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Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age by [Johnson, Steven]
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Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 250 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

If you're a pessimist-and chances are you are-you should read Future Perfect. In fact, read it even if you're an optimist, because Mr. Johnson's book will give you lots of material to brighten the outlook of your gloomy friends...it envisions a new political movement (Wall Street Journal)

An informative, tech-savvy and provocative vision of a new and more democratic public philosophy. A breath of fresh air a breath of fresh air in an age of gridlock, cynicism and disillusionment (San Francisco Chronicle)

A buoyant and hopeful book ... Future Perfect reminds us we already have the treatment. We just need to use it (Boston Globe)

An articulate manifesto (Clive Cookson Financial Times)

About the Author

Steven Johnson is the US bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You, and is the editor of the anthology The Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites - most recently, outside.in - and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 544 KB
  • Print Length: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00903YDAQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #405,407 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Steven Johnson's recent run of books - The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, Where Good Ideas Come From - have been so thoroughly well researched, considered and written that he's set the bar very high. Future Perfect is an interesting read, but doesn't meet those very high standards.

It makes the case for a new kind of political outlook based on the progress that technology has provided, not technological utopia but more grounded. He uses the example of air travel safety to show how life has improved immeasurably thanks to constant iterations of technology.

But after a strong opening each chapter becomes less sure of itself, setting up a proposition then using an example of a study to prove it - but sometimes, in my opinion, missing the mark.

This is still a good book and an interesting read, but I wouldn't recommend it as highly as any of his past three.
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By Dr David Mankin VINE VOICE on 21 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a very easy (and relatively quick) read about an interesting topic. The underlying premise is a sound one in principle but the delivery is rather lightweight and superficial; and there is a lack of rigour to the author's analysis and argumentation. The tone and style of writing is almost conversational - more that of an extended magazine article than a carefully crafted and persuasive book. The author is occasionally sloppy in his use of terminology; for instance his notion that computers can be `embodied'. I would have had more confidence in the book's content if the author had displayed evidence of having engaged more effectively with a wider range of literature on knowledge sharing structures and processes. That said, this is an important area and the book should provoke debate.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What is the best way to make progress? How can we, human beings, come up with the best ideas and solve scientific problems? What's the best way to run a country and how much say should the ordinary individual have in what laws are passed? This book raises some intriguing and important questions for all of us and provides some fascinating examples of how people are developing some very creative solutions to some of the problems of modern living.

Democracies elect people to enact laws on their behalf but can you imagine a situation where you as an individual could actually vote on which new laws you want? How would you feel about having much more of an individual say in how your local council's budget is spent in your neighbourhood? This is what has happened in one city in Brazil and it has resulted in a huge improvement in the standard of living for the poorest in a city.

In New York there is a telephone number you can phone to report pot holes, strange smells, a litter problem or anti-social behaviour as well as hundreds of other issues which arise in a city environment. The calls are logged and tracked and the information passed to the correct department to deal with - and it works.

Wikipedia has shown how powerful and useful harnessing the knowledge of the individual can be. Similar systems can be used to solve almost any problem. Peer progress is the way forward it seems and the author quotes many examples to show how this is starting to work in many different scenarios. Currently pharmaceutical companies spend billions on research and development - perhaps this could be better funded by means of `rewards' for individual effort and by awarding prizes.
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Format: Hardcover
When you see the stock market valuations of Internet and social media companies that price audiences at billions of dollars even if there are no profits you may scratch your head in confusion.

Future Perfect by Steven Johnson is a book that captures the optimism behind those stock prices and despite its US focus provides some good pointers for small businesses everywhere.

At the heart of his argument to be optimistic is his belief that LeGrand stars will be replaced by Baran webs. No, I didn't know what he was on about either. But it is compelling to read on.

LeGrand stars are systems like big corporations and big government, named after the Frenchman who built France's railway network centred on Paris. It's super-efficient until the centre breaks down.

Paul Baran was an engineer who worked in the US defence industry and developed a communications web that the Soviets could not disable by knocking out the centre. It became the internet.

In his book. Johnson gives plenty of examples where ordinary people are able to collaborate in peer-to-peer networks to achieve great results.

For example, malnourished families in rural Vietnam were helped by outsiders who focussed on finding out how some families managed to feed their children and then on sharing their ideas in the villages. The consultants were "not there to provide outside expertise; they were there to amplify the expertise that already existed in the community."

This is a great example for independent retailers, who need to share best practice with each other. Some of the best symbol groups started out as peer-to-peer networks and many try to maintain strong information exchanges.
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