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Are we driving off a digital cliff and heading for disaster, unable to focus, maintain concentration, or form the human bonds that make life worth living? Are media and business doomed and about to be replaced by amateur hour?
The world, as Nick Bilton - with tongue-in-cheek - shows, has been going to hell for a long, long time, and what we are experiencing is the 21st-century version of the fear that always takes hold as new technology replaces the old. In fact, as Bilton shows, the digital era we are part of is, in all its creative and disruptive forms, the foundation for exciting and engaging experiences not only for business but society as well.
Both visionary and practical, I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works captures the zeitgeist of an emerging age, providing the understanding of how a radically changed media world is influencing human behavior:
- With a walk on the wild side—through the porn industry—we see how this business model is leading the way, adapting product to consumer needs and preferences and beating piracy.
- By understanding how the Internet is creating a new type of consumer, the “consumnivore,” living in a world where immediacy trumps quality and quantity, we see who is dictating the type of content being created.
- Through exploring the way our brains are adapting, we gain a new understanding of the positive effect of new media narratives on thinking and action. One fascinating study, for example, shows that surgeons who play video games are more skillful than their nonplaying counterparts.
- Why social networks, the openness of the Internet, and handy new gadgets are not just vehicles for telling the world what you had for breakfast but are becoming the foundation for “anchoring communities” that tame information overload and help determine what news and information to trust and consume and what to ignore.
- Why the map of tomorrow is centered on “Me”, and why that simple fact means a totally new approach to the way media companies shape content.
- Why people pay for experiences, not content; and why great storytelling and extended relationships will prevail and enable businesses to engage with customers in new ways that go beyond merely selling information, instead creating unique and meaningful experiences.
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Good for Initial Reading
If you have not read about and are wondering about social media, video games, and neuroplasticity this is an interesting place to start. If you have some background there are other books available from Audible which may contain greater insights. Even having listened to a number of related books, I still found tidbits of knowledge in this volume. The chapter on Swarm Intelligence, for example is readily available to the unitiated. The chapter on computer games and their effects on people is informative. In sum, this is a well written and wonderfully read book. If, however, you have read in the fields you might want to consider alternatives.
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Nothing I don't know
As an avid technology user, early adopter, and media addict this book failed to moved me or teach me anything I didn't already know. I discovered rather quickly that I wasn't the intended audience, and thus all Mr. Bilton's efforts are wasted on me. Like Bilton, I grew up with the early internet, playing video games, doing things simultaneously, avoiding homework, etc. It's not news at all. My grandmother, however, might enjoy it, as she is less aware of what "the kids" are doing.
Aside from the audience mismatch, I felt this book lacked the gripping stories of Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" or Chris Anderson's "Free". While Bilton is obviously very plugged in, I think he has a way to go before he becomes a heavyweight in the world of non-fiction pop-technology writing.
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