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Posted April 27, 2001
Psst! Pass It Along!
This book is a thought-provoking look at the limits of information. I liked the book because it focused on many things that I don't normally think about, and raised important questions about my own use of information. For example, how can a software program find my preferences on the Web when I'm not sure what I'm looking for? How should I compare offers when I know very little about the people making the offers? Many aggressive pundits who favor the development of electronic communication and information tend to project that certain products and services will be totally replaced. For example, I have read forcasts that predict the end of printed books, universities, and various kinds of retail outlets in the next few years. The authors point out that many solutions and institutions will continue because they offer a social context that makes information more valuable. A historical analogy of the telephone is described in the book. Bell first put telephones in hotel rooms so people could call the front desk, a convenience over walking to the front desk to have the conversation. Later, he put telephones next to the counter in diners so that people could watch others using the telephone to learn how and why people were using it. Many people who see distance learning as replacing the university are forgetting that much education takes place outside of lectures, writing papers and taking tests. The university's social context will continue to be helpful with these other types of learning. How can that context to added to distance learning? One of the most interesting ideas in the book was the way that structure and structurelessness in information and uses of information can complement each other in creating bodies of perspective and experimentation. Normally, each of use thinks that only by adding more and more structure can more be achieved. This book makes the case for a more balanced approach is a persuasive way. The issues and examples are compelling, interesting, and thought-provoking. If you want to examine how you should adapt your own actions and those of your organization to the Internet, this book is essential reading! After you finish enjoying this book, I suggest you consider how you can structure the way you communicate to be more accessible to others. In doing so, be sure to consider how to make things looser to encourage imagination, as well as tighter to ensure understanding. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2001
Brown takes a critical look at all the hype surrounding the information age and provides a more tempered look at the balance between information-centric future and a human-centric future. In other words, behind the information there are humans who give context and meaning to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.