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Book Review: Against the Machine

Lee Siegel's Against the Machine is an interesting monograph about the dark side of the Internet's "social" revolution.

The author eloquently debunks the hyperbole of many "Internet famous" writers and those who promote the transformative power of the Web. Although sometimes Siegel is just as guilty of unsubstantiated ranting himself, overall the perspectives are refreshingly in contrast to the constant WIRED-like cheerleading most journalists engage in.

And for the most part, if you've spent any time on web forums, or reading long blog comment threads, it's hard not to agree with him. One of my favorite observations, and typically pithy, is that the language of argument has largely been replaced with the language of ridicule. You'll see this everywhere when you start looking, particularly during this election season.

If sometimes the Internet leaves you feeling less than fulfilled, you'll enjoy the insights provided by this book. And, as suggested above, if you're fully committed to the Web lifestyle, there is much to ridicule. Either way, Against the Machine provides something for everyone.


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