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The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives Hardcover – June 7, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307589102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307589101
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Out of the creative chaos at the MIT Media Lab have come fantastical inventions that have changed how we work, play, and live. Frank Moss’ stories of the ‘digital magicians’ behind these experiments and discoveries are inspiring and engaging."
—Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google 

"MIT Media Lab has been inventing the future for more than 25 years.  Frank Moss explains how - and the lessons can help you be more creative -  and your organization be more innovative." 
 - Steve Case, Co-founder of AOL, Chairman of the Startup America Partnership, and co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
 
"This book will be a delight for anyone who cares about innovation. For more than twenty-five years, the MIT Media Lab has been inventing the future and humanizing technology. Weaving fascinating tales with insightful concepts, Frank Moss tells us how. He shows the way to harness passion and break down the walls between disciplines in order to unleash creativity in fields ranging from robotics to music to the making of mechanical limbs."
—Walter Isaacson, CEO and president, The Aspen Institute, former chairman and CEO of CNN, and bestselling author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
 
"Anyone who wants to succeed - be it in technology art, or business - needs to follow the unique multi-disciplinary approach described in this book. Our future depends on innovation. This book provides the inspiration and motivation we need to change the world, one page at a time."
—Chad Hurley, Co-Founder & former CEO, YouTube.
  
"As a CIO, I understand the challenges of managing brilliant and creative people.   Frank Moss' insightful case studies from the Media Lab provide a roadmap for leaders who want to accelerate innovation.   There is no better example of a culture that inspires and enables invention."
—Dr. John Halamka, Chief Information Officer, Harvard Medical School and The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
 
“The stories begin about the gadgets for which the MIT Media Lab is well known, but then they turn human, as Frank Moss introduces us to the professors and students flourishing in the Lab's unique innovation ecology. SORCERERS ends too soon, leaving you curious, excited, and determined to know more about the MIT Media Lab's unique approach to inventing and innovation.  This book is timely for America, right now looking to innovate on innovation, to winning the future.”
—Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet Inventor, formulator of Metcalfe's Law, and  Professor of Innovation at UTexas Austin.


“Our world is changing at an exponential rate.  Billion dollar industries are folding overnight and Billion dollar start-ups are seemingly coming out of no-where.  Small teams empowered by technology can now do what was once only possible by large corporations and governments.  Frank Moss’ book shares countless examples of inspired creativity and fearless innovation.  This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to change their company, industry or the world.”
-Peter H. Diamandis, MD, MS, Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE Foundation, Chairman/Vice-Chancellor, Singularity University

"On every page, this essential book underlines the importance of the human - both in the individuals who make the Lab tick, and the people who are directly affected by the creative brilliance of the Lab's minds and the practical outcome of their work.  Moss expertly threads the multiple strands of the Media Lab story - it's innovative past, present and most importantly it's future - and demonstrates how it has continued to be one of the most unorthodox and influential brain trusts in the world."
- Alex McDowell, Royal Designer for Industry, production designer of Minority Report and Fight Club

"‘The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices’ is in essence a tour through the Media Lab... and the reader can almost hear Mr. Moss leading the visitor through the glass-walled building with an infectious enthusiasm for the stories of its occupants and contents, much of which exists in the form of the models and prototypes for which the lab is famous"
-The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

FRANK MOSS served as director of the MIT Media Lab from 2006-2011, and is currently Professor of the Practice and head of the New Media Medicine group there. After earning a BSE from Princeton and PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, he held positions at IBM, Apollo Computer, Lotus Development and was CEO and chairman of Tivoli Systems, which he took public in 1995 and merged with IBM a year later. He is a co-founder of many companies, including Stellar Computer, Bowstreet, Infinity Pharmaceuticals and his latest startup venture, Bluefin Labs.

More About the Author

Frank Moss had a childhood dream to be a part of America's space program. But by the time he graduated from MIT with a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1976, funding for the space program had been dramatically slashed. So he went to work in the computer industry instead, as a researcher at IBM. But he soon left to try his hand in the world of high tech startups. After three companies he found success as CEO of Tivoli Systems, which he took public in 1995 and merged with IBM a year later. After making sure the merger was a success, he went back to starting high tech companies, but this time he realized that he was looking for something much different: he wanted to make a bigger contribution to humanity. This led him to co-found the cancer drug discovery company Infinity Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and then to the directorship of the MIT Media Lab from 2006 to 2011. While there he wrote his first book, "The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices", about the lab's highly unorthodox approach to innovation. He is now back, once again, to the world of entrepreneurship as co-founder of Bluefin Labs, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Highly recommend this book to anyone with a slight interest in innovation, creativity, and technology.
Kanishk Rastogi
After reading Frank Moss, director of the famed MIT Media Laboratory book The Sorcerers and their Apprentices makes me want to go back to school!
Dr Adam Weiss
The technologies under development at the Media Lab have the potential to be truly transformative, and the impact will be felt by all of us.
Bookworm9765

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm9765 on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices, David Moss offers a first hand tour of the legendary MIT Media Lab, a place where remarkable innovations occur almost continuously. The book is a bit of a jumble rather than a single coherent narrative, but that is appropriate since the Media Lab is all about bringing brilliant people from different disciplines together and letting ideas collide randomly in a "boundary-less" environment.

Moss, who served as the Media Lab's director starting in 2006, focuses on the researchers in the Lab and how they collaborate on a variety of projects, ranging from new ways to interact with computers, technologies to assist the disabled and the elderly, new forms of transportation and ,especially, robotics.

On thing that really comes through is the Media Labs leading-edge research into artificial intelligence and robotics. The social robots under development are able to interact and learn from people, and can even respond to specific human attitudes and emotions based on facial expressions and other hints. Moss is extremely bullish about the future of robotics, writing that he expects "truly capable robots that can be sold at prices on the order of notebook computers," and that by the end of this decade there may be "more than a billion robots" deployed world-wide.

While Moss talks about robots and AI being primarily deployed in the the home or in health care settings, there is little doubt that these technologies are going to have a huge impact in workplaces, on the job market and on the overall economy and society. Very few people seem to be tuned into the coming wave of innovation. The technologies under development at the Media Lab have the potential to be truly transformative, and the impact will be felt by all of us.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E.Swope VINE VOICE on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have spent upwards of a month slogging through this book, a book which by all rights ought to be an immensely enjoyable read for me as it hits on a number of passionate interests of mine, yet...it was not. In his preface Moss comments that this is the third book on the media lab, the first 2 having been written by Stwert Brand and Nicholas Negroponte. I strongly suspect I would have enjoyed those more, and may eventually pick one or both of them up). I am less familiar with Moss than I am with either of the other men, having read many of Brand's works and followed Negroponte's activities for a while impressed by his vision and compassion. Moss I know mostly from the introduction to this book. That, however, was not what put me off. I felt like a good deal of time was spent pumping himself, the school, the lab, and finally the book, It is clear that Moss is excited to be at the media lab (despite early quandries), its approach and the success of its students and graduates. To some extent that comes with the territory. They are among the brightest and hardest working, most highly selected students in the country. They would likely be successful wherever they went. Put those students in an environment with others of similar talent and passion, and things will happen. While I was an undergraduate at Brown, the NY Times wrote an article disparaging the education received at Ivy league schools (focusing on Harvard in particular). It made sufficient impression that my dad drove up to spend a day attending classes with me (else I likely would not have noticed the article). I recall a response someone sent in saying that he learned more in the hallway than he had anywhere else in his life. Exactly.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ira Laefsky VINE VOICE on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dr. Frank Moss, the Director of MIT's Media Lab between 2006 and 2011 presents a remarkable, yet human view of one of the nation's treasure laboratories.
The Media Lab is a Special Projects Laboratory and Educational Division within the MIT School of Architecture and Planning that focuses on Technology, Design and New Media. It's amazing projects and demonstrations have resulted in such products as E-Ink (the paper-like display which make E-Readers like the Kindle
readable), the One Laptop per Child XO laptop, and the Guitar Hero gaming platform.

Frank Moss describes and humanizes the research and demonstration process of this remarkable academic laboratory where the motto is "Demo or Die" rather
than "Publish or Perish". He describes the technologies, designs and human problems which continue to lead their innovation. Most importantly he profiles in human depth the talented Professors, Graduate Students, Researchers and Corporate Partners who make this innovation possible. A remarkable book about a remarkable place.

--Ira Laefsky
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Richey VINE VOICE on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book really could be accurately described using the old cliché "Stranger than fiction". It reminds me of several other books that I have read along the same line (e.g. The Cuckoo's Egg and Nerds, A Brief History of the Internet).

There are a number of stories in this book about the amazing developments wrought by the assorted members of the MIT Media Lab. They are not all engineers as one might think, but an amazing cross section of talents and education backgrounds. Together these people have developed a number of things that has and probably will continue to make life much better for many in the population. Their work in the area of helping disabled people to follow their dreams even though their disabilities would normally have denied them that opportunity is amazing.

The stories of the developments of these inventors is so varied, I can only suggest that you read this wonderful book. It is about a team of very driven, enthusiastic and imaginative individuals who give their diverse talents to the team effort to invent products and processes that possibly would not happen in a non-team environment.
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