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Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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"It's rare that a thirty-year-old has a memoir worth writing-let alone worth reading-but Alexis Ohanian's WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is an exception. This book is full of useful advice for entrepreneurs of all ages, and Alexis describes his remarkable accomplishments with an endearing combination of geekiness, enthusiasm, and sincerity."
-Nate Silver, author and statistician, FiveThirtyEight blog, New York Times
"WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION shows how anyone can use the power of the Internet to make the world a much cooler place to live."
-Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.
"Software is eating the world and WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION is your ultimate cookbook."
-Marc Andreessen, cofounder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz
"In WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION, Alexis Ohanian shows you how to share your great ideas with an unlimited world online. Ohanian charts a course for you to build a business, or create a following, or just expand your world and those of people you haven't even met. What you'll learn from Ohanian isn't taught in any school or in any modern curricula. It is the knowledge of the future-to create a better world."
- Soledad O'Brien, Journalist, CEO, Starfish Media Group
"Alexis talking about the internet is like Sid Vicious talking about punk. Analysts merely adopted it, but Ohanian was born in it, molded by it, and is the voice of it. A fascinating story, but more importantly: a crucial insight into the healthy proactive mindset of the tech startup world that will keep defining the future."
- Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, author of Anything You Want
About the Author
In additon to starting Reddit.com, Alexis Ohanian has also been instrumental in other successful online ventures, including HipMunk and BreadPig.
He lives in Brooklyn but remains a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins.
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Top customer reviews
If you're looking for a step-by-step guide on what to do to start the next major reddit or Facebook, you won't get that here. But I think that's intentional; you don't need explicit directions, just decide on a problem that you want to solve, and get to work. Personally a timely read for me, but really enjoyed the insight he shared along the way, and the argument he makes for keeping the internet free, open, and accessible to all (pointing out that today, while many of us take it for granted, it certainly is not).
I think it's a good read for anyone participating or interested in the "tech/startup life" - add it to your list.
I really wanted to like this book, but find it mediocre at best. Ohanian's tone is enthusiastic, but my expectations were totally different going into it. I bought this because I am a HUGE reddit fan and user and wanted to know more about its start-up phase, founding, and ongoing business issues. If you buy this thinking you'll get good advice on how to found and run your startup, think again - that's not here. Also, this is NOT a product development book (though he offers a few tidbits on prototyping, but they are nothing revelatory).
I agree with other reviewers in that the book is a mish-mash and fails on several levels: as a biography (it's not extensive enough); as a teaching lesson on how to emulate/approximate reddit's success (again, not extensive enough -- there's not enough detail here); or as a general primer on starting an internet company ("go find an incubator or like-minded individuals!"). He does provide solid examples of internet companies like Kickstarter, DonorsChoose.org etc. that solve real problems for their customers, but you can get that info from other sources as well.
I have to point out that I find it very odd that Aaron Swartz, who is often referred to as a co-founder of reddit, is mentioned NOWHERE in Ohanian's book. Intentional omission? Sure looks that way.