Web resources related to the book,
You Are Not a Gadget
by Jaron Lanier
Please read these Frequently Asked Questions. (I am updating them as I get feedback about the book, so please check in on them from time to time.)
Some links related to the book:
Written by Jaron:
In the New Statesman (UK), memories of Silicon Valley
Recollections of 9/11 in an anthology (note this was done shortly after the attack, and my views have not remained fixed since then)
In The Atlantic On the Wikileaks saga, but really about the role of hacker culture in the world at large
NY Times piece on new religious ideas arising from technology culture (also available in Best Science and Nature Writing of 2011)
Future of human "specialness" in the Chronicle of Higher Education - with loads of troll comments that you might think I planted in order to make my point, but are for real so far as I know
These four things are connected via computer science: God, memory, money, and lying - Essay by Jaron in Playboy Forum (Not sure if this is "Safe For Work")
Reviews, interviews, profiles, etc. (there have been way to many to keep track of- this is just a sampling):
Radio and TV (once again, only a small sampling of recent examples):
My friends and I at my antediluvian Silicon Valley startup called VPL created the first avatars in Virtual Reality... that was quite a time.
Here's an interesting early press report and interview about the first avatars and improvised worlds in Virtual Reality
In the first printing (which only lasted three days) Ben Shneiderman's name was misspelled (as Schneiderman) - This is a bummer because I'd like more people to be aware of his work and contributions, even though he and I don't agree on everything.
For lecture engagements, please contact:
Steven Barclay Agency
12 Western Avenue
Petaluma, CA 94952
12 Western Avenue
Petaluma, CA 94952
Close up of the UK edition cover, to make the abridged version of the book's opening legible:
Blurbs on the back of the USA edition:
"Thrilling and thought-provoking . . .
A necessary corrective in the echo chamber of technology debates.
You Are Not a Gadget challenges many dominant ideologies and poses theoretical questions,
the answers to which might start with one bright bulb, but depend on the friction
of engaged parties. In other words, Lanier is acting like a computer scientist.
Let's hope he is not alone."
-John Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle
"Poetic and prophetic, this could be the most important book of the year.
The knee-jerk notion that the net as it is being developed sets us free is
turned on its head . . . Read this book and rise up against net regimentation!"
-Iain Finlayson, The Times (London)
"Inspired, infuriating and utterly necessary . . . Lanier tells of the
loss of a hi-tech Eden, of the fall from play into labour, obedience and faith.
Welcome to the century's first great plea for a 'new digital humanism' against
the networked conformity of cyber-space. This eloquent, eccentric riposte comes
from a sage of the virtual world who assures us that, in spite of its crimes and
follies, 'I love the internet.' That provenance will only deepen its impact,
and broaden its appeal."
-Boyd Tonkin, The Independent (London)
"Sparky, thought-provoking . . . This is good knockabout stuff, and Lanier
clearly enjoys rethinking received tech wisdom: his book is a refreshing
change from Silicon Valley's usual hype."
-Paul Marks, New Scientist
"Important . . . Highly relevant . . . An impassioned and original
critique of what the digital world has become . . . A much-needed
defence of the humanist values that are being trampled underfoot . . .
If ever there was an answer to the question, 'Who needs thinkers when
you have Wikipedia?', this book is surely it."
-John Stones, Design Week (UK)
"Provocative . . . [Lanier] confronts the big issues with bracing
directness . . . The reader sits up. One of the insider's insiders
of the computing world seems to have gone rogue."
-Sven Birkerts, The Boston Globe
"Lanier's detractors have accused him of Ludditism, but his argument
will make intuitive sense to anyone concerned with questions of
propriety, responsibility, and authenticity."
-The New Yorker
"From crowd-sourcing to social networking and mash-ups, Lanier dismantles
the tropes of the current online culture."
-Bloomberg.com, "Five Top Business Books" (so far this year)
"A call for a more humanistic-to say nothing of humane-alternative future
in which the individual is celebrated more than the crowd and the unique
more than the homogenized . . . You Are Not a Gadget may be its own best
argument for exalting the creativity of the individual over the collective
efforts of the 'hive mind.' It's the work of a singular visionary, and offers
a hopeful message: Resistance may not be futile after all."
-Rich Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg.com
"Lanier asks some important questions . . . He offers thoughtful
solutions . . . Gadget is an essential first step at harnessing
a post-Google world."
-Eli Sanders, The Stranger (Seattle)
"[You are Not a Gadget] delivers a powerful reminder of the
limits of the Web's capacity to meet our needs-and its power to
shape us to its will . . . Lanier speaks with urgency and inspiration . . .
He imagines a radically different Internet-one free of protocol and
control, in which liberation and originality are infinite and
self-sustaining . . . For its brevity and ambition, his book is a
marvelous antidote to our computerized complaisance. As You Are Not a Gadget
bounces from anecdote to thought experiment, picking up and plugging in a
dizzying array of ideas as if they were so many components in a big, beautiful
computer, Lanier furnishes us with a model for engaged and
thoughtful citizens of cyberspace."
-Matthew Battles, The Barnes & Noble Review
"A provocative and sure-to-be-controversial book . . . Lucid,
powerful and persuasive. It is necessary reading for anyone
interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are
reshaping culture and the marketplace."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Important . . . At the bottom of Lanier's cyber-tinkering is
a fundamentally humanist faith in technology, a belief that
wisely designed machines can bring us closer together by expanding
the possibilities of creative self-expression . . . His mind is
a fascinating place to hang out."
-Ben Ehrenreich, Los Angeles Times
"Persuasive . . . [Lanier] is the first great apostate
of the Internet era."
-David Wallace-Wells, Newsweek
"Lanier turns a philosopher's eye to our everyday
online tools . . . The reader is compelled to engage
with his work, to assent, contradict, and contemplate.
In this, Lanier's manifesto is not just a success, but
a meta-success . . . Lovers of the Internet and all its
possibilities owe it to themselves to plunge into
Lanier's [You Are Not a Gadget] and look hard in the mirror.
He's not telling us what to think; he's challenging us
to take a hard look at our cyberculture, and emerge
with new creative inspiration."
-Carolyn Kellogg, Flavorwire
"A must read for 2010."
"I am drawn to books written like Liza Minnelli sings: loud,
emotional, sentimental and unpredictable. Jaron Lanier's You
Are Not a Gadget falls into this category. Two people should
not read this book: Malcolm Gladwell and Chris Anderson. For
the rest of us, this monograph is the intellectual equivalent
of a trip to Blackpool. It is raw, raucous and unexpected. It
is also a hell of a lot of fun. ... For those who wish
to read to think, and read to transform, You Are Not a Gadget is
a book to begin the 2010s."
- Tara Brabazon, Times Higher Education
Go back to Jaron's home page.