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

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

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  1. 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!

    1. >  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?”

      1. 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.

    1. 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?

  2. 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.

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