A big, sprawling, and alarming case for “the darkening of the digital dream.” This will appeal to specialists; general...



An argument that Google and other internet-based firms are creating a new form of capitalism based on the monetizing of human experience.

“Digital connection is now a means to others’ commercial ends,” writes Zuboff (Business Administration/Harvard Business School; In The Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, 1988). In a 2014 essay, the author first described the “profoundly undemocratic social force” she calls surveillance capitalism. In this exhaustive, often repetitive elaboration, the author defines the concept as “a new market form that claims human experience as a free source of raw material for hidden commercial practices.” Later in the book, she elaborates: “Every casual search, like, and click [becomes] an asset to be tracked, parsed, and monetized by some company.” This relentless search for and use of personal data is not happenstance or an inevitable result of digital technology. Rather, it is a “calculated,” little-noticed pursuit by commercial interests—acting under the guise of a utopian vision for the internet—to create “prediction products” that “anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later” and are traded in the marketplace. Invented by Google, adopted by Facebook and Microsoft, and with evidence that Amazon engages in it, the “unprecedented” market form is poised to become the “dominant” shape of capitalism, abrogating “the peoples’ right to a human future.” The shift from “serving users to surveilling them” occurred at a time of diminished government oversight and regulation and the post–9/11 emphasis on security over privacy. Based on research and interviews, the author thoughtfully examines the economic and philosophical implications of surveillance capitalism; warns that our children, in their ceaseless quest for connectivity, are harbingers of what lies ahead; and urges public outrage over the theft of our humanity. Other topics include Pokémon Go and behaviorist B.F. Skinner and his acolytes.

A big, sprawling, and alarming case for “the darkening of the digital dream.” This will appeal to specialists; general readers will wish it were much shorter.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-569-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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