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A timely and powerful must-read on how the big tech companies are damaging our culture – and what we can do to fight their influence

A timely and powerful must-read on how the big tech companies are damaging our culture – and what we can do to fight their influence
Four titanic corporations are now the most powerful gatekeepers the world has ever known.
We shop with Amazon, socialise on Facebook, turn to Apple for entertainment, and rely on Google for information. They have conquered our culture and set us on a path to a world without private contemplation or autonomous thought: a world without mind.

In this book, Franklin Foer makes a passionate, deeply informed case for the need to restore our inner lives and reclaim our intellectual culture before it is too late. At stake is nothing less than who we are, and what we will become. It is a message that could not be more timely.

Reviews

World Without Mind is an argument in the spirit of those brave democracy protestors who stand alone before tanks. Franklin Foer asks us to unplug and think. He asks us to recognize and challenge Silicon Valley’s monopoly power. His book is a vital response to digital utopianism at a time when we desperately need new ethics for social media.

Steve Coll

A provocative, enlightening, and above all, important book that is asking the most important question of our times. It is nothing less than an examination of the future of humanity and what we like to call ‘free will.’ It is also a good read – Foer writes with an engaging vibrancy that makes the book a page-turner.

Tim Wu

Franklin Foer’s World Without Mind is a fascinating biography of the biggest players in big tech – a handful of humans that, through their decisions, govern the lives of seven billion tech consumers. Foer shows that these decisions are robbing us of our humanity, our values, and our ability to grapple with complexity. World Without Mind is an important and urgent book that should be required reading for anyone who’s ever shopped on Amazon, swiped the screen on an Apple device, or scrolled through the Facebook newsfeed – in short, for all of us.

Adam Alter

As the dust settles from the great tech upheavals of the early 21st century, it turns out that the titans of Silicon Valley have not ushered us into a utopia of peace and freedom. Instead, as Foer so convincingly shows, by monopolizing the means of distribution, they have systematically demonetized and degraded the written word. World without Mind makes a passionate, deeply informed case for the need to take back culture – knowledge, information, ideas – from the Facebooks and Amazons. Its message could not be more timely.

William Deresiewicz

Essential reading - while we still know what reading is - Foer's terrifying analysis of the cyber state we're in is both portrait gallery of the robber barons, the monopolists, the tax dodgers and the fantasists who own the data troughs from which we feed, and passionate plea for the retention of those values of privacy, nonconformity, contemplation, creativity and mind, which the Big Tech companies are well on their way to destroying, not out of cynicism but the deepest ignorance of what a person is and why individuality is indispensable to him. This book leaves us in no doubt: no greater threat to our humanity exists.

Howard Jacobson

A sustained and perceptive critique from a humanist perspective of what the big tech companies are doing to our culture ... World Without Mind thus joins a lengthening list of blistering critiques of our networked world ... What sets it apart is the style and verve of the writing ... World Without Mind is full of sharp insights, elegantly expressed.

John Naughton, Literary Review

The book flits between history, philosophy and politics and politics, but it is also a first-hand tale… His recounting of this clash between old and new media is authentic and absorbing.

The Economist

[An] elegant polemic against the power and ambition of the big tech companies… Foer argues passionately that we are sleepwalking into a world where “we’re constantly watched and constantly distracted”… It’s Silicon Valley’s world. We just live in it.

Helen Lewis, Sunday Times

Foer conjures concise, insightful psychological profiles of each mover-and-shaker, detailing how they've mixed utopianism and monopolism into an insidious whole … World Without Mind is a searing take, a polemic packed with urgency and desperation that, for all its erudition and eloquence, is not afraid to roll up its sleeves and make things personal.

NPR.org

Foer’s denunciation of online journalism, which comes in his book’s best chapter, is powerful… His book comes as a rousing recommendation of a subscription model newspaper that avoids the ravages of virality.

Hugo Rifkind, The Times

Foer’s writing is deft enough to make this a polemic in the best sense of the word, which is to say a relentless intellectual argument, executed in the tradition of George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens.

Jon Gertner, Washington Post Sunday

An uncanny prophecy of big tech’s public reckoning.

Tom McCarthy, Guardian

Now, suddenly, it’s open season in Silicon Valley… Franklin Foer’s World Without Mind belongs to this turn. And it couldn’t have appeared at more opportune moment… Foer is writing for a readership that is ready to re-evaluate the role technology plays in their lives, and to pay closer, less credulous attention to the companies that are building it… Your receptiveness to these claims will probably have a lot to do with how technology has touched your life. Foer is candid about how it’s touched him. He writes as someone with skin in the game.

Ben Tarnoff, Guardian

The backlash against Silicon Valley has resulted in a flood of critical books, and Franklin Foers World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Data is one of the most trenchant, with a sustained attempt to shed some light on the distinctive culture of the digital revolution.

John Fanning, Business Plus

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784707347

    October 15, 2018

    Vintage

    272 pages

    RRP $24.99

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