Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

by Jeff Stibel
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Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book.  His look at network breakpoints in biology is fascinating, especially when it is then related into technology and social networks.  I hope that the folks at Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter and more take note!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually read technology books but a friend gave me this one. I was pleasantly surprised! So many interesting stories across a variety of topics. I think that anyone who likes a broad range of popular science will like reading this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually read non-fiction books, but I genuinely enjoyed this book.  Not only is it relevant to the technology and information driven world we live in today, but it is full of fun and interesting facts.  Instead of filling the pages with scientific jargon and arrogant language, Stibel makes the complex material simple and comprehensible for any reader.  His writing is clear, concise, and most importantly, it flows incredibly well from one topic to the next, making it hard to stop reading.  The book is, without a doubt, for anyone and everyone regardless of your interests and/or career!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book. Engaging with a deep dive into science and technology--a rare find and I couldn't put my nook down until it was finished. It is by far the best book I have read all year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, insightful, engaging. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves (their brain that is) and how the world is changing. The book reads like a non-fiction thriller in many ways and the writing style is something between a Malcolm Gladwell (Blink), a John Green (The Fault in our Stars) and a Dan Brown (Inferno). I bought this thinking it was mainly about what is happening on the internet and had hoped that I could learn about what it was doing to our brains. Breakpoint offers some really interesting points on the subject, similar to “How the internet is changing our Brain” by Nicholas Carr. But Breakpoint is so much more. The thing that really excited me was the deep comparison between animals and technology. I never really thought about it before but biology is really the same as technology. Stibel shows how ants are actually just “anternets,” deer migrate in the same way that we build highway systems, termites created air conditioning in Africa (without electricity of course) and many more examples. The author is a brain scientist so there is a ton of interesting facts about the brain. Our brains are not the biggest in the animal kingdom, they use far more energy than the value we get from them, the human brain has been shrinking for the past 20,000 years (this stunned me so much so that I looked up the source and it is true!). The primary argument in the book is that bigger isn’t better and Stibel finds examples of this throughout nature. He argues that all networks go through a BREAKPOINT, where it shrinks in size but increases in depth. This is what makes ants anternets, termites intelligent, and the brain so powerful. It is also what will make technology more powerful if only businesses will allow their networks to shrink instead of forcing them to grow too large. Stibel is also a recognized business leader and he spends considerable time warning other business people about Breakpoints. It seems that almost every company eventually goes out of business and most of the time it is because they allowed their customer networks or technology networks to grow too big. He predicted that Myspace would collapse and is now showing why Facebook may do so as well. The book shows how companies like Google and Yahoo will need to evolve to bring a better tool than search in the future. And I finally have a good understanding of what the Web and Internet are (they are two different things) and we each of them will hit a breakpoint (The Web already has according to Stibel). I liked his writing style and the business points were broadly applicable enough for me to purchase his previous book (Wired for Thought) which I am going to start later this month. Overall, I would recommend this book to just about any adult reader. It was fun, interesting, held me captive, and I learned a lot. Hillary Eggert
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 This book truly impressed me. It covered a lot of ground but did so in an elegant way. I was engaged from the beginning and my biggest gripe was that I wanted more by the end. It is not often that I think that and it compelled me to write my first ever review.  There are some sophisticated concepts between the pages for the science and technology-minded (and even for the science and technology phobic) but a general interest reader will have no problem with the subject matter and will enjoy the stories (why people resort to cannibalism) and unbelievable facts (12 homes consume more of the internet today than all homes did combined in 2008…the human brain has been shrinking in size for the past 20,000 years!). I am typically skeptical about books that make big claims on the cover but Breakpoint is one of the rare books that have surprised me by delivering. This is a deep science book that goes to great lengths to explain how networks evolve in nature. Using clever examples from the animal kingdom, Stibel takes a deep dive into some of the more interesting behaviors in nature. He explains how ant colonies develop intelligence, how populations of deer can flourish or parish, how termites invented air-conditioning, how sea squirts eat their brains. Most fascinating though is Stibel’s discussion about the human brain and how it is really a biological muscle similar to the technology that humans have created.  In all of these cases, Stibel makes a convincing argument that all of these social animals go through a period of rapid growth, then hit a breakpoint where they must shrink, and only after that point can the animal truly evolve greater powers (intelligence, strength, or whatever). This point alone is truly remarkable and as a biologist, it is something I completely overlooked. What fascinated me more though was the book’s comparison of biology to technology. It is one thing to compare the brain to technology (it actually makes it easier to understand our biology when we have a strong analogy) but it is quite another thing to compare the development of technology to the evolution of biology. When I started the book, as I said, I was skeptical, but by the time I finished, I became a convert to this line of thinking. It really is the case that technology can evolve and that we can learn how to do so by looking to biology.  Steve Smoley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly fascinating read. Stibel is a brain scientist but he is not your typical scientist, his writing style is engaging and easy to read. Breakpoint gives us insight to the workings of biological networks, such as ant colonies and our brains and the similarities to the internet network. Ultmatly lending us great insights to how large companies will need to evolve in the future as search will change, networks will grow and some implode, consumers will search differnetly for information etc. Very thought provoking for me.
popscipopulizer More than 1 year ago
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, August 6. This is not a book about the end of the internet, as the controversial title may seem to suggest. Rather, it's a book about networks (meaning a group of interconnected people or things) and how networks evolve; and its main focus is on internet-related networks and the internet itself (which is one enormous network). The author, Jeff Stibel, argues that there are certain natural laws that govern the unfolding of networks, and that understanding these laws can help us understand how the internet (and other internet-related networks) are likely to evolve over time, and also how we should approach these networks in order to get the most out of them (including make money off of them). When it comes to the evolution of a network, Stibel argues that there are three main stages here: 1) Growth; 2) Breakpoint and 3) Equilibrium. In the growth phase, the network grows in size, usually at a very quick (often exponential) pace. This is a precarious time for networks, for if they do not grow fast enough and large enough they will simply wither away and die (the vast majority of networks do in fact die at this stage). When it comes to the internet--the network that is the focus of the book--we learn that this network is still in its growth phase, and thus it still has much evolving to do before it reaches maturity. Specifically, the internet must still grow beyond its carrying capacity, reach its breakpoint, and collapse back to equilibrium. What this means is that the internet stands to go through some very significant changes in the coming years. Drawing on evidence from other networks, Stibel seeks to chart out what is likely to happen to the internet (and other internet-related networks) as it passes through its various phases on its way to equilibrium. Stibel predicts that the journey will feature some real growing pains, but that ultimately the internet will emerge better and smarter than ever (and may even develop consciousness). The point of view that the author brings is very unique and interesting. His argument is also very persuasive. The one area where I felt the book fell short is in exploring the implications of what an intelligent and even conscious internet would look like. Will the internet just function in a way that it appears to exhibit intelligence and consciousness (as an ant colony does), or will it actually be intelligent and conscious (as a brain is)? Perhaps the author himself does not know, but if this is the case, he should at least say so. Instead, the author is very ambiguous here, and plays with the idea that the internet will actually be conscious, without fully committing to this or drawing out the implications thereof. Still, a highly entertaining and interesting read. A full executive summary of the book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, August 6.