Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as "the hacker ethic," that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today's digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.
Likening the internet transformation to the intellectual and technological ferment of the Enlightment, Rushkoff suggests we have a remarkable opportunity to re-integrate our new perspective with the work we actually do. Instead of running around trying to "think out of the box," Rushkoff demonstrates, now is the time to "get back in the box" and improve the way we do our jobs, run our operations and drive innovation from the ground up.
Combining stories gleaned from his consulting with a thrilling tour of history's dramatic moments and clever readings of cultural shift we've just experienced, Rushkoff offers a compelling vision of the simple and effective ways businesses can re-invigorate themselves.
Human society evolves. Change in technology, language, morality, and society is incremental, inexorable, gradual, and spontaneous. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum rather than being driven from outside; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error—a version of natural selection. Much of the human world is the result of human action but not of human design: it emerges from the interactions of millions, not from the plans of a few.
Drawing on fascinating evidence from science, economics, history, politics, and philosophy, Matt Ridley demolishes conventional assumptions that the great events and trends of our day are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or organized religion. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to and ter-mites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning happens without teaching, and morality changes for no reason other than the prevailing fashion. Although we neglect, defy, and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The Industrial Revolution, cell phones, the rise of Asia, and the Internet were never planned; they happened. Languages emerged and evolved by a form of natural selection, as did common law. Torture, racism, slavery, and pedophilia—all once widely regarded as acceptable—are now seen as immoral despite the decline of religion in recent decades. In this wide-ranging and erudite book, Ridley brilliantly makes the case for evolution, rather than design, as the force that has shaped much of our culture, our technology, our minds, and that even now is shaping our future.
As compelling as it is controversial, as authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s deeply thought-provoking book will change the way we think about the world and how it works.
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? Which should be feared more: snakes or french fries? Who really deserves credit for the recent drop in crime? In this groundbreaking book, leading economist Steven Levitt—Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and winner of the American Economic Association’s 2004 John Bates Clark medal for the economist under 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the discipline—reveals that the answers to such questions lie in economic theory, a field he is revolutionizing. Joined by acclaimed author Stephen J. Dubner, Levitt offers his most compelling ideas as he explores the basic questions of everyday life, reaching conclusions that have turned conventional wisdom on its head.
Brilliantly reasoned, told in compelling, forthright language, and filled with keen insight, What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common? remind us that economics is ultimately the study of incentives and competition—how people get what they want, or need, when others want or need the same thing.