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Makers Hardcover – October 27, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765312794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765312792
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Remember "The Graduate"? Benjamin, a child of privilege, has no idea what to do with his life. At his graduation party, a colleague of his father's pulls him aside, and says "I have one word for you: plastics."

The rest of the movie isn't about that, of course, but about Benjamin's sexual and romantic exploits. But in some parallel universe, perhaps a different version of "The Graduate" exists, where Benjamin follows his father's colleague's advice, goes into plastics, becomes an inventor, strikes out on his own, and winds up rebelling not against Mrs. Robinson, but Exxon, or GE or IBM.

"Makers" is the closest thing in this universe to that version. It is youthful and exuberant, but also world-weary and wise, and freshly of-the-moment. Part I is a head-spinning avalanche of incident and invention, Part II, a meditation on failed revolutions, Part III the battle plan for a hard-fought, ambiguous, but plausible victory.

The book is many things: let me point out three. One: it is a catalogue of brand-new desirable products. My personal favorite is the lego-block-shaped ice-cubes. I want them so badly. You'll have your own favorites, I am sure. You'd have to go back to "American Psycho" for so many wonderful things to buy on each page. But "Makers" is much hipper: genuine cool versus ironic-cool.

Two: it is a detailed, extremely plausible, and only thinly disguised history of the dot-com bubble and the intellectual property wars since the World Wide Web came into being. It is thus simultaneously about the near future and the recent past. In other words, it is about this minute.

Third: it's the best popular business book I've ever read, better than "The Tipping Point," better than "Freakanomics," better than "The Black Swan.
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Format: Hardcover
I won't summarize the plot since so many others have already done that. What I'll offer is a warning: It's apparent that Doctorow knows his science. What he doesn't grasp in this book are characters.

If you're a tech geek, you'll probably enjoy the book. All the bits about gizmos hold ones interest briefly, but after very few pages, I needed more humanity.

Doctorow's characters are as mechanical as his technology. I'm hardpressed to say I liked a single character, let alone can remember any of their names. That's depressing considering the vast amount of time I just committed to reading this book.

Final Analysis:

If you're into hard SF where the characters are secondary to the big idea, you might like this book.

If you need some flesh-and-blood people to populate your fictional worlds, this book isn't for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well... what can I say. I had high hopes for the book from the blurbs. The sad part is I really wanted to like it, and Part I does start out rather well and interesting. Unfortunately, in Parts II and III the novel quickly devolves into a predictable narrative full of stereotypical and bland characters and a rather adolescent anti-authoritarian pitch. Corporations are evil, lawyers are evil, business in general is evil, while narcissistic 'genius' slackers and misunderstood goth kids are of course the downtrodden revolutionaries that are unfairly being persecuted for wanting "to do cool stuff".

What this "cool stuff" actually is, the novel never really does a good job of imagining because all of the supposed inventions, on consideration, fail to live up to their in-narrative hype. While fiction is allowed much leeway, a work dedicated to technology, and one that tries to be so explicit about all of its gadgets, at least ought to provide what it advertises- neat technology. But absent ground breaking ideas, when the narrative started throwing around 'billion dollar' deals, the 'next big thing', the 'next New Deal' etc. my suspension of disbelief utterly collapsed. And no, bloggers don't shape the world, sorry. Considering the actual tech marvels that are currently being cranked out at an incredible pace, the things this book extols as groundbreaking appear laughable, at best something that belongs in a modern version of 19th century Paris "Arcades", or simply modern carnival chachkas.
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Format: Hardcover
I won an Advance Uncorrected Proof of this book. Just like everyone else, I love winning things, especially ARCs. So when I first started it, I didn't really have any expectations. Of course, the fact I only managed to read about twenty pages before setting the book down for the night led me to believe it would take a long time to finish it. Not so. The next night I managed about another twenty pages--not so hard to believe as small font, long pages and I only spent about an hour reading. The third night I read fifty pages and hated to stop. By that time, Cory Doctorow literally grabbed me and pulled into the story. I got so caught up in the lives of these five people that I hated to stop reading. First off, we have Suzanne Church, a journalist in a press conference given by Landon Kettlewell, new owner of Kodacell--a merging of Kodak and Duracell. A brilliant, manic man who's not happy unless he has some crisis to solve. Kettlewell ends up talking Suzanne into covering his idea of investing money in small groups of entrepreneurs. And so Suzanne ends up meeting Lester and Perry--two brilliant men with zany ideas who make things from garbage. Then Tjan joins them as the "suit" or management. This whole concept of "New Work" takes off. Suzanne ends up quitting the paper and blogging. When New Work tanks, Lester and Perry don't just sit around, they come up with newer and zanier ideas and Suzanne goes off to Russia--the new metropolis of cosmetic surgery.
I really loved MAKERS. The characters are all bigger than life and very easy to fall in love with. Of course, the villains are all easy to hate too, well, except for Sammy Page. Felt a bit ambivalent about him. The action is non-stop and the way Perry and Lester, and even Suzanne react to the world around them is awe-inspiring.
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