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Network Society

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I'm currently reading a book that's blowing my mind, much in the same way Godel, Escher, Bach blew my mind, i.e. it synthesizes new ideas across a broad set of topics that I'm familiar with but never juxtaposed in that manner.

The book is The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells, which is part 1 of 3 of his Information Age trilogy. I never expected a book from a Spanish former-Marxist sociologist to be so cool, but it is. It combines the classes I took from Dower on the Meiji Restoration and post-war Japanese industrialization with economics classes I took from Krugman (and others) with specific references to both professors, and then throws in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley boom with references to Xerox PARC, SRI, and a little bit of AMD, while discussing the rise of ARPANET/Internet and the personal computer/microprocessor industry. There's also a dash of AI and MIT, as well as heaps of DARPA.

That's not to say that the book is just rehashing what I've learned. Rather, it's a book of entirely new concepts for me built up in a historical framework that is more than a little familiar to me, which helps me understand better the trends and analysis he is trying to present. I'm only a hundred pages into the book, and it may take a couple rereads given the relative unfamiliarity of the concepts, but this is about the coolest academic book I've picked up in the past three years.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on October 25, 2004 11:06 PM.

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