The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

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9780393333947: The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

"Future Shock for the Web-apps era.... Compulsively readable―for nontechies, too."―Fast Company

Building on the success of his industry-shaking Does IT Matter? Nicholas Carr returns with The Big Switch, a sweeping look at how a new computer revolution is reshaping business, society, and culture. Just as companies stopped generating their own power and plugged into the newly built electric grid some hundred years ago, today it's computing that's turning into a utility. The effects of this transition will ultimately change society as profoundly as cheap electricity did. The Big Switch provides a panoramic view of the new world being conjured from the circuits of the "World Wide Computer." New for the paperback edition, the book now includes an A–Z guide to the companies leading this transformation.

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About the Author:

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Glass Cage, among other books. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Wired. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Review:

“Starred Review. Carr created a huge rift in the business community with his first book, Does IT Matter?, challenging the conventional wisdom that information technology provides a competitive advantage. Here he examines the future of the Internet, which he says may one day completely replace the desktop PC as all computing services are delivered over the Net as a utility, the Internet morphing into one giant 'World Wide Computer.' ... Carr warns that the downside of the World Wide Computer may mean further concentration of wealth for the few, and the loss of jobs, privacy, and the depth of our culture.”
- Booklist

“Quick, clear read on an important theme ... Scary? No doubt. But as we prepare for the World Wide Computer, it's not a bad idea to consider its dark side.”
- Business Week

“[W]idely considered to be the most influential book so far on the cloud computing movement.”
- Christian Science Monitor

“'Information is born free, but everywhere is found in chains.' So Nicholas Carr―in his latest and characteristically stimulating challenge to conventional thinking about technology―might have paraphrased Rousseau.”
- Democracy

“Carr is one of the more cogent writers on the economic and social implications of the changes sweeping through corporate data centres.”
- Financial Times

“An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.”
- GigaOm

The Big Switch explains the future of computing in terms so simple I can understand them.”
- Ed Cone, Greensboro News-Record

“Carr stimulates, provokes and entertains superbly.”
- Information Age

“A leading technological rabble-rouser prognosticates a world beyond Web 2.0. [Carr's] broader sociological observations are punctuated by a pair of ominously prescient chapters about privacy issues and cyberterrorism.”
- Kirkus Reviews

“Carr may take a somewhat apocalyptic view of the vast technological and social issues which a move to utility computing will raise, not least those of privacy, ownership and access, but he makes a compelling case for its desirability in a world where the network is pervasive. Whether we go gently into this world is, of course, up to us, but with the insight offered here we will at least be prepared to understand the consequences of our choices earlier in the process rather than later.”
- New Humanist

“[#4 on Newsweek's "Fifty Books For Our Times":] You've heard of 'cloud computing,' but let's be honest, you really don't know what it means. Or why it's going to change everything.”
- Newsweek

“Nick Carr has written a meditation on the loss of the old when confronted by the new, the loss of the incumbents' advantage when history shifts under them, the loss of data control to third parties, and the loss of sovereignty to institutions and other actors we can't control.”
- Public CIO

“Carr’s analysis of the recent past is clear and insightful as he examines common computing tools that are embedded in the Internet instead of stored on a hard drive, including Google and YouTube.”
- Publishers Weekly

“Magisterial ... Draws an elegant and illuminating parallel between the late-19th-century electrification of America and today's computing world.”
- Salon

“While technological innovation is largely the creation of idealistic geniuses spurred on by utopian visions, Carr points out, it is rapidly co-opted by the incumbent in power and turned to other purposes ... Technology may be the ultimate tool or even the ultimate psychedelic, but do we really want to become utterly dependent on something about which we have essentially no say? And as for those Utopian visions, do we really share them?”
- San Francisco Chronicle

The Big Switch ... will almost certainly influence a large audience. Carr persuasively argues that we're moving from the era of the personal computer to an age of utility computing - by which he means the expansion of grid computing, the distribution of computing and storage over the Internet, until it accounts for the bulk of what the human race does digitally. And he nicely marshals his historical analogies, detailing how electricity delivered over a grid supplanted the various power sources used during most of the 19th century ... I also suspect he's right to suggest that in a decade or so, many things we now believe permanent will have disappeared.”
- Technology Review

“Persuasive, well-researched, authoritative and convincing....He's reasonable in his conclusions and moderate in his extrapolations. This is an exceedingly good book.”
- Techworld

The Big Switch is thought-provoking and an enjoyable read, and the history of American electricity that makes up the first half of the book is riveting stuff. Further, the book broadly reinforces the point that it's always wise to distrust utopias, technological or otherwise.”
- The New York Post

“The first serious examination of 'Web 2.0' in book form.”
- The Register

“Considered and erudite.”
- The Telegraph

“Mr. Carr's provocations are destined to influence CEOs and the boards and investors that support them as companies grapple with the constant change of the digital age.”
- The Wall Street Journal

“Lucid and accessible ... [Carr's] account is one of high journalism, rather than of a social or computer scientist. His book should be read by anyone interested in the shift from the world wide web and its implications for industry, work and our information environment.”
- Times Higher Education Supplement

“Mr. Carr is always interesting.”
- Washington Times

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