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An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths Hardcover – March 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In this testament to the power of the little guy, law professor and blogger Reynolds gleefully hails the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class resulting from the democratizing power of technology-the manifestation of his observation that "a society that's rich and free will have citizens who-entirely on their own-develop a wide range of skills." Among the skills he cites are citizen terrorist-busters, hackers and average Joe techies who set up phony jihad sites to foil terrorism in the U.S. Others have taken on big media, forcing newspapers and networks into something "akin to what happened to the Church during the Reformation." Reynolds shows how technology opened up markets to software companies in Poland and to filmmakers and musicians in Africa. Proclaiming good blogging as a combination of "rapid response times" and "personal voice," Reynolds praises the explosion of cyber-self expression, seeing it as yet another way to proliferate information and build knowledge among communities. And while Reynolds may seem naïve in ignoring any potential negatives that could arise from widespread, unmitigated, technology-enabled empowerment and does little to touch upon the ethical implications of the everyman becoming a superman, he brings a contagious sense of optimism to this "new reality."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"George Orwell feared that technology would enable dictators to enslave the masses. Glenn Reynolds shows that technology can empower individuals to determine their own futures and to defeat those who would enslave us. This is a book of profound importance-and also a darn good read." -MICHAEL BARONE, senior writer at U.S. News & World Report and author of Hard America, Soft America
"Blogger extraordinaire Glenn Reynolds shows how average Americans can use new technologies to overcome the twin demons of corporate greed and incompetent government. Reynolds is a compelling evangelist for the power of the individual to change our world." -ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, author of Pigs at the Trough and Fanatics and Fools--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It's a fun and breezy book, as any InstaPundit fan would expect. It is wide-ranging and eclectic. And it is optimistic... perhaps too optimistic, in the face of all kinds of incontrovertible evidence of the prevalence of human malice. Judeo-Christian religions recognize it as original sin. But maybe nanotechnology can eliminate spite and malice from the human mind. Maybe.
If we're colonizing space, I would try it, and I would take my kids. There has to be someone in the space colonies who makes up ridiculous anthems to memorize lengthy texts, does there not? And that modern troubador could be me! La!
I got some ideas for future reading:
+ Robert Fogel's The Escape From Hunger and Premature Death
+ Nick Bostrom's article on aging
+ Martyn Fogg's Terraforming
+ William Wu's article in Ad Astra
+ Joel Miller's Size Matters
Those will all go on the Amazon wish list for my Christmas shoppers.
My "this-week's-great-idea" that sprang up from reading An Army of Davids is this: why not let Amazon operate libraries? For a subscription, Amazon could route books from your wish list into your local library branch, notify you that they are there, and have them held for you. They could partner with existing public libraries for this. Or they could even deliver them to your house a la NetFlix. Return them when you are done. I daresay they could make a case that subscription fees could be better than their second-hand market. My local library takes forever to get in the books I am interested in -- Amazon could do this in an amazing way. Also, Amazon's search capabilities are so much better than my library's -- maybe that could work.
I know, I know, haven't I ever heard of Kindle?
I read in the tub and at the pool. What happens if you drop a kindle into the water?
An Army of Davids shows how the big corps and big gov are failing and how the individual remains the most powerful cutlural and economic force in our day. Perhaps in any day for that matter.
Reynolds also describes some trends that, rather than being powered by the "Army", will instead benefit it: If scientists succeed in slowing or even reversing the aging process, Reynolds argues that the single individual will become even more empowered, leading to a dramatic increase in personal productivity, creativity, and the like. These are just two examples- the singularity, space elevators, and artificial intelligence are also discussed.
If you think the topics of the previous paragraphs are the stuff of science fiction, I might've agreed with you just a few days ago. But after finishing Army of Davids, I'm excited to learn more about some things I once thought of as fantasy that Reynolds argues are already well underway.
The book is a quick read- I digested it in just a couple hours- but that is far from an insult. Rather, I suspect Reynolds' conversational, at times swift-moving prose and frequent long-form quotes are designed to assume the reader's intelligence, rather than condescend to it. Supplementing the wide variety of subject matter are copious citations, especially helpful when Reynolds cuts broad strokes through his often unfamiliar (to many) subject matter.
On his blog, Reynolds has, on at least two occasions, referenced reviewers who met with confusion as the latter half of the book veered away from blog-related topics and moved into more scientific and even sci-fi-esque territory. Personally, I didn't have a problem with the book transitioning into trends of the near future. Because Reynolds is perhaps best known as a blogosphere celebrity, I'm guessing some readers expected the book to remain media-centric. However, I'm pleased that Reynolds guided his book away from a pleasing yet tiring re-hash of recent memory and instead took a risk by exposing readers to a some tip-of-the-iceberg stuff that I, for one, would likely have never learned of otherwise.
So if you're expecting a light read about the impact of blogging, look elsewhere. But if you're interested in the extension of trends that blogging is only a small part of, you'll probably learn a great deal- and become pretty excited- about the future that An Army of Davids foretells.
It is the embodiment of our new Tea Party! It is no longer the Big no longer eat the small.. it is the fast that eat the slow.
Most recent customer reviews
This is the most important book about politics and journalism as they emerge in the 21st century.Read more
very informative about these markets or how to access them,...Read more