World Without Mind by Franklin Foer

World Without Mind

Franklin Foer reveals the existential threat posed by big tech, and in his brilliant polemic gives us the toolkit to fight their pervasive influence. Over the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperiled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. We shop with Amazo...

Details World Without Mind

TitleWorld Without Mind
Release DateSep 12th, 2017
PublisherPenguin Press
GenreNonfiction, Science, Technology, Business, Politics

Reviews World Without Mind

  • Charles
    Franklin Foer’s “World Without Mind” is an excellent book. It identifies important problems, ties the problems to their historical precedents, and suggests some reasonable solutions. The book is not complete, or perfect, but in the emerging literature of why and how to curb the power of giant technology companies, this book is a useful introduction, although there is a long way to go from here to there.Foer is primarily known as having been...
  • Tess Pfeifle
    Mark Crispin Miller says in his essay "Big Brother is You Watching", more or less, that no expression can wholly escape the moment that created it. Foer's, "World Without Mind" is no exception to that. However, the book acknowledges something important - the threat of big tech is not "new." I particularly enjoyed the historical treatment of the first half of the book because it was a completely new way of thinking about technology - for me, at le...
  • Marks54
    How to begin on this well-intended but not very successful effort at painting the dark side of Internet dominance by such firms as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and the like?- Oh Brave New World that has such platforms in it!Or perhaps ...- Former editor of the New Republic used to be a fan of the Internet and its New Age independent spirit. What he thinks about it now will blow your mind!Mr. Foer is concerned about the long term threats to ou...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Silicon Valley dreams of merging mind and machine. If, however, minds merge with machines it will also merge with the corporations that provide the platforms for those machines and corporations dream of monopoly. Monopolies love homogeneity and reliable revenue streams and finally control. This unpleasant syllogism is the logic of GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple etc.) The book focuses on intellectual property but we are living in a sci-...
  • Anita Pomerantz
    While I confess that I didn't agree with much of this book, I found it to be fascinating.Foer basically argues that companies that are dominating data collection (namely Facebook, Google, and Amazon) are monopolies because they are able to use that data to (unfairly) compete. He is critical of the fact that government has allowed these monopolies to evolve and that consumers are making a bargain with the devil, trading off freedom for efficiency....
  • Kusaimamekirai
    I’ve read some criticism of Foer and this book that it’s mainly an outgrowth of his bitterness about being fired from his job as editor of The New Republic (bitterness which he admits has lingered) and his being anti technology. It does certainly seem that in 2017 if you do not 100% worship social media or deign to criticize what it may be doing to society you are quickly labelled as backwards and wanting to go back to the Dark Ages of 20 yea...
  • Jonathan Maas
    An important book, but one that is difficult to read - because it holds up a mirror to our society and ourselvesI did not enjoy this book. I loved it, I recommend it, and Franklin Foer's insights are important - but this is not enjoyable.Why? Because it got me away from all the free services that I love - and showed me the cost of it. Some call it a mirror to the tech industry, I call it a mirror to ourselves - because isn't Big Tech a reflection...
  • Ietrio
    An old man and his fears. The good old times were better. But the old man is not smart enough to know the old times were better because they were past, hence easy to manage.Otherwise, a mindless primitivist statement. Same concerns were generated at every new item in the life of humans. The industrial was bad. But the poverty of today has a comfort few kings had only two centuries ago. The car was bad, but we all depend on it and even those hypoc...
  • Dillon
    This book was okay. He made some good points, but I think maybe overzealously and by over-simplifying.What follows is strictly representative of my own opinions of his work and are in no way indicative of the opinions of my employer, which, you’ll see below may or may not be relevant. First, he had some interesting things to say about the problem of information and the fact that Google and Facebook have become our gateway to information. The tr...
  • Reid
    It is difficult to overstate the timeliness of this extraordinary book. Though written with a minimum of hyperbole, Foer outlines in great detail the threat posed by the big tech companies and their addiction to and hegemony over Big Data, the mass of information they are constantly collecting and updating on each of us and on everything that goes on in the world. True visionaries, the founders of Google, Amazon, and Facebook are unequivocal in p...
  • Gary Moreau
    As a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the former editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer has had more than a front row seat during the battle between the digital and the print world over knowledge. He has been in the fray and has the scars to prove it.He is, as a result, more than a little resentful, a reality, however, that he readily admits, an admission in keeping with the culture of publishing nobility that the warriors of tech h...
  • Angie Boyter
    In the Prologue to this book, the author tells us he spent most of his career at the New Republic. When Chris Hughes, who happens to have been Mark Zuckerberg's college roommate, bought the paper, he made Foer editor and tasked him to remake the magazine into a modern publication, befitting the new millennium. He fired Foer 2 1/2 years later when the magazine could not meet Hughes' expectations. Foer says he hopes that this book "doesn't come acr...
  • Vince
    3.5 stars. An engagingly written and thoughtful examination of how American tech giants (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) have gained near monopolies on the accumulation of personal data, the size and scope of which has enabled them to control much of the information we receive and the media we read. This mass of data fed though complex algorithms allows them to exercise their power to control the hierarchy of search results, structure our News F...
  • C. Hollis Crossman
    The first half of World Without Mind is nothing short of beautiful. Franklin Foer, whose gnomic visage leers from the back flap, takes us on a rapid tour of the origins of the Internet and its culture (essentially a miniaturization of Fred Turner's From Counterculture to Cyberculture) before revealing just how much the big tech companies want to take from us and how little compunction they have in doing so. It's a rewarding, if somewhat breathles...
  • Brian Meehl
    In recent news it has come to light that savvy social media users have been (since 2015) buying “followers” and retweets by the tens and/or hundreds of thousands (at a penny per follower). These faux followers and retweets, easily generated by bots, are the latest glimpse into the unregulated, unscrupulous, and Wild West world of Big Tech. Facebook and Twitter are denying such a misuse of their platforms. No surprise there as "followers" and ...
  • Murtaza
    The proliferation of information on social media combined with the massive amounts of data being raked in by tech companies every day is eroding democracy, as well as the refined culture represented by traditional journalism and writing. Reflecting on the popular sentiment that "data is the new oil," in this book Foer describes how hegemonic companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have obtained a massive and largely unregulated ability ...
  • Wendy Liu
    His diagnosis of the problems posted by the tech giants is pretty good, but his solutions (which were, as far as I could tell, Baker-style dispersal of ownership and stronger IP law) are depressingly weak. He doesn't even touch on why state-enforced dispersal might not be feasible in today's world, both in terms of the current weakness of regulatory bodies (the FCC has lately been relaxing regulations, not strengthening them) and in terms of the ...
  • Dan Graser
    "When we read words on paper, we're removed from the notifications, pings, and other urgencies summoning us away from our thoughts. The page permits us, for a time in our day, to decouple from the machine, to tend to our human core."This fantastic quote should have formed the organizing telos of this work. However, Franklin Foer does not deliver on the title or subtitle of this work. There is a good amount of time wasted on telling you things you...
  • Ivy Reisner
    He lost his job for not being able to cope with the changes technology has brought to his industry, so rather than learn how to manage and capitalize on those changes, he wrote a book-length tirade. Where he talks about technology, he's either misleading or flat out wrong. I don't disagree with whomever determined he was not technically savvy as the situation has not improved.He wants a combination of two things. One, he wants the government to c...
  • Evangel
    The big 4 - GAFA...never heard of them? Yes you have. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple. Our lives are an open book these days thanks to social media, and though, there are 'known' privacy issues, I think we all assume these organizations have society's best at heart and really just want to make the world smaller, more connected, maybe friendlier? Not so much. This author, who has worked in the publishing industry as both an editor and writer, give...
  • Cait Flanders
    I really like the idea of this book, but the tone was a little "conspiracy theorist" for my taste (more on the negative side of what will happen, rather than offer any practical insights or solutions). Agree with the overall message, though. If we don't open our eyes to the fact that we get all our information from just a few websites, we will continue to be mindless consumers - and ultimately, give up control re: who we will become, as a result.
  • Jim Elyot
    Foer tells a compelling story of how journalism, authorship, and good writing in general are being quickly pushed aside in the name of convenience and cheapness. I challenge you to read this and not feel at least a little queasy, as to how much Facebook, Amazon, and Google know about us; about you.
  • Andrew Wallace
    An introspective look at the effect of tech companies power over us. Reaffirmed a lot of my concerns with certain companies.
  • Ivan
    If you work in an editorial role or are an author, you should read this book. But also a good read for anyone who buys on Amazon, scrolls through Facebook, or uses Google. Informative and haunting, from former New Republic editor. ‪If you work in an editorial role or are an author, you should read this book. But also a good read for anyone who buys on Amazon, scrolls through Facebook, or uses Google. Informative and haunting, from former New ...
  • Julie
    Quite thought provoking, but too many unsupported broad and extreme generalizations to lend much merit to his argument, which is, via his own admission, tainted by bias. Still, some very interesting point take to ponder.
  • Thijs Pepping
    ** spoiler alert ** Review + personal highlights:ReviewThe book is addressing two issues 1) the 'monopoly' position of the big tech companies needs to be examined 2) writers and journalism are degraded by digital technology and the companies in power. In my opinion Foer didn't succeed in turning these subjects into a cohesive train of thought. The book switches between important global problems which concerns all of us, to some unresolved persona...
  • Bernie
    I went to San Francisco once and went to the Cable Car (trolley) museum. Our guide told us how the trolleys "solved" the problem of slippery, hazardous and unsanitary conditions caused by the horse "exhaust" lying on steeply inclined roadways. Horse manure was a big problem! Cable cars could however only be extended efficiently in a limited area. Later, automobiles "solved" the problem in outlying areas. Living at the time of the introduction of...
  • Diogenes
    While human History is forever ongoing and in a constant state of flux, the powers-that-be which now reign from the initial metaphoric bloodbath of the Digital Age have transformed much of the world; or, more specifically, reshaped human behaviors in much of the world. While there are certainly positives to be drawn from this era, there is much to lambaste, because it is the “collective bad” that poisons individual minds, harms entire culture...
  • Rhys
    This is a very good book describing the threat of big data controlled by even bigger corporations. A more philosophical companion to Weapons of Math Destruction."The big tech companies—the Europeans have charmingly, and correctly, lumped them together as GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon)—are shredding the principles that protect individuality. Their devices and sites have collapsed privacy; they disrespect the value of authorship, with t...
  • Matt Schiavenza
    Franklin Foer's much-anticipated cri de couer against "big tech" delivers in some ways but falls short in others. I liked his critique of the vapid "information yearns to be free" ethos of the internet, one that Foer argues (persuasively) has undermined journalism. But Foer's book too often loses focus — it veers from a pointed assessment of contemporary tech to a more indulgent historical survey of Silicon Valley's ideological origins. In a lo...