Gutenberg the Geek (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"This was a time of change and disruption -- which is like planting season for entrepreneurs."
"Don't today's entrepreneurs dream for a fraction of Gutenberg's impact? He was the inventor of history's greatest platform."
A good quick read, stylistically somewhere between a Wikipedia entry and an article in WIRED.
While I've read cursory attempts at such comparisons, Jeff's writing about Gutenberg was so fascinating, that I emailed him to ask where I could find more on the topic. Not only did he email me back some suggestions, he sent me a 5,000 word document he'd written about Gutenberg that had not made it into the book.
So I was thrilled to see that Jeff had self-published, Gutenberg the Geek as a Kindle Single ebook of 6,800 word, using this previously unpublished material to tell a completely different story that reminds us how history reveals to us patterns that never stop repeating themselves. (My only disappointment: He should have named the ebook "What Would Gutenberg Do?" in reference to his previous book, What Would Google Do? )
I found Gutenberg the Great similar to another one of my favorite Kindle Singles,Leonardo and Steve: The Young Genius Who Beat Apple to Market by 800 Years, a 14,000-word volume written by Stanford math professor Kevin Devlins, As Jarvis does with comparing Gutenberg and Silicon Valley startup guys, Devins compares the role Leonardo of Pisa (we know him as Fibonacci) with the role Steve Jobs played in introducing personal computing to our era.
In Jarvis' compact and concise book, he weaves in references and comparisons of Gutenberg's innovation and entrepreneurship to today's era of new technology and new business models built on that technology.
I feel certain no one else has written a book of any length that finds parallels in how Gutenberg and the founders of Airbnb.com funded their startups -- but it's that kind of informative, and fun, comparison that enables this to be an informative, but quick, read.
In the history of man, there has always been the equalizer. Back in the Old West, it was the Colt 45. In the days of Henry Ford it was the automobile. And in the mid 20th century it was the computer and right on its rear the Internet.
The development of the printing press more of the masses had access (key concept) to the same written material that beforehand was probably only available to the rich, nobility and to the few scholars of the Age. As we settled the West and we drove our Chevrolets there we soon had no where else to go physically. We developed laws and enforced them, and we were able to put our guns aside, as our Government was effective in protecting us with it's recognized local, national and international police forces.
What was left? Well the intellectual property that we all now had access to in the form of books, newspapers and magazines became a BAD thing in early 21st century. Thanks to the people of the late 20th century the next transition occurred. Tim Berners-Lee created a web browser, Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a more sophisticated search engine industry and Mark Zuckerberg creator of Facebook hired everybody to tell their public story to the world.
But we have become a dwindling planet, with waste. We are solving our lighting problems by deciding that when we want light, that is all we want, hence more energy efficient lighting. When we want heat then we find a more efficient way rather than rubbing electrons across the wires, for our birds in winter to keep their claws warm on.
The carbon footprint of cutting trees to read has become a leading issue in 'Green America' The fact that Mr. Jarvis has made this book an Ebook only is one of the results of this changing print to electron media transformation.
And in ending his book Mr. Jarvis says that what is resulting today, with the doors wide open for the knowledge that could explode to the most wonderful world we have ever witnessed is due to the expensive and massive expenditure of human industry in the development of the early printing presses!