Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin Review

I found this book on one of the shelves under Business at the local bookstore and couldn’t forget about the title. I tried to remember the first time I heard the word “Facebook”, I was 12 and thought it was a book of portraits, faces of people from around the world. Google had always existed for me and Amazon, well, I’m Lebanese so Amazon is only recently entering our market so I can’t judge. For a millennial, the Internet is a comfort zone, we can’t imagine a world without it, but how did the shift between a world without the cloud to one that can’t survive without it happen? How did people manage to integrate it and reshape their lives around it?

The author, former manager of the Band and producer of many well-known films, Jonathan Taplin and founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, engaged in a public debate back in 2012 around what the digital economy was doing to the creative arts. The heated argument centered around the internet’s role in the digitization of almost all artistic careers, with the demolition of the copyrights and the overflowing amount of free content and data imputed by users.
With the death of Levon Helm and Ohanian suggesting to host a reunion concert funded by Kickstarter, Taplin published a public reply that ends with

“You are so clueless as to offer to get the Band back together for a charity concert, unaware that three of the five members are dead. Take your charity and shove it. Just let us get paid for our work and stop deciding that you can unilaterally make it free.”

The debate sums up Taplin’s book that centers around tech monopolies and their world takeover. The book is interesting to say the least and brings in a fresh set of perspectives and information. However, I couldn’t quite relate to the “back in the good ol’ days” theme that dominates the book. Taplin wanted to shed led on the Ayn Randian, capitalistic giants of the modern world, but it didn’t manage to inspire any nostalgia (mostly because I have no recollection of the pre-internet era he so passionately glorifies).

Nevertheless, I found many ideas enlightening and worth the intense highlighting of entire pages, so it just might be your cup of tea!

Enjoy and always bring a book home x

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