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Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed [Kindle Edition]

Alexis Ohanian
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $27.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description


As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning.

In this book, Alexis will share his ideas, tips and even his own doodles about harnessing the power of the web for good, and along the way, he will share his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe.

At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating from the University of Virginia, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He's gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups. WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is his personal guidebook as to how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps.

Editorial Reviews


"It's rare that a thirty-year-old has a memoir worth writing-let alone worth reading-but Alexis Ohanian's WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is an exception. This book is full of useful advice for entrepreneurs of all ages, and Alexis describes his remarkable accomplishments with an endearing combination of geekiness, enthusiasm, and sincerity."
-Nate Silver, author and statistician, FiveThirtyEight blog, New York Times

"WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION shows how anyone can use the power of the Internet to make the world a much cooler place to live."
-Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.

"Software is eating the world and WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is your ultimate cookbook."
-Marc Andreessen, cofounder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz

"In WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION, Alexis Ohanian shows you how to share your great ideas with an unlimited world online. Ohanian charts a course for you to build a business, or create a following, or just expand your world and those of people you haven't even met. What you'll learn from Ohanian isn't taught in any school or in any modern curricula. It is the knowledge of the future-to create a better world."
- Soledad O'Brien, Journalist, CEO, Starfish Media Group

"Alexis talking about the internet is like Sid Vicious talking about punk. Analysts merely adopted it, but Ohanian was born in it, molded by it, and is the voice of it. A fascinating story, but more importantly: a crucial insight into the healthy proactive mindset of the tech startup world that will keep defining the future."
- Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, author of Anything You Want

About the Author

In additon to starting, Alexis Ohanian has also been instrumental in other successful online ventures, including HipMunk and BreadPig.

He lives in Brooklyn but remains a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1726 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus (October 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BAXFJ16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,841 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm 75% thru this and while I like the author's writing style (though I can see how some find him really self-centered), think most of this kind of information is available free online or elsewhere - and is frankly common sense in the business world ("Build something people want" is just another way of saying "make sure your product solves an issue for your customers" - that's nothing new).

I really wanted to like this book, but find it mediocre at best. Ohanian's tone is enthusiastic, but my expectations were totally different going into it. I bought this because I am a HUGE reddit fan and user and wanted to know more about its start-up phase, founding, and ongoing business issues. If you buy this thinking you'll get good advice on how to found and run your startup, think again - that's not here. Also, this is NOT a product development book (though he offers a few tidbits on prototyping, but they are nothing revelatory).

I agree with other reviewers in that the book is a mish-mash and fails on several levels: as a biography (it's not extensive enough); as a teaching lesson on how to emulate/approximate reddit's success (again, not extensive enough -- there's not enough detail here); or as a general primer on starting an internet company ("go find an incubator or like-minded individuals!"). He does provide solid examples of internet companies like Kickstarter, etc. that solve real problems for their customers, but you can get that info from other sources as well.

I have to point out that I find it very odd that Aaron Swartz, who is often referred to as a co-founder of reddit, is mentioned NOWHERE in Ohanian's book. Intentional omission? Sure looks that way.
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94 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Insufferable October 23, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is hackneyed, vacuous, and written by an author who is totally, completely, utterly fascinated with himself. His book is full of ridiculously detailed trivia about his life experiences. It offers up hundreds, maybe thousands, of banal observations about entrepreneurship as though they were deep insights. (One random example: "I believe in startup karma. Skeptical? Imagine a reputation score floating above your head. If that's a little too surreal for you, just know that social currency is something you can spend by asking for favors and earn by doing them.")

A number of five-star reviewers apparently have met Ohanian personally, and by all accounts he's a really nice guy who has generously funded some good causes. That's great to hear, and I'm sure he has his followers. His coverage of in the book is genuinely enthusiastic. All good. Nonetheless, I find his writing style to be highly focused on himself, and irritating in the same way that those informercials on cable TV in the wee hours of the morning are irritating: Some guy driving around in his expensive car, camera on himself, telling you about how successful he is and that you can succeed too. The narrative is anecdotal, promotional and superficial, bereft of any systematic or analytical approach. There's no index. The few footnotes are not a serious attempt to document sources but instead are full of cutesy comments.

This light narrative should have been condensed down to a two-part magazine article or maybe a simple Reddit thread. Of all the how-to-succeed-online books out there, this is one of the least useful I've encountered. "Jobs," "In the Plex," "One Click," or virtually any other work would be more useful if one is looking for high-tech startup tips.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Disappointing January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a regular user of reddit and generally interested in technology, and I found this book to be quite disappointing. It reads as more of a memoir and makes a fairly shallow effort to advance the argument presented in the title of the book. I'm glad that Mr. Ohanian is proud of his accomplishments, but it would have been nice to hear more information about taking reddit from a startup to being one of the most trafficked websites around. And yet, we learn that Ohanion a) didn't come up with the idea for reddit, b) didn't write any code for reddit, other than designing the alien icon, c) argued against the concept of subreddits, which contributed greatly to the site's success, especially versus competitor Digg. I couldn't help walking away from this book feeling that Ohanion was simply in the right place at the right time and has little actual insight into the world of technology and its future.

I'll admit that I was also a bit turned off by the *multiple* mentions of the fact early on in the book that he was a millionaire at an early age due to the reddit acquisition.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, Not Great October 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Decent read, but I felt like the book lacked a cohesive narative and it kind of meandered from story to story. This made it hard to for the book to capture my interest. The tone is a talking/story telling tone (much like I'd expect in a speech), that may have contributed to the meandered feeling. I would have like to see some more analysis on the state and future of the internet and how that related to the stories, I think that would have helped to tie everything together.

Overall, I didn't feel my time was wasted, but I probably would not reccommend this book
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book!!
Published 1 month ago by Manuel
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good info, though some corny jokes and references.
Published 1 month ago by Matthias Paddles
3.0 out of 5 stars was good. However
I am a junior at University of Baltimore and this was part of the assigned reading for ENTR 300 class. I found it interesting that he grew up not far from Baltimore. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Collin Corcoran
4.0 out of 5 stars Alexis Ohanian uses a lot of his past experiences in order to explain...
My name is Mark Shoemaker and I am currently a student at the University of Baltimore. This semester I am taking an entrepreneurial class which required/recommended this book to be... Read more
Published 2 months ago by mark shoemaker
4.0 out of 5 stars Motivation for Entrepreneurs who are Looking for Uniques ways to...
I am a senior at University of Baltimore enrolled in the survey Entrepreneurship course 300 and Without Their Permission: How 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Portia smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wrok great
Published 4 months ago by Bible Expo
5.0 out of 5 stars If you use the computer for any type of business, you need to read...
This is an amazing book.....It opened up my eyes to so much...Thank you Alexis.
Published 4 months ago by stephen craig aristei
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Quick Read
Good book. Not great, but good, with some novel thoughts and predictions on the future that are worth hearing.
Published 4 months ago by David J Getman
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest entrepreneurial handbook of our time?
Alexis Ohanian has furnished well over a hundred speeches through the years, so we already knew that he was a captivating orator and storyteller. Read more
Published 5 months ago by yankeecrazy9
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Dream Is Not Dead
If you thought you that the American Dream is dead, think again. This book will get you thinking in directions you never dreamed of. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Richard Smiraldi, Author
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