Cult of the Amateur

Cult of the Amateur : How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy

2.82 (1,117 ratings by Goodreads)
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Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show! Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today's new digital media in this lively, readable and witty polemic, which reveals how an avalanche of amateur content is threatening our values, economy, and ultimately innovation and creativity itself. Highly topical, provocative and controversial - the counter-argument to "The Long Tail", "The Wisdom of Crowds" and the 'mad utopians' of Web 2.0, it is a wake-up call offering concrete solutions on how we can rein in this assault. Our most valued cultural institutions - our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies - are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. 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. 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 labours. Further, 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. The very anonymity that 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 135 x 212mm
  • United Kingdom
  • 1857883934
  • 9781857883930
  • 658,471

Review quote

Marvelous and provocative... I think this is a powerful stop and breathe book in the midst of the obsessions and abstraction of folks seeking comfort in Web 2.0. Beautifully written too." Chris Schroeder, former CEO, WashingtonPost/Newsweek online and CEO, Health Central Network "Important...will spur some very constructive debate. This is a book that can produce positive changes to the current inertia of web 2.0. Martin Green, VP of Community, CNET "For anyone who thinks that technology alone will make for a better democracy, Andrew Keen will make them think twice" Andrew Rasiej, Founder, Personal Democracy Forum "Very engaging, and quite controversial and provocative. He doesn't hold back any punches."Dan Farber, editor-in-chief, ZDNet "Andrew Keen is a brilliant, witty, classically-educated technoscold--and thank goodness. The world needs an intellectual Goliath to slay Web 2.0's army of Davids." Jonathan Last, Online Editor, The Weekly Standard "My initial reaction to the book was: 'Geez, I have a lot of things to think about now.' For people immersed in the social communities of Web 2.0, this is bound to be a thought-provoking and sobering book. While I don't agree with everything Keen says, there is page after page of really interesting insight and research. I look forward to the much-needed debate about the problems that Keen articulates--which can't be lightly dismissed." Larry Sanger, Co-founder of Wikipedia and founder of Citizendium
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About Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen is an English digital media entrepreneur and Silicon Valley insider whose popular writing about culture, media, and technology has been featured in many newspapers and magazines including The Weekly Standard, BusinessWeek, Esquire, and The Guardian, as well as on his own weblog, He hosts the acclaimed podcast show, AfterTV, and his views have generated a firestorm of interest.
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Rating details

1,117 ratings
2.82 out of 5 stars
5 9% (97)
4 20% (219)
3 33% (367)
2 22% (250)
1 16% (184)
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