Morozov, Lanier, and the intelligent reading of books and critiquing of ideas

Much ink has been spilled in recent weeks about two new books,¬†To Save Everything, Click Here by Evgeny Morozov and Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier, taking very different approaches to criticism of our collective behavior on the Internet. Of course, I would like nothing more than to devote serious time to the reading, discussing and perhaps reviewing of serious books. Yet, life being what is it, I only make this happen on summer vacations anymore; and I’m glad a good friend, somewhat quaintly, gave me for my birthday a paper copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile, so that the sheer material presence of the object might get me to read it, much like a house plant gets you to water it ora a dog to walk it.

But back to Morozov and Lanier. It was only thanks to a tweet by Esther Dyson that I discovered and read this evening¬†a thoughtful piece about the two books written by Maria Bustillos, and I decided that Lanier’s gets the higher spot on my summer reading list. Then I found that Bustillos also wrote a long and worthwhile article on Udacity and MOOCs, which I recommend you read if you liked my short and techno-optimistic blog post about online education last month. Then I had do do some work, and then I have to get some sleep – you know what I mean. If you don’t have time for the books or the debate, do read the articles.

Lanier’s book has two covers, so he gets two pictures in this post. I do prefer the UK one, with its delicate blossoms.

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