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The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Nicholas Carr

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 206mm x 23mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 039334522X
  • ISBN 13: 9780393345223
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 92,704

Product description

In this eye-opening look at the new computer revolution and its consequences, Nicholas Carr explains why computing is changing and what this means for all of us. A hundred years ago, companies stopped producing their own power and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electricity providers not only changed how businesses operated but also brought the modern world into existence. Today a similar revolution is under way as companies dismantle their private computer systems and tap into rich services delivered over the Internet. Computing is turning into a utility. The shift is remaking the computer industry, bringing competitors like Google to the fore and threatening traditional stalwarts like Microsoft. The effects will reach further as cheap computing changes society as profoundly as cheap electricity did. In this lucid and compelling book Carr weaves together history, economics and technology to explain the "big switch".

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Author information

Nicholas Carr is the author of Does IT Matter? The former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The New York Times, the Financial Times, Wired and other publications. Author blog:

Customer reviews

By Daniel G Taylor 18 Nov 2013 5

The way we use computers has changed forever.

Once, everything you needed for your computer was contained in the plastic or metal casing. You bought software in a box. Now your devices are access points, a way onto the internet. Software gets downloaded or used through your browser.

Nicholas Carr sees a parallel between the way computing has changed and is changing and the way electricity moved from Edison’s controlled, private network to a utility.

The old and outdated business model was that you competed and strove for a monopoly. You wanted to quash your competitors. Now, business rivals must engage in co-opetition: Apple must let Google have apps on iDevices to satisfy consumers; the full power of Microsoft Office is only just being restored now that it’s available on every mobile platform and in the cloud.

Often in investing and business, we’re hungry to know what’s going to happen next. We forget that history is an excellent teacher. Warren Buffett, for example, used history to dodge the dot com bubble. As Carr makes his case, he links where computing is and where it’s going to the evolution of the electricity industry.

If computing affects your investments or your business, you want to read this book.

Review quote

"In The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr provides clear and insightful accounts of leading technological initiatives and business models to convey his vision of how the Edisons of the digital age are transforming the internet." Times Higher Education Supplement