Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: the kind of Internet primer you want to slide under your boss's door

By Cory Doctorow

John Naughton's latest book, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, What You Really Need to Know About the Internet, expands on his spectacular Observer feature article, "The internet: Everything you ever need to know, which I described as "a marvel of economy, the kind of primer you want to slide under your boss's door."

Gutenberg to Zuckerberg fills an important gap in the published literature of the Internet: a fast, thoughtful, thought-provoking read for intelligent people who don't quite get the Internet. We all know these sorts of people -- often powerful and accomplished, but at a disadvantage in that they got their start before the net came along. These people struggle to put the Internet in perspective, buffeted on the one side by colleagues who reassure them by telling them that the transformative nature of the net is overstated; on the other by juniors, analysts and press who tell them that they're doomed unless they rebuild their lives around the net.

Naughton, a seasoned business journalist, sums up the big, important effects that the Internet has in a very quick read, placing them in historical perspective, projecting to their plausible futures, warning of their imminent dangers. From copyright to collective action, from governance to ecommerce, Naughton's book sets out, in reasonable, measured tones, the systemic underpinnings of the net's disruptive power, and promises attentive readers the theoretical and practical grounding they need to separate hype from hope.

From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, What You Really Need to Know About the Internet

Published 6:22 am Thu, Jan 5, 2012

About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

17 Responses to “Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: the kind of Internet primer you want to slide under your boss's door”

  1. bbonyx says:

    I was *really* hoping this was going to be advice from 80’s mega-movie-icon Steve Guttenburg to Mark Zuckerberg on how to be successful. Drat!

    • Kibo says:

      >  I was *really* hoping this was going to be advice from 80’s mega-movie-icon Steve Guttenburg to Mark Zuckerberg on how to be successful. Drat!

      Zucker…Berg.

      Steve “Police Academy” Guttenberg in a film directed by David “Airplane!” Zucker and written by David “Mad” Berg.

      Come to think of it, this “Mad” Internet movie must’ve been in the works for a while, given that Prohias’s “Spy vs. Spy” characters look a lot like Trollface.  So whenever Trollface says “U MAD?” he’s virally promoting this “Police Academy”/ “Airplane!”/ “Mad” crossover. Or as the kids these days call it, a “mashup”. Not to be confused with that movie Robert Altman made with Russ Meyer, “M*A*S*H*Up!” This one’s wackier, and the sex isn’t as gratuitous.

      I will pay to see it, especially if it includes the old ethnic joke that ends with the Chinese guy punching Guttenberg and shouting, “Iceberg, Guttenberg, what’s the difference?”

  2. freshyill says:

    They’re forgetting someone.

  3. Marktech says:

    Anything in it about 3D printed robot heads?

  4. Please, please, please: Do not write “The Internet” — Internet is a proper noun, not a common noun. Do not use an article, please.

    • I’m on Internet? Internet is down? I can’t get on Internet? Whaaaa?

    • Frank W says:

      Ummm… It’s “the Internets”. Plural.

      • Xof says:

        I’ve always thought “the internets,” plural, was strange. The internet is the collection of networks that use the public IP address space; I’m not sure what an individual “internet” would be if there are more than one of them.

    • jb says:

      Usage trumps technical accuracy, for a word that in my mind shouldn’t be capitalized. We don’t capitalize the world, the solar system, the galaxy or the universe; why should we capitalize *the* (I use it defiantly) Internet?

    • A proper noun? You mean sort of like “the United Kingdom” or “the United States” or “the White House” or “the Kremlin” (or “the Incredible Hulk”)?

  5. colin says:

    Is this correct usage? “I can’t connect to Internets on iPad”

  6. kmoser says:

    Wasn’t this topic previously covered by the Cluetrain Manifesto?

  7. Wowbagger_Infinitley_Prolonged says:

    Does it include a section on the Elders of the Internet?

  8. juepucta says:

    There’s an old CBC video seomwhere form the early 90s that talks about this newfangled thing called Internet (capitalized and all). Back when Mansbridge had some hair.

    -G.

  9. perchecreek says:

    Gutenberg went bankrupt. His press was repossessed.

  10. Xof says:

    You’re right! It was tough! My result, right after I denied it the right to see my personal information and write on my wall:

    A PHP Error was encountered
    Severity: Notice
    Message: Undefined index: code
    Filename: controllers/welcome.php
    Line Number: 316

    Is that a high score?