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Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455520020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455520022
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 Zappos.com, 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 Reddit.com, 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.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

This book was a great read to sit down on a quiet night and read.
Jesse
I really liked the beginning of the book (quite visionary) but then it gets quickly too simplistic in my opinion.
Michael
It's a quick, easy read, full of advice, anecdotes and nerdy asides.
Brian L Manning

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 116 people found the following review helpful By R B on October 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this book because I didn't find anything new and helpful. There was a very light story about the author and Reddit. Along with stories about Donors Choose, SOPA/PIPA and Kickstarter. And some basic startup advice that I've read many times from the likes of Paul Graham.

The business related stories were mostly outliers (like the pebble watch). Which leads readers who are inexperienced with this stuff to draw conclusions that are not accurate. Anyone who's in the start-up world knows about that. When you're working on a app and people talk about the next Angry Birds or how much Instagram sold for. I think the tendency to look at the biggest success stories and use those for guidance leads a lot of people down the wrong path and to frustration. Reading a story in this book about someone raising $200,000+ on Donors Choose is great. But when you look at Donors Choose and see that most people are raising a few hundred dollars it makes you wonder.

Readers would be better off to simply look at sites like Kickstarter and read online about how those sites are being used. And if you want to know more about the author or Reddit you would be better off to look online as well. Also, The subtitle 'How the 21st Century will be Made, Not Managed' implies forward thinking about how it 'will be' made, but the book was more about how it 'has been' made.

For me the 5-star review has become something to distrust. A review with a title of 'A MUST READ for Anyone on the Internet or with An Idea' is just silly. Also, currently 7 of the 5 star reviews are from people who only reviewed this book on Amazon. And some of the others look suspicious being that they've only reviewed one other item. Or the 5 star review from Michael GreenGold. I scrolled through 10 pages of his last reviews. And they're all 5-star reviews. Every single one. Just Saying.
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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, DonorsChoose.org 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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78 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Critical Rationalist on 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 DonorsChoose.org 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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