The Cult of the Amateur

The Cult of the Amateur : How Blogs, Myspace, Youtube, and the Rest of Today's User-Generated Media Are Destroying Our Economy, Our Culture, and Our Values

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"Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show " In a hard-hitting and provocative polemic, Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today s new participatory Web 2.0 and reveals how it threatens our values, economy, and ultimately the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of American achievement. Our most valued cultural institutions, Keen warns our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. Advertising revenue is being siphoned off by free classified ads on sites like Craigslist; television networks are under attack from free user-generated programming on YouTube and the like; file-sharing and digital piracy have devastated the multibillion-dollar music business and threaten to undermine our movie industry. Worse, Keen claims, our cut-and-paste online culture in which intellectual property is freely swapped, downloaded, remashed, and aggregated threatens over 200 years of copyright protection and intellectual property rights, robbing artists, authors, journalists, musicians, editors, and producers of the fruits of their creative labors. In today s self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented. The very anonymity that the Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which sexual predators and identity thieves can roam free. While no Luddite Keen pioneered several Internet startups himself he urges us to consider the consequences of blindly supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens traditional media and creative institutions. Offering concrete solutions on how we can reign in the free-wheeling, narcissistic atmosphere that pervades the Web, THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR is a wake-up call to each and every one of us."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 236 pages
  • 132.08 x 198.12 x 15.24mm | 204.12g
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0385520816
  • 9780385520812
  • 204,710

Review quote

PRAISE FOR "THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR" "Shrewdly argued...[Keen] writes with acuity and passion about the consequences of a world in which the lines between fact and opinion, informed expertise and amateurish speculation are willfully blurred." --Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Thoroughly engaging, brightly written pages." --"The Chicago Tribune" "A staggering new book." --A.N. Wilson, "The Daily Mail" "Andrew Keen is a brilliant, witty, classically-educated technoscold--and thank goodness." --Jonathan Last, online editor, "The Weekly Standard"show more

About Andrew Keen

ANDREW KEEN is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose writings on culture, media, and technology have appeared in "The Weekly Standard," "Fast Company," "The San Francisco Chronicle," "Listener," and "Jazziz." As the Founder, President and CEO of, he has been featured in "Esquire," "Industry Standard, " and many other magazines and newspapers. He is the host of the acclaimed Internet show "AfterTV" and frequently appears on radio and television. He lives in Berkeley, more