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The End of Patience: Cautionary Notes on the Information Revolution Hardcover – August 22, 1999
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His second book, The End of Patience: Cautionary Notes on the Information Revolution, continues and expands Shenk's analysis, collecting articles and commentary he wrote for National Public Radio, The New Republic, FEED, Wired, and other high-minded venues over the last three years. Shenk's targets here vary widely: the corporatization of scientific research, the dizzying ethical choices surrounding biotechnology, and the scourge of Web sites with too many bells and whistles all get due consideration. But his central message remains the same throughout. Our technologies, he warns, are shaping us into a nation of info-hungry, data-dizzy "button smackers," risking the quality of our life and culture for the doubtful thrill of instant knowledge.
Shenk's warning is a gentle one, however, tempered by an affectionate familiarity with the media he critiques. And though this book could have used a little more winnowing (in particular, the transcribed conversations with assorted media-critic pals of Shenk's come off as little more than chummy, self-indulgent filler), in general his writing has a sure, light touch that glides past the bombast of classic technopunditry. Happily, Shenk follows his own prescriptions, cutting through the information haze rather than adding to it. --Julian Dibbell
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
I was introduced to Mr. Shenk's work in "Data Smog", an earlier publication about the impact of technology on us mortals. Time and time again, I experienced that 'click' of recognition, as Mr. Shenk articulated what I had been feeling, but unable to voice.
Mr. Shenk hasn't let us down with his current work, "The End of Patience". One warning, though - this book will make information technology addicts very grumpy. For those of us who have embraced this technology without question and spend most of our lives 'plugged in' on an endless quest for more and better and faster, Mr. Shenk's insights will not be welcome.
For the rest of us, those who just want to retain our humanity in cyber-world, it's a must-read.This is especially true for those who are privileged to work in developing our information technology and communication systems, and have the power to deeply impact our futures.
Mr. Shenk does not advocate disrespect for our modern miracles. On the contrary, he reminds us that it is in the nature of miracles to overwhelm those who are touched by them.
This is a very fast, fun read, and I found it simultaneously interesting and frustrating. Every chapter/article is a reprint of a previously published (either in print or online) essay - for the material that is 2-3 years old - I would have liked to also read additional current follow-up or commentary. It would be fascinating to know, in this time of exploding commercial enterprise on the web if the author still holds the same opinions about the need for a World Wide Library ("a regimented, filtered, ultra-reliable segment of the World Wide Web") as he did in mid-1997. And how he thinks it might be accomplished given the current free market boom.
Every essay provided food for thought, even if only to wonder "is this still true?" The author writes clearly, humorously and cogently. I would be pleased to see book length treatments of many of the themes he treats in just 2 or 3 pages ("Hall Pass to the Twenty-first Century: the problem with putting schools online" would be a particularly juicy book topic). In light of the coming anti-trust judgment remedies in the Microsoft case - a book extrapolating on the essay "Hating Gates: the culture of Microsoft bashing" could be quite provocative. His conclusion that "as long as Microsoft keeps its focus on itself, maintains that hungry feeling, and stays (more or less) within the bounds of the law, they're bound to succeed ... [but] technology has a way of turning the tables rather suddenly. Regardless of Microsoft's foresight, toughness, breadth of investment, and research, Gates knows as well as anyone that his days as technology king could come to a fairly swift end" (p.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While Shenk's "cautionary notes" err on the side of the measured critiques of a turn-of-the-century technological participant-observer, this book's potential value as a bellwether... Read morePublished on January 7, 2009 by Ben Sullivan
I enjoyed The End of Patience very much. I had to laugh at how many of David Shenk's insights I could relate to, although I had never slowed down enough to consider them. Read morePublished on December 27, 1999 by Richard E. Gaum
In his second book "The End of Patience" we have David Shenk's self aggrandizing insights into the complex dark canyons of the technological revolution we have been drawn... Read morePublished on November 30, 1999