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I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work & Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted Paperback – October 4, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
—Jonah Lehrer, author of the New York Times bestseller How We Decide
“Nick Bilton has written a rollicking, upbeat guide to the digital world—a peek into our near future, where news, storytelling, and even human identity are transformed. It’s a fascinating book from a man who has helped pilot the New York Times into a new age of online journalism. If you’re wondering—or worried—about the future of media, this is your road map.”
—Clive Thompson, Wired magazine columnist and contributing editor
“Bilton doesn’t just live in the future, he also understands the past. I Live in the Future explains how our communications tools shaped our present, how new tools are shaping our future, and what we should do to take advantage of all this opportunity.”
—Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
But the book was less about the "I live in the future and this is how it looks" and much more about the sub-title "Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted". The review of different current trends is nice for someone who's not involved in this fields already. So if the book wasn't called "I live in the future" it would be a good description of what it is and I'd probably wouldn't have been as disappointed.
So if you're looking for future trends this isn't the book for you (there are just a few highlights in that regard). If you're looking for some overview of the current trends then this is good enough.
Mr. Bilton would like to be a tech guru and prognosticator, and maybe he knows something more than what's in this book, but content-wise he just doesn't present any new ideas or unifying themes. The analysis doesn't go beyond what appear to be a series of blog-length commentaries stitched together. I would be surprised if there are companies out there who would take this seriously as a guide to future trends; it's just so surface-level and I can't see any real reason to see this as profound.
Problems are often in a complete misunderstanding of the arguments in the area (interpreting 3 hours of action video gaming as "long form" media), and more especially in a lack of ownership of ideas ("according to ...."). This would like to be a Malcolm Gladwell book, but while Gladwell brings simplicity to a complex topic, it's not just by dumbing things down, but by articulating real ideas -- whether you agree with him or not -- and bringing some substance to the debate while keeping things readable. What this book needs is a reason to exist besides being a career-promoting vehicle for a blogger.
In a nod to the subject, I tweeted my thoughts while reading the book on the train to work in the mornings. You can see the tweets by typing the following search string in Google: "site:twitter.com #ILiveInFuture".
The single most interesting point I found in the book I summarized in the following tweet:
"@nickbilton #ILiveInFuture New technology overwhelming our brains? Like written words did? Letters and words were also invented by man."
Almost everyone references Gutenberg when discussing disruptive technologies, but before reading #ILiveInFuture it has never occurred to me that the written word is a man-made invention. How would the technology naysayers cope if "technology" included their beloved written word? (a means to many of their livelihoods).
This isn't a book of answers; reading this book is a good way to get caught up the latest technologies, and stimulate your own thinking about their impact.
It takes along and broad view of how technology is changing culture and, in particular, media. It looks at the important 'slow' impact and delivers some important thinking in a provocative, fun wrtiting style that moves at a good clip. I devoured the book in one flight.
Alongside Shirky's 'Cognitive Surplus' and Kevin Kelly's forthcoming 'What Technology Wants' this is one of three important books this year that gives us a better map of the impact of technology. Well worth a read.
The Internet is certainly a good thing, but Bilton believes that all of technology (it's sometimes hard to differentiate the two in this book) is necessarily good, and goes out of his way to "prove" why this must be so. And like all fanatics what ultimately drives Bilton's fanaticism is his doubt.
The book is riddled with logical inconsistencies, and offers little in terms of nuance analysis and argument. Mid-way through the book, Bilton is discussing the bonding power of individuals and their mobile phone, and he uses a scientific experiment to explore love and bonding. In the experiment, mothers were taken away from their baby chimpanzees, leaving them isolated and depressed -- some even killed themselves. The researchers did put in a fake mother made of clothes, and the babies bonded closely with the fake mother. Researchers also discovered that deprived of real life contact, baby chimpanzees would seek to bond with just about anything -- even the cloth pads that lined their cages. There's a parable here --do we bond with our mobiles because of the loss of human connection in real life? -- but Bilton completely misses it, and glibly comments "Those findings also let psychologists to believe that connections to comforting objects can be as important as actual human physical contact".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the book itself. However, the condition I received the book in was not what I expected. The book had been shipped with the cover folded in half. Read morePublished 19 months ago by J. Mcginnis
I'm always attracted to books about technology, how it's impacting us now and where it's all going. Most disappoint. This one does too, but to a much lesser degree. Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by Dw2hite
This review was originally written for the hard cover edition and published on November 25, 2011
A counter balance to "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr. Read more
This book claims to be about how the future will work but it's more about what's going on now. If that's all you're looking for, just read TechCrunch or some other blog. Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by sean ozu
OK, I am biased in that I think the vast majority of reporters make lousy book authors since the two communication styles are very different. Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by Jagman
This book has many interesting descriptions of current technological developments especially in the area of digital communications. Read morePublished on December 3, 2011 by Shalom Freedman
Bilton's book has an interesting social dynamic blending his commentary with opions for other readers. Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by Mr Jonathan Barouch