Move Fast and Break Things

Move Fast and Break Things

How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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*The book that started the Techlash*

A stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the Internet by Google, Facebook and Amazon, and that proposes a new future for musicians, journalists, authors and filmmakers in the digital age.

Featured in New York Times' Paperback Row
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice An Amazon Best Business & Leadership Book of 2017
Longlisted for Financial Ti mes/McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2017 A strategy+business Best Business Book of 2017
Move Fast and Break Things is the riveting account of a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs who in the 1990s began to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms--Facebook, Amazon, and Google--that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.

Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: overlooking piracy of books, music, and film while hiding behind opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users in order to create the surveillance-marketing monoculture in which we now live.

The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70 percent; book publishing, film, and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Today, Google's YouTube controls 60 percent of all streaming-audio business but pay for only 11 percent of the total streaming-audio revenues artists receive. More creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is flowing to the creators and owners of that content.

The stakes here go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, as well as music and other forms of entertainment, from a small group of companies poses a real threat to democracy. Move Fast and Break Things offers a vital, forward-thinking prescription for how artists can reclaim their audiences using knowledge of the past and a determination to work together. Using his own half-century career as a music and film producer and early pioneer of streaming video online, Taplin offers new ways to think about the design of the World Wide Web and specifically the way we live with the firms that dominate it.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316275774
Branch Call Number: 303.483 Tap
Characteristics: x, 308 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jun 19, 2017

***********30 Starred Review************
This is a fantastic book and I heartily recommend it! The author makes many fantastic points and most cogently and lucidly - - outstanding! But . . . . I do have some fantastic criticisms of this book. He gets Bezos and Amazon perfectly right - - he recounts the origin of Apple and the MacIntosh most accurately [first I've seen in print to date] - - but he writes about Hamilton and Jefferson and gets it completely backwards; it was Jefferson the elitist and Hamilton of the people - - regardless of historical revisionism he haplessly repeats!
I believe the author misses some truly Big Stuff - - but believe he is moving in the proper direction! He writes of George Gilder, but doesn't mention [probably isn't aware] that Gilder was the adopted son of David Rockefeller! He writes about Peter Thiel and correctly identifies Thiel's hypocrisy on crony capitalism, yet doesn't mention the supreme example of such [probably isn't aware] - - that Thiel sat on the board of the American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc. with David Rockefeller [recently deceased] and Henry Kissinger and Jessica Mathews and Richard Perle and that it was Perle who introduced him to Adm. Poindexter, whose Total Information Awareness had been thrashed by Congress and public outrage, and who steered CIA financing to Thiel's Palantir.
The author repeats the mythology of the break-up of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil - - NEGATIVE! It only happened on paper - - the Attorney General Bonaparte [descendant of a more famous Bonaparte] issued the decree that it be separated into distinct business entities and then Rockefeller's attorney, Dodd [ancestor to Thomas Dodd and his son Christopher Dodd], created holding companies and moved their ownership and stock to various foundations recently created by Rockefeller, avoiding taxation and hiding ownership and wealth. [Same attorney general created the Bureau of Investigation to destroy the growing socialist political movement, dispatching jackbooted thugs to shut down their printing press and beat them to a pulp - - later the BI would be called the FBI.]
The original major investor in Apple and Intel [and I've heard Microsoft, but never been able to verify] was the Rockefeller family - - are they still major investors? Who knows - - Wall Street has been making it evermore difficult to discover who the owners are; the last major push came in 1993, shortly after Clinton was elected president, when the SEC dropped the requirement for the major investment firms to list their major investors. Could this have been payback by Clinton to the Blackstone Group which provided his presidential campaign with free office space and donations? [The cofounder of the B.G. was David Rockefeller protege, Peter G. Peterson and the Blackstone Group was founded with Rockefeller seed money.]
The author ends with some confusing stuff about NPR and PBS - - where previously he had covered [and correctly, IMHO] the perfidy of the Koch brothers, he appears ignorant that since 2008 the Koch brothers have mostly financed [93%] the WGBH Educational Foundation, which owns PBS [Frontline, PBS News Hour, et cetera] and PRI, which is the major source of NPR shows, and the Kochs do spike shows and documentaries not to their liking [and NPR and PBS are just as propagandistic as Fox and CBS, for gosh sakes!].
American Public Media is financed by the oldest private real estate firm in America [out of Chicago], and the other NPR show provider - - whose name has slipped my memory - - was so difficult to unravel the financing of, I gave up on!
[Stunning learning of the firing of Maria Pallante during the Obama Administration! And how her actions MIGHT have affected ISIS message?!?!?!?]

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