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Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

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New York Times Bestseller. USA Today Bestseller. How does the brain predict the collapse of the web? What can reindeer teach us about networks? How do ants use internet technologies? Why do sea squirts eat their brains to survive? We are living in a world in which cows send texts to farmers when they’re in heat and the most valuable real estate in New York City houses comput New York Times Bestseller. USA Today Bestseller. How does the brain predict the collapse of the web? What can reindeer teach us about networks? How do ants use internet technologies? Why do sea squirts eat their brains to survive? We are living in a world in which cows send texts to farmers when they’re in heat and the most valuable real estate in New York City houses computers, not people. Robots are delivering cups of coffee and some of humanity’s greatest works are created by crowds. We are in the midst of a networking revolution—set to transform the way we access the world’s information and the way we connect with one another. Studying biological systems is perhaps the best way to understand such networks, and nature has a lesson for us if we care to listen: bigger is rarely better in the long run. The deadliest creature is the mosquito, not the lion. It is the quality of a network that is important for survival, not the size, and all networks—the human brain, Facebook, Google, even the internet itself—eventually reach a breakpoint and collapse. That’s the bad news. The good news is that reaching a breakpoint can be a step forward, allowing a network to substitute quality for quantity. In Breakpoint, brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel takes readers to the intersection of the brain, biology, and technology. He shows how exceptional companies are using their understanding of the internet’s brain-like powers to create a competitive advantage by building more effective websites, utilizing cloud computing, engaging social media, monetizing effectively, and leveraging a collective consciousness. Indeed, the result of these technologies is a more tightly connected world with capabilities far beyond the sum of our individual minds. Breakpoint offers a fresh and exciting perspective about the future of technology and its effects on all of us.


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New York Times Bestseller. USA Today Bestseller. How does the brain predict the collapse of the web? What can reindeer teach us about networks? How do ants use internet technologies? Why do sea squirts eat their brains to survive? We are living in a world in which cows send texts to farmers when they’re in heat and the most valuable real estate in New York City houses comput New York Times Bestseller. USA Today Bestseller. How does the brain predict the collapse of the web? What can reindeer teach us about networks? How do ants use internet technologies? Why do sea squirts eat their brains to survive? We are living in a world in which cows send texts to farmers when they’re in heat and the most valuable real estate in New York City houses computers, not people. Robots are delivering cups of coffee and some of humanity’s greatest works are created by crowds. We are in the midst of a networking revolution—set to transform the way we access the world’s information and the way we connect with one another. Studying biological systems is perhaps the best way to understand such networks, and nature has a lesson for us if we care to listen: bigger is rarely better in the long run. The deadliest creature is the mosquito, not the lion. It is the quality of a network that is important for survival, not the size, and all networks—the human brain, Facebook, Google, even the internet itself—eventually reach a breakpoint and collapse. That’s the bad news. The good news is that reaching a breakpoint can be a step forward, allowing a network to substitute quality for quantity. In Breakpoint, brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel takes readers to the intersection of the brain, biology, and technology. He shows how exceptional companies are using their understanding of the internet’s brain-like powers to create a competitive advantage by building more effective websites, utilizing cloud computing, engaging social media, monetizing effectively, and leveraging a collective consciousness. Indeed, the result of these technologies is a more tightly connected world with capabilities far beyond the sum of our individual minds. Breakpoint offers a fresh and exciting perspective about the future of technology and its effects on all of us.

30 review for Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Thibeault

    *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/08/07... This is not a book about the end of the internet, as the controversial title may seem to suggest. Rather, it’s a book about networks (meaning a group of interconnected people or things) and how networks evolve; and its main focus is on internet-related networks and the internet itself (which is one enormous network). The author, Jeff Stibel, argues that there are certain natural laws that govern the *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/08/07... This is not a book about the end of the internet, as the controversial title may seem to suggest. Rather, it’s a book about networks (meaning a group of interconnected people or things) and how networks evolve; and its main focus is on internet-related networks and the internet itself (which is one enormous network). The author, Jeff Stibel, argues that there are certain natural laws that govern the unfolding of networks, and that understanding these laws can help us understand how the internet (and other internet-related networks) are likely to evolve over time, and also how we should approach these networks in order to get the most out of them (including make money off of them). When it comes to the evolution of a network, Stibel argues that there are three main stages here: 1) Growth; 2) Breakpoint; and 3) Equilibrium. In the growth phase, the network grows in size, usually at a very quick (often exponential) pace. This is a precarious time for networks, for if they do not grow fast enough and large enough they will simply wither away and die (the vast majority of networks do in fact die at this stage). Though a network must grow very quickly in the growth phase just to survive, this initial rate of growth is not something that can be sustained indefinitely. For all networks have a natural carrying capacity that limits how large they can be. This carrying capacity is defined by two factors: energy and organizational complexity. When it comes to energy, a network needs physical energy in order to sustain itself, and thus it is limited by how much energy is available in the environment and that it is able to access (and physical energy is never infinite, so all networks must ultimately have a physical limit). When it comes to organizational complexity, as a network grows in size it also increases in complexity, and it eventually reaches a point where it becomes so complex that it becomes unwieldy, and begins to lose its utility. Thus a network has an optimal level of organizational complexity, and this optimal level of complexity defines its carrying capacity. (Whether a network hits its carrying capacity due to energy limits or complexity limits depends on the network itself—but whichever limit is met first defines the carrying capacity of that network). Now, while each network has a natural carrying capacity, a healthy, successful network will almost always grow beyond its carrying capacity during its growth phase. This is because a network never actually knows what its carrying capacity is beforehand, and can only discover this by feeling the effects of having gone beyond it. Once a network exceeds its carrying capacity it begins to perform in a suboptimal way, until eventually, if it keeps on growing, it collapses. The point at which a network collapses is the breakpoint (the second stage in the evolution of a network). Now, if a network has grown too far beyond its carrying capacity (often due to human interference) it may collapse entirely. However, if the network is allowed to reach its breakpoint naturally, it will usually just collapse in a way that leads it to shrink back in size and complexity to its natural carrying capacity. If the former happens the network dies, if the latter happens the network reaches the third and final stage: equilibrium. In the equilibrium stage the network may lose some of its size, but it is at this stage that it begins to improve in quality and stability. Take an ant colony, for example. A successful ant colony grows in size until it reaches its breakpoint (sometimes due to an energy limit, but most often due to a complexity limit), at which point it begins shedding off ants to form new colonies. This downsizing process continues until the colony shrinks back to its natural carrying capacity–at which point it enters its equilibrium phase. It is only when it reaches equilibrium that the ant colony becomes as efficient and stable as it can be, and hitting this stage most often allows the colony to persist well into the future. Or take the human brain. The brain generates new neurons and connections at an incredibly quick pace in the beginning. Eventually, though, it hits a breakpoint, at which time it begins culling back neurons and connections until it reaches equilibrium. It is at this stage that the brain begins developing real intelligence and even true wisdom. When it comes to the internet—the network that is the focus of the book—we learn that this network is still in its growth phase, and thus it still has much evolving to do before it reaches maturity. Specifically, the internet must still grow beyond its carrying capacity, reach its breakpoint, and collapse back to equilibrium. What this means is that the internet stands to go through some very significant changes in the coming years. Drawing on evidence from other networks, Stibel seeks to chart out what is likely to happen to the internet (and other internet-related networks) as it passes through its various phases on its way to equilibrium. Stibel predicts that the journey will feature some real growing pains, but that ultimately the internet will emerge better and smarter than ever (and may even develop consciousness). The point of view that the author brings is very unique and interesting. His argument is also very persuasive. The one area where I felt the book fell short is in exploring the implications of what an intelligent and even conscious internet would look like. Will the internet just function in a way that it appears to exhibit intelligence and consciousness (as an ant colony does), or will it actually be intelligent and conscious (as a brain is)? Perhaps the author himself does not know, but if this is the case, he should at least say so. Instead, the author is very ambiguous here, and plays with the idea that the internet will actually be conscious, without fully committing to this or drawing out the implications thereof. Still, a highly entertaining and interesting read. A full executive summary of the book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/08/07... A podcast discussion of the book will be available soon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tomo Yokose

    I was fortunate enough to read a pre-release version of this book and loved it. It's full of fun facts that are not only interesting, but also very relevant to the digital age in which we live today. Once you pick it up, its hard to put down: I read it cover to cover in a single day. Jeff Stibel's writing is clear, concise, and very easy to follow, plus he does not speak in overly scientific jargon, which makes the book readable and accessible to anyone and everyone. Coming out July 23rd, 2013! I was fortunate enough to read a pre-release version of this book and loved it. It's full of fun facts that are not only interesting, but also very relevant to the digital age in which we live today. Once you pick it up, its hard to put down: I read it cover to cover in a single day. Jeff Stibel's writing is clear, concise, and very easy to follow, plus he does not speak in overly scientific jargon, which makes the book readable and accessible to anyone and everyone. Coming out July 23rd, 2013!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Florin Pitea

    Very refreshing in its perspective and quite informative. Recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Maurer

    I recently read the book Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain by Jeff Stibel and had my brain oozing out of my ears. It is a good thing my brain is pliable because this is the third straight book in a row to create this brain oozing problem. I recently read Physics of the Future and as we are working on a student project over this book I started looking for new books to read to feed into the contents I recently read the book Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain by Jeff Stibel and had my brain oozing out of my ears. It is a good thing my brain is pliable because this is the third straight book in a row to create this brain oozing problem. I recently read Physics of the Future and as we are working on a student project over this book I started looking for new books to read to feed into the contents of this book. That is how I came across Breakpoint. I had it on my shelf for a while and finally started reading it. When I did I had it finished in a two days. I have literally over a hundred passages flagged for notes and ideas to ponder even further than what the book provides. The book basically showcases that everything we need to know basically exists in terms of expectations and what is going to happen with things in life. Never in my life did I think I would connect the dots between ants, my brain, and MySpace. Never would I consider those three topics together in the first place. Stibel argues that all networks not matter what network develop the same way. He discusses how if you can get to the point of growth and in particular rapid growth you will eventually reach a breakpoint. The breakpoint is where you have grown too much and there is only one result which is decline. This decline is not a bad thing despite what people and society think. Instead you have to rethink certain measures to figure out what the best scenario will be to maintain an functioning and thriving network. He shares examples of ant colonies and I was so fascinated that I am now pulling books to study more on ants because I was so fascinated. I found everything so interesting from the ants to the brain. He shares that the Internet will also hit a breakpoint when it can no longer become any larger. I have a hard time imaging this day and age and what that exactly looks like, but it makes sense in an abstract way. There will simply not be a sufficient way to keep up the exponential growth of the Internet and we will hit a peak due to storage, energy consumption, data, etc. Just like the movie Inception, mind blown! If you are interested in the future, how networks operate, and how they evolve this is must read. I am taking time to sort my notes and work on blog posts on these topics to dive deeper. If you have read the book I would love to connect and do a podcast to discuss the topics. This is a book that leads to many conversations that I really want to have.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Juanita

    This book had some interesting paradigms. It is very well written and full of interesting facts that do make you think about how everything is connected. Won on Goodreads.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz Gengl

    I found this book absolutely fascinating. Stibel uses biological systems such as ants, reindeer, human cultures and the human brain to illustrate the concept of Breakpoints. It is smart, engaging and he never talks too science-y, yet never talks down to the reader either. I read the book in a day as I couldn't put it down. Now I see Breakpoints in so many different areas. As someone that works in marketing, I can now see how important it is to see a Breakpoint coming and to embrace and adjust fo I found this book absolutely fascinating. Stibel uses biological systems such as ants, reindeer, human cultures and the human brain to illustrate the concept of Breakpoints. It is smart, engaging and he never talks too science-y, yet never talks down to the reader either. I read the book in a day as I couldn't put it down. Now I see Breakpoints in so many different areas. As someone that works in marketing, I can now see how important it is to see a Breakpoint coming and to embrace and adjust for the aftermath which often is a smaller, leaner and smarter stage in a company's life cycle.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Avi-Gil

    Disclosure: I received this book through the First Reads program. It's hard to tell what the author's point is in this book. While it contained some interesting facts, the central thesis was tenuous at best, and the comparisons between the brain, ant colonies, and computer networks were at times forced and often based on simplistic understandings. In addition, there were a few typos and other errors that I wouldn't expect from a major publisher, and I wonder how thorough the fact-checking was, as Disclosure: I received this book through the First Reads program. It's hard to tell what the author's point is in this book. While it contained some interesting facts, the central thesis was tenuous at best, and the comparisons between the brain, ant colonies, and computer networks were at times forced and often based on simplistic understandings. In addition, there were a few typos and other errors that I wouldn't expect from a major publisher, and I wonder how thorough the fact-checking was, as the notes aren't always as detailed as I'd like.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terri Alpert

    Highly recommend and not just because Jeff is a friend of mine. Anyone who knows me knows I think about life from a network paradigm. Jeff does too. And this is guaranteed to increase your understanding of the network that is humanity, in all its forms -- physical and virtual. Read this!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This was a very interesting book. It explained the progress of the internet so far and a look at its future. It also compared its growth as a network to the human brain and the functioning of ant colonies. If this does not seem to make sense, please read the book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yiding

    I literally cannot finish this book as I cannot overlook the ridiculous and flawed comparisons of internet technologies to biological systems. The inaccuracies in this area, which I am familiar with, casts into doubt for me everything else written in this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Briano

    A fascinating look at how the development and evolution of technology, especially the Internet, mirror systems found in nature and our own brains. Fascinating.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I didn't really enjoy this book. I'm kind of over the whole, "OMG, the Internet is so awesome and is *just* like a brain." No, it's not. I didn't really enjoy this book. I'm kind of over the whole, "OMG, the Internet is so awesome and is *just* like a brain." No, it's not.

  13. 5 out of 5

    YHC

    Very interesting book about how the companies on internet wen from expansion to disappear. It's all because everything has a breakpoint, if they survive, they stabilize. All this mechanism has some pattern as the structure of ants. The human brain seems to be unlimited but actually has breakpoint too. This author pointed out the potential of our brain possibilities, such as telepathy, EEG, mirror neuroscience....even mentioned singularity. Our brain can not grow bigger, on the contrary it becomes Very interesting book about how the companies on internet wen from expansion to disappear. It's all because everything has a breakpoint, if they survive, they stabilize. All this mechanism has some pattern as the structure of ants. The human brain seems to be unlimited but actually has breakpoint too. This author pointed out the potential of our brain possibilities, such as telepathy, EEG, mirror neuroscience....even mentioned singularity. Our brain can not grow bigger, on the contrary it becomes smaller. The connection and they way it communicates between nerves got restructured. We need to fuse our intelligence with computer capability to perform maximum. good basic book on computer and neuroscience for beginners.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shabbir

    The book describes the intelligence of the network, that found in an ant colony, or in the human brain. An interesting conclusion hinted at is: The human brain and internet are both networks, and their is a good likelihood both will be connected. An important book in the genre of technology non-fiction accessible to non-tech.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    The premise of this book is really that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Networks are what advance societies at every level, whether it is humankind or an ant society. While a single ant is not intelligent, the colony has a collective intelligence. Unfettered growth will lead networks to a breakpoint, and hence either to collapse or to a greater equilibrium.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    A superb and quite in-depth analysis of networks, psychology, and technology. Definitely a great read for anyone looking to improve as a creative, entrepreneur or just because.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    *I received my copy of _Breakpoint_ courtesy of the author and the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. Thank you!* Overview: The purpose of this book is to discuss the behavior of various kinds of networked populations (which the author refers to simply as "networks") across various disciplines including biology, history, anthropology, neuroscience, economics, and technology. By modeling their behavior, Stibel is able to make sense of their more puzzling actions so that we may draw lessons fro *I received my copy of _Breakpoint_ courtesy of the author and the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. Thank you!* Overview: The purpose of this book is to discuss the behavior of various kinds of networked populations (which the author refers to simply as "networks") across various disciplines including biology, history, anthropology, neuroscience, economics, and technology. By modeling their behavior, Stibel is able to make sense of their more puzzling actions so that we may draw lessons from the past and make predictions about our future. One of the launching points of the book (after a hooking discussion about an unusual reindeer population), and a motif for the rest of the book, is a discussion of the surprising behavior of ants. It is often remarked just how strange it is that a hive of unintelligent agents (insects in this case) can produce such gigantic and complex projects, but rarely is it that the strangeness of this behavior is discussed in detail. Stibel initiates reader in some of these details, just enough to see that a natural anthill has mindblowing similarities to both the grey matter in our skulls and internet communication protocols, among many other surprising things. Throughout the book, he explicates his model for many other networks and draws out the following concepts for general attention: growth, breakpoint, collapse, and stability. Particularly interesting is the discussion regarding how breakpoint and collapse, as negative as the terms seem, are actually positive and essential for networks to become intelligent in their environments (in whatever broad sense that may be). Likes: I found this book thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable. The author shows a knack for presenting material in such a way that is striking enough to keep someone who is familiar with some of these areas following along while simple enough that I have no doubt that I could pass this on to an uninitiated friend or colleague without anything being lost in translation. Further, the scope of the book is broad enough that, once you turn the last page, you'll find yourself pondering about these concepts for hours afterward, finding many more apt connections to the book's central topics that could be explored. This book is as "heady" as you want it to be. Dislikes: There isn't much to dislike about the book, but perhaps there are some caveats for those who want to take the text a bit more seriously than most. The influence from the Dennettian-style deflation of the notions of consciousness and intelligence are slightly irksome. I don't want to ruin the end of the book, but if you're familiar with some of the (legit) philosophical literature regarding consciousness (none of that Chopra nonsense) you'll see what I'm getting at once you get there. If you're not, then I'll only hint: pinch yourself. No doubt Stibel is with great company in his more speculative views, and, as the author points out, one can be impressed by the rest of what the author has to say without following him down that rabbit hole. Final Impressions: Overall, this is a great book, and I'm glad to add it to my shelf. I can already think of a few people that I know that I would recommend this book to. For all of you out there, if you like books that are fun, nerdy, and surprising with plenty to mentally chew on, this is a good fit for you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ken Dickson

    What do ants, reindeer and sea squirts have to do with the internet? As far as I knew, nothing, but brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel set me straight with his book: Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain Breakpoint begins with the United States Coast Guard bringing 29 reindeer to St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. There, the reindeer flourish and grow in number to over 6000 by 1963. By 196 What do ants, reindeer and sea squirts have to do with the internet? As far as I knew, nothing, but brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel set me straight with his book: Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain Breakpoint begins with the United States Coast Guard bringing 29 reindeer to St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. There, the reindeer flourish and grow in number to over 6000 by 1963. By 1965, all but 42 of the reindeer are dead. We are next introduced to Deborah Gordon and her ant colonies in the Arizona desert. The ant may be small, but it is one of the most successful creatures on earth, having been around for over 100 million years. At any given time, their number is estimated to be over 1 quadrillion, or put in laymen’s terms, more than the combined mass of every human being! Stible uses these two unrelated species to teach the reader about networks—how they grow, reach a breakpoint, and then either collapse or reach equilibrium. In short order, Stible gets to the meat of his book—the internet. We are then taken on a jaunt through internet history, where we learn the ins and outs of how it works, witness wild successes, and cataclysmic failures. As the book progresses, Stible aligns many seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces to give us a glimpse of what the internet might look like in the next ten years. If he is correct, we are in for the ride of a lifetime. I knew nothing about Breakpoint when I first stumbled upon it at a local book store. Indeed, I would have never found it had I not been attracted by its unique cover art. Upon closer scrutiny, I was intrigued enough to purchase the book, and thankfully, was not disappointed. Breakpoint is filled with interesting details and theories and held my attention throughout. I particularly loved Stible’s descriptions of living networks and the internet’s colorful history. I recommend Breakpoint for anyone wanting to learn how networks function in the animal kingdom and the world of technology, and for anyone interested in the history and potential future of the greatest network ever conceived by mankind—the internet.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hallie Cantor

    Although slightly dated (probably any book on technology over two years old nowadays is obsolete), the author discusses the pitfalls of networks that outgrow their original size and purpose. Growth is positive; outgrowth is not. Systems can them implode from either lack or structure or lack of sustainability. The author uses nature, particularly ant farms, to show how internal systems become more sophisticated to accommodate its members. Nevertheless, too big results in chaos, as in loss of cont Although slightly dated (probably any book on technology over two years old nowadays is obsolete), the author discusses the pitfalls of networks that outgrow their original size and purpose. Growth is positive; outgrowth is not. Systems can them implode from either lack or structure or lack of sustainability. The author uses nature, particularly ant farms, to show how internal systems become more sophisticated to accommodate its members. Nevertheless, too big results in chaos, as in loss of controllability, or implosion, as resources dry up. The internet has adapted to its explosive, exponential number of users, as Facebook, Twitter, and other companies expand to avoid congestion and add features. Unfortunately, his predictions on Yahoo, which was then recently taken over by Marissa Mayer, have fallen short. Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn (now acquired by Microsoft) have quite ably adapted to its ever-increasing usage. Obsolescence can be caused by other factors -- changing trends, innovations, simply better search engines. Mention of the superiority of the human brain is also questionable now, as algorithms are blowing human-made associations into the water and artificial intelligence (AI) has taken off like a rocket. As I write this, a robot just beat out a human in poker. Whether the internet, or rather software, can be developed to fully create an immersive empathetic experience remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the wonderfully swift writing will motivate any reader into following the trends on science technology. The author shows how we are at the crossroads of human brain power merged with the terabytes of big data and social media.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karl Geiger

    Breakpoint contains numerous factual errors (sea squirts are tunicates and are not closely related to vertebrates like hagfish; misidentification of Internet protocols; "web" vs "mobile" false dichotomy). The material consequently misinforms any general readers who have no background and are unable to judge the claims or the argument Mr. Stibel builds. The book's breathless style and brevity do not make up for its lack of rigorous argument. Here's a synopsis: unfettered, all dynamic systems (livi Breakpoint contains numerous factual errors (sea squirts are tunicates and are not closely related to vertebrates like hagfish; misidentification of Internet protocols; "web" vs "mobile" false dichotomy). The material consequently misinforms any general readers who have no background and are unable to judge the claims or the argument Mr. Stibel builds. The book's breathless style and brevity do not make up for its lack of rigorous argument. Here's a synopsis: unfettered, all dynamic systems (living, engineered, social networks, etc.) grow rapidly, then fall back to a stable state or exhaust resources and collapse (this fact is available to any high-school biology student who has investigated bacterial growth curves). Communication and cross links are key in growing all networks (Metcalfe's Law) and pruned networks are more effective when fit to purpose or environment. Stabilized networks survive and exhibit intelligence because they have adapted to their niches. The connected intelligence of the Internet acts as a brain. The End. Instead, watch Deborah Gordon's TED talks on the emergent behavior of ants, read Daniel Dennet's Consciousness Explained, take a class in basic ecology, or go learn about network effects and linear systems modeling.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Interesting book, but I don't think it truly addresses what's in the title. Implode? Search obsolete? I didn't get that sense from reading this book. Sure, there is some very cool technology on the horizon, but controlling a beer tap with your thoughts (actually discussed) in no way means we won't need the internet to look up information, and that's the true essence of the Web in my mind. Apps have made the need for some webpages to become obsolete, but I believe there's still a place for the We Interesting book, but I don't think it truly addresses what's in the title. Implode? Search obsolete? I didn't get that sense from reading this book. Sure, there is some very cool technology on the horizon, but controlling a beer tap with your thoughts (actually discussed) in no way means we won't need the internet to look up information, and that's the true essence of the Web in my mind. Apps have made the need for some webpages to become obsolete, but I believe there's still a place for the Web. It's actually a very easy read considering the author and not very long at all. The author doesn't get too repetitive. And the concept of animals that act as social network, specifically ants, was quite fascinating. I did disagree with the author on the usefulness of some websites, such as Twitter which I still find a bore for the most part. And as he points out, many websites or products have reinvented themselves over the years, so I feel this can easily breathe new life into the internet.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fred Fisher

    An interesting book about the relationship between human brains, the internet, computers and the rest of animal life. His explanations of these relationships are clear and have opened a new world for me and let me see possibilities that I haven't encountered before. Some of this I found intuitive, like how the internet is changing human consciousness. But anyone who has followed the Arab Spring or flash mobs also has realized this. The text is fully annotated, so I don't think this is the raving An interesting book about the relationship between human brains, the internet, computers and the rest of animal life. His explanations of these relationships are clear and have opened a new world for me and let me see possibilities that I haven't encountered before. Some of this I found intuitive, like how the internet is changing human consciousness. But anyone who has followed the Arab Spring or flash mobs also has realized this. The text is fully annotated, so I don't think this is the raving of someone who is a little batty. In many ways, I am still absorbing the science presented and if asked to give a deeper explanation of the work, I would be unable to. In reply to the request, I would tell the person to read the book and predict what will happen for themselves. The previous sentence is an inside piece of the book. So read it, damn it! We have a wonderful future ahead of us.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    If you are a fan of analogies, which I am, you will love it! The biology and business information rang true and logical for me. The authors assumptions about human nature didn't feel as accurate. And some of this predictions while possibly accurate are hard to swallow. I think one measure of a great book is whether it "stays with you". Since reading Breakpoint I can stop viewing everything around me as a network. Stibel's book is a great compliment, perhaps a more optimistic compliment to Jarred If you are a fan of analogies, which I am, you will love it! The biology and business information rang true and logical for me. The authors assumptions about human nature didn't feel as accurate. And some of this predictions while possibly accurate are hard to swallow. I think one measure of a great book is whether it "stays with you". Since reading Breakpoint I can stop viewing everything around me as a network. Stibel's book is a great compliment, perhaps a more optimistic compliment to Jarred Diamond's works. Finally I loved reading someone put in check all the "technology is killing us" fear mongering. He states what I've often assumed - every monumental development of our civilization has been met with predictions of doom: electricity, cars, television. Yes technology is changing us, but we were meant to change, evolve. Stagnation is death.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Raunit

    Jeff Stibel has done a splendid job in writing this book. He not only talks about the network intelligence but also establishes that brain is the ULTIMATE network which has been evolved to be 'perfect'. A couple of things that I disliked in the book: 1) Sometimes the author is unable to clearly show the breakpoint of the situation or simply how an organisation overcomes the breakpoint. What I mean to say is that, sometimes I felt that knowing the concept of the 'breakpoint' wouldn't really help a Jeff Stibel has done a splendid job in writing this book. He not only talks about the network intelligence but also establishes that brain is the ULTIMATE network which has been evolved to be 'perfect'. A couple of things that I disliked in the book: 1) Sometimes the author is unable to clearly show the breakpoint of the situation or simply how an organisation overcomes the breakpoint. What I mean to say is that, sometimes I felt that knowing the concept of the 'breakpoint' wouldn't really help an organisation to overcome it for the company or the organisation has been able to overcome the previous breakpoints 'by chance'. 2)The content is a bit repetitive. Overall, it's a fantastic book for people who are willing to expand their knowledge base. A wonderful and thought provoking book. I read the hardcover version of this :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matt Heavner

    This was a very interesting read with three different main ideas: 1) systems reach a "breakpoint" and how the recover back to find equilibrium (or fail to) is important -- this felt like a "reality check"; 2) search/the computer-internet as we know it will die soon (more reality check); and 3) the internet is like your brain and neuroscience describes everything we need to know (a bit technoutopian). These various ideas were all quite interesting to read about, but in the end I didn't feel like This was a very interesting read with three different main ideas: 1) systems reach a "breakpoint" and how the recover back to find equilibrium (or fail to) is important -- this felt like a "reality check"; 2) search/the computer-internet as we know it will die soon (more reality check); and 3) the internet is like your brain and neuroscience describes everything we need to know (a bit technoutopian). These various ideas were all quite interesting to read about, but in the end I didn't feel like they were all well integrated to a solid "punch line". Lots of fun to read though! Hm. Why on the third to the bottom line of page 198 is there an italicized "y" at the end of directly? (on the line below and three lines above the y is not italicized). And why did I notice this?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    I was a bit disappointed in this book. I wanted it to be more about computers and networks, but found myself reading a lot about ants! The author is able to tie in the analogy to networks very cogently, however. The ant colony, the human brain and computer networks all have a point where they can no longer sustain themselves, which is their Breakpoint. Recommended for anyone interested in both general and computer science. I definitely learned more about ants and reindeer than I ever thought I w I was a bit disappointed in this book. I wanted it to be more about computers and networks, but found myself reading a lot about ants! The author is able to tie in the analogy to networks very cogently, however. The ant colony, the human brain and computer networks all have a point where they can no longer sustain themselves, which is their Breakpoint. Recommended for anyone interested in both general and computer science. I definitely learned more about ants and reindeer than I ever thought I would want to know! If you are looking for a book that only addresses computers and networks, you may want to look elsewhere...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mexscrabbler

    Excellent. The author makes very creative analogies between the brain and neural networks such as ant colonies to the internet. He uses those analogies to predict that the internet will soon reach a breakpoint where it will exceed its carrying capacity, at which point it will have to shrink in size, yet become more sophisticated, wiser. The same analogy is used to differentiate between both currently successful (e.g. Facebook) and unsuccessful (e.g. MySpace) web sites. The book was a quick read, a Excellent. The author makes very creative analogies between the brain and neural networks such as ant colonies to the internet. He uses those analogies to predict that the internet will soon reach a breakpoint where it will exceed its carrying capacity, at which point it will have to shrink in size, yet become more sophisticated, wiser. The same analogy is used to differentiate between both currently successful (e.g. Facebook) and unsuccessful (e.g. MySpace) web sites. The book was a quick read, always insightful and engaging. There were also many references which I intend to follow up on.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    Not bad. I read a lot of 'digital frontier' books and wasn't expecting much here either. Pleasantly surprise to find an unique perspective - using brain as the analogy to see where the internet is heading. I found the book to be very rational and believable. Not bad. I read a lot of 'digital frontier' books and wasn't expecting much here either. Pleasantly surprise to find an unique perspective - using brain as the analogy to see where the internet is heading. I found the book to be very rational and believable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Giannetto

    This is an idea book. Little practical application but very well written and will help you understand the subject. Nicely done stories that explain things in simpler terms. If you have an interest in thinking differently about this subject definitely worth the time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judy Hackett

    Fascinating book comparing animal,insect and biological networks to that of business networks. You will learn so much when reading this book and it's really an easy read. Fascinating book comparing animal,insect and biological networks to that of business networks. You will learn so much when reading this book and it's really an easy read.

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