the non-fiction book The Blind Giant. His third novel, presently untitled, will appear in 2014. BBC Books have also commissioned him to write a Doctor Who story for the Time Trips series to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the show.

He likes: Italian red wine, unlikely clothes, Chinese food, good-humoured anecdotes, Argentine Tango, Swiss cheese, American burgers, carving skis, alpine snowboards, P G Wodehouse, Alexandre Dumas, and blonde human rights lawyers. Well, all right, one blonde human rights lawyer in particular, to whom he is married, and with whom he has two perilous infants.

He does not like shellfish. They look at you with those eyes.

He has in his time studied a variety of martial arts, and can confidently claim to be the worst open-handed pugilist on the face of this green Earth.

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