49 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant example of internet marketing... dreadful book,
This review is from: The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy (Paperback)One of the nicer ironies about this book is that much of the hype surrounding it seems to have been generated by the Web 2.0 crowd bashing it. I just bought it to see what everyone was so upset about.
Pointing out all the problems with this book seems to have become a popular sport on the internet, but that's about the only joy you're going to get out of it. Much of Keen's analysis is itself decidedly amateurish - he's no economist and not much of a cultural critic. Dropping in a few learned-sounding references to Neil Postman and various members of the Huxley family didn't, for me at least, really make up for that. It just reinforced the impression that this man was really just a bit of an intellectual snob who hadn't bothered to do his homework.
More to the point, the bulk of his problem with "amateurs" seems to be based on an unerring ability to compare apples and oranges. No, it's unlikely that today's top clip on You Tube is going to compare that well to Citizen Kane, but so what? By rather obviously cherry-picking the best of the mainstream media and making equally selective decisions the other way about the stuff on the web, Keen makes his arguments seem pretty arbitrary. I could compare Legally Blond 2 to a usenet science group and draw opposite, and equally random, conclusions. Neither really tells us much about what's going on.
This is a shame, because, as many of the other reviewers say, it isn't like there aren't some very valid concerns surrounding whether we'll work out how to pay for the culture we actually want in the "Web 2.0" age, not to mention privacy concerns, digital exhibitionism, etc. etc. Sadly, this book isn't going to tell you much about it.