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Small Pieces Loosely Joined
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Top Customer Reviews
"Small Pieces" tries to ask just that question: What is the Web? Not to say that Weinberger doesn't know (he does), but in trying to formulate an answer with "Small Pieces", he offers few new insights. There's nothing in this book that will hit the reader like a ton of bricks, especially if he or she has any degree of Web experience.
Indeed, while well-written and informative, the bulk of the content is a rehash of earlier Internet thinkers like Clifford Stoll, Nicholas Negroponte, Eric Raymond, Howard Rhiengold and even Jeremy Rifkin. Old-school netizens will be particularly disappointed, especially since the tone of the book comes disturbingly close to the technlogy-will-change-everything breathelessness of the dotcom days.
"Small Pieces", however, has its merits -- particularly in Weinberger's writing style. In that vein, "Small Pieces" makes a good beach book... and it's also good for those new to the Web (or at least those who are critically thinking about it for the first time). But if you really want to learn what the Web's all about, get surfing and build your own website. Like learning how to ride a bike, the only way to learn the Web is by hopping on the seat and risking a few skinned knees.
In this slender, very readable and sometimes laugh-out-loud book, Weinberger examines the meaning, impact and use of the Internet with great insight and wisdom. He left me understanding how profoundly important the Internet is and how deeply it is affecting our society. It's not just another technological advance...it changes everything.
I realize that some people just don't get it, won't get it and can't get it, despite the crystal clarity of Weinberger's prose. But some people never get it.
Even Alexander Graham Bell was initially convinced the phone would be best used for transmitting music over long distances and I believe there was a fellow by the name of Watson who predicted the US would never need more than five computers. If Weinberger had been around then and writing books about telephoine and computers, they might have better understood the potential of their creations.
If you want to understand what the Internet means for us today and what it might mean tomorrow, I can think of no better basis than "Small Pieces Loosely Joined." His ideas will resonate in your mind long after you've finished the book.
I've been watching the web since its inception, so many of Weinberg's concepts and connections were familiar. The ideas made me think of Kevin Kelly's "Out of Control", which was a 1994 exploration of decentralized systems. Kelly looked at mathematics, biology, hardware and software, but was too early to consider the powerful influence the web would have. Weinberger brings similar thinking to the web.
The author describes media coverage of the Web in 1995 as being "at its most hysterical". Seven years later, the author's own writing comes across as way too over-excited about something that's just not that exciting nor significant. That said, I still cringe today whenever someone says or writes "that's what the Internet is like" (or something similar) as if "the Internet" is a meaningful construct apart from the world. It isn't. It's no more apart from the world as the "Spanish-speaking" or "telephone-using" or "car-driving" or "left-handed" aspects of the world are. Usually the reason "the Internet" is singled out as if it's a different planet is because of behavior. People sometimes behave differently when interacting via digital media than they do when they're standing in front of you. But that's also true of people using telephones, or cars, or shouting at you through a locked door. These slight modifications of behavior as a function of circumstance and medium is not unique to the Web, and it's uninteresting and incidental.
This author seems pretty smart. With a bit of training I think he'd make a good writer. I would encourage him to find out what the words "antisocial" and "unsociable" mean so that he can comment about the New York Times' abuse of them instead of just aping that abuse.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not much worth reading here if you've been paying attention to (or more so, working in) web development over the past 5-10 years.Published on June 2, 2012 by Amazon Customer
This quirky book is fascinating in its probe of organization: of information, of thought, of our lives. Read morePublished on August 4, 2010 by Susan H. Borwick
David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined is a modern classic. And while it had inspired my own writing about the Internet, I had somehow failed to share that fact with... Read morePublished on October 3, 2008 by Bob Magnant
My first comment is that in 2008, the book is a bit dated. I'd like to see an updated version in 2012 or so because I feel the social and philosophical statements are fundamental... Read morePublished on February 2, 2008 by Darryl Parker
Rather unique combination of deep insight, new angles awash, solid theory, all the sources, splendid language, passion and humour. What else can you ask for?Published on August 7, 2007 by Bo Harald
This really is an odd book. The best way that I can describe it is like Tom Wolfe revising a manuscript of which portions were written by Marshall McLuhan and others by Ray... Read morePublished on December 5, 2004 by Robert Pratte
"Small Pieces Loosely Joined" is one of the books that I was really excited to read. Great subject. Great author. Read morePublished on September 7, 2004 by J. David Evans
This is a great book that helps define what the internet is and how it is effecting our lives. This book provides great insight and gets you thinking about what we do every day on... Read morePublished on June 7, 2004 by Will Rodriguez
A confusing little book - from all the hype you'd think there was some earth-shattering discovery enclosed therein. Read morePublished on January 4, 2004 by Keith Appleyard