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End of Big, The [Hardcover]

Nicco Mele
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Price: 15.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 May 2013
In The End of Big, Internet pioneer and Harvard Kennedy School lecturer Nicco Mele draws on nearly twenty years of experience to explore the consequences of revolutionary technology. Our ability to connect instantly, constantly, and globally is altering the exercise of power with dramatic speed. Governments, corporations, centres of knowledge, and expertise are eroding before the power of the individual. It can be good in some cases, but as Mele reveals, the promise of the Internet comes with a troubling downside. Unless we exercise deliberate moral choice over the design and use of technologies, Mele says, we doom ourselves to a future that tramples human values, renders social structures chaotic, and destroys rather than enhances freedom. Both hopeful and alarming, thought-provoking and passionately-argued, The End of Big is an important book about our present - and our future.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (15 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250021855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250021854
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An important read for anyone curious about what the future might look like...the end of big is hitting many aspects of our lives. And Mele makes us seriously think about the world we live in today and, more importantly, how we'd like to live in it tomorrow. --Fortune. Anyone who is not asleep is unsettled by the speed and sweep of technological change, as it upends our workplace, our institutions, leisure, culture, individual and communal behavior. To comprehend the awesome changes we have and will experience, the opportunities and the pitfalls, Nicco Mele's The End of Big is a clear-eyed, compellingly written account bursting with vivid anecdotes and analysis. --Ken Auletta, New Yorker writer and author of Greed and Glory on Wall Street, World War 3.0, and Googled In The End of Big, forecaster Nicco Mele - one of the internet's early masters - looks technology squarely in the eye and asks the hard questions: Exactly how powerful is our new-found connectivity, and what's its effect on the media? On politics and government? On business? And on our culture? If you want to know what's really going on, get this book - and see the future and your options with new eyes. --Alex Castellanos, Political Consultant and Media Commentator. The intense and direct way the Internet and smart mobile devices connect us and the planet challenges existing institutional arrangements everywhere we look. The End of Big presents a provocative analysis of a world on the cusp of disruptive change and asks if we have the vision and will to remake it along small-d democratic lines. Mitch Kapor, founder, Lotus Development Corp. --Various

About the Author

NICCO MELE is a leading forecaster of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age. Named by Esquire magazine as one of America's Best and Brightest, he served as webmaster for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign and popularized the use of technology and social media for political fund-raising, reshaping American politics. Not long after, he helped lead the online efforts for Barack Obama in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate. Mele's firm, EchoDitto, is a leading Internet strategy company working with nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies, among them Google, AARP, the Clinton Global Initiative, the United Nations, and others. He also serves on a number of boards, including the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, is a cofounder of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and is on the faculty at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Visit his Web site,, and follow him on Twitter @nicco.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Is Here 3 Oct 2013
This is an important book. We're going through the fastest period of change in human history and one that's accelerating - everything we're used to is going to alter in some way, and if you want to survive with your job, finances, health and sanity intact, you have to be prepared for what's coming. The End of Big is your road map.

Nicco Mele, who sits on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School, examines the changes that are rushing through different sectors: business, the news media, the entertainment industry, politics and government, universities and education, the army and warfare, while touching on other sectors too. As he says: "We're at the beginning of an epochal change in human history. Scan the headlines every morning - through your Facebook and Twitter feeds - and you can feel history shifting under your feet. Every day I find more and more evidence that we are in the twilight of our own age, and that we can't quite grasp it, even if we sense something is terribly amiss."

As the title suggests, the author's evidence shows that 'big' cannot survive - whether that's big political parties or big companies. We're not only moving from serving the general to serving the specific, but economies of scale have less impact with the technology that's emerging. For book lovers, Mele shows, for instance, why the big publishing companies have little hope of continuing in their current form. Don't get the impression that this is all negative. The author indicates that there are a great many opportunities coming up fast. If you're a creator, or have particular skills, you'll thrive. Small businesses and independent retailers are well-placed for success. (The subtitle is: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a thoroughly enjoyable read 29 Sep 2013
By swl100a
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is packed full of insightful examples and anecdotes. The author takes us on an entertaining and thought provoking tour of the significant global changes that we are living through today.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When you are ready to dig deeper into the ramifications of the web in our world 23 April 2013
By David M. Scott - Published on
I enjoyed Nicco Mele's important book very much, but not because of the frequently discussed details about how the Web allows anyone to publish and be seen. No, that's obvious. Instead what I particularly liked was his deep dive into less obvious ramifications and the cautionary aspects of the erosion of power structures.

Big is the New York Times book review. The end of big is you reading my book review on the book's Amazon page. As Nicco writes: "The end of big replaces the elite, formal, highly capitalized, institutionally backed provider of goods or services with your neighbor the poet / journalist / lawyer / soldier / designer (insert craft here)."

Nicco certainly knows what he's talking about. As webmaster for Governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, Nicco and the campaign team popularized the use of technology and social media, revolutionizing political fundraising and reshaping American politics. Soon after, he co-founded EchoDitto, a web strategy firm whose clients included Barack Obama's successful Senate campaign. Nicco is now also on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School where he teaches graduate-level classes on the internet and politics.

While there are many exciting aspects of the end of big in every area Nicco covers, in each there are also threats. For example, in journalism, if we no longer have big news gathering organizations, who is going to fund the big investigative story? Without the Washington Post, would Woodward and Bernstein have emerged independently? Without the Watergate Scandal how would history have differed? These are questions worth asking.

What I find particularly interesting about our culture today is that big is not going away. We are all struggling to figure out which big institutions make sense in our lives today and in our future world. And we're trying to figure out which are best torn down.

For example, I note that The End of Big was not self-published. Nicco talks a lot about micro publishing but went with a big publisher (St. Martin's Press) for his own book.

But at the same time, Nicco is running EchoDitto his own small business and he also has a small publishing operation (his blog). He's someone who used small techniques (on the Web) to make both Howard Dean and Barack Obama very big.

When you are ready to dig deeper into the ramifications of the web in our world, The End of Big is your excellent guide.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart analysis of some troubling issues ahead 23 April 2013
By Leif J. Nordberg - Published on
Nicco Mele adeptly points out that the collapse of large institutions (from news to government to publishing) brings with it some serious concerns about the future. This book is a greater primer for the discussion we'll be having over the next decade: now that these large institutions are gone, what responsibility to the replacements (Facebook, Google, Apple, etc.) have in filling the voids left behind? How can we keep the new institutions accountable and how can we do better than what we had before? Must read.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smart look at a changing world 24 April 2013
By athena_ak - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Highly recommend Nicco Mele's new book for a smart look at the opportunities, risks and many unanswered questions about how the internet is shaping our lives in politics, society and business. He gets the full picture in a way few people do, and it's a fun read to boot.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sagely Synthesis and Fantastic Forecasting from a Fascinating Futurist 24 April 2013
By Juan Gonzalez - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Nicco Mele invites us to take a step back from our self-centered digital lives and explore the macro trends and micro implications of technology in The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath. This awesome page-turner is impossible to put down, as Mele explores major issues across chapters, each focused to a specific theme wherein technology unseats large organizations, institutions, corporations, and systems in favor of the liberating empowerment of individuals. Disruptive technology, Mele argues, is not only desirable - it is inevitable, and there are significant implications to navigating the world in which we live if we are to make choices about the value systems imparted in how individuals use this technology.

Anyone who is interested in why technology - social media, mobile phones, and other devices and tools that place power in the hands of ordinary people - has changed our world forever and wants to plot a path for prosperity in our tumultuous times owes it to themselves to read this book. Don't wait: the lessons imparted by Mele in this tome are timely and can help you become a leader to engage with people to disrupt the conventional systems that are ending as we speak.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent starter for an important discussion 23 April 2013
By A. Bea - Published on
Nicco effectively synthesizes the changes going on in every aspect of society into a strong narrative of our times. Digital technologies, enabling "radical connectivity," are destabilizing, disrupting, or simply changing every aspect of the modern world, that is for sure.

Ultimately I really enjoyed End of Big because it challenged some of what I've been thinking, brought new ideas to my attention, and had a great tone of exploration and passion for the subject. I sometimes wished for a more academic exploration (grad school rears its ugly head), but that would have been a different book for a different audience.

I think I'm more of an optimistic view toward these changes than Nicco is, primarily because of how flawed the Big organizations have become. When an organization grows truly Big at the expense of public good, and simultaneously ignores social changes around it, I have little sympathy. His prescriptions for change in the last chapter do offer some hope and optimism. Still, he makes excellent points regarding how radical connectivity could additionally disrupt some of the things we (I, at least) most value, such as investigative journalism and corporate regulation.

This would really be a great book club book, as surely will start some interesting and instructive conversations about what our society should be. More than that, it will hopefully start actions to make it so.
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