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Wired for Thought: How the Brain Is Shaping the Future of the Internet

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

    Fascinating read

    This is one of the most interesting books I have read in years. I received a preview copy and read it cover to cover in one day. I doubted the premise from the start but by the time I was done with the introduction, I was hooked.

    The book was easy to read yet dense with information. I have since read it two additional times and have taken so much from it. I highly recommend the book both as an general interest fun read as well as a practical guide to the Internet (and the brain).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Internet is a brain

    Stibel spends much of this book comparing the brain to the Internet. He does an excellent job outlining the evolution of the Internet and how it is very similar to the brain. It provides a good deal of in depth practical advice but it is far more interesting as a science book, since it focusses mostly on the nuances of the brain and the Internet. It left me wanting more, particularly about the future of the Internet--but I guess that is the mark of a good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing introduction to the parallels between the brain and the internet

    Brain scientist Jeffrey M. Stibel offers a bold, breezy examination of complex subjects related to his predictions about artificial intelligence and the future of the internet. He bases his forecasts on his understanding of the brain. Stibel moves smoothly among disciplines, writing confidently as a scientific observer. His useful perspective is interesting as well as entertaining. getAbstract believes a range of readers will find it relevant, including anyone intrigued by cyberculture, the internet's future or the possibility of artificial intelligence, those interested in the nature of humanity and where its limits reside and, of course, futurists and investors.

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Internet is a brain?

    I have read many books on the brain but very few that do so good a job integrating technology and business. And as a business book (it was published by Harvard Business), Wired for Thought is one the best I have read in a long while, because it gives you a broad perspective. If you are looking for a good comparison, Stibel is part Pinker, part Hofstadter, part Gladwell. If you like these types of authors, you will love this book.

    As for the review: Wired for Thought was an exciting book, to say the least. Right from the start, I was engrossed. Stibel starts off with a thought experiment that wonders if you could ever use your thoughts to control electrical devices such as computers. And just as you are in disbelief, he presents a technology developed at Brown University that actually is doing this (a microchip called BrainGate that is implanted into the disabled to allow them to control computers with their minds). This BrainGate technology really does exist which stunned me (and sucked me into the book).

    To be fair, the premise was tough to swallow initially. But Stibel convinced me through his examples, experience and research--the Internet really is a brain. Stibel spends much of the early part of the book on the philosophy and science of the brain. De-mystifying the brain (in his words). And he does a great job of it. To summarize, Stibel basically argues that the brain is a network of electrically charged neurons. He then goes on to compare that to the Internet, which is just a network of electrically charged computers. I really appreciated his simple writing and explanation of both the brain and the Internet, both of which I did not completely understand.

    The middle section of Wired for Thought is spent on outlining how the Internet is truly intelligent. Stibel uses examples from Amazon, Netscape, Netflix, and of course Google, Facebook and Myspace. The best chapter was probably the one on social networks, where he quite descriptively outlines how the entire field was founded and formed around the brain. It was actually an exhilarating read, learning how Friendster took over Classmates, Myspace took over Friendster, and how Facebook and Twitter now dominate the landscape (I read that chapter twice).

    The final section of the book is more forward looking. Stibel does a really good job outlining where he envisions the future of the Internet, without sounding cheesy or melodramatic. Personally, I wish the book spent more time on this as it was very interesting but hopefully that means a sequel is coming.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting, but not compelling.

    A fairly easy read, with an interesting hypothesis - that the net is attaining human-like consciousness and intelligence. The author's ego struck me as obtrusive, in a way that Randy Komisar (another Brown alumnus) avoided in "The Monk & the Riddle." Read Gazzaniga or Pinker if you really want to delve into human consciousness and the mind.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 17, 2009

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    Posted October 6, 2009

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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