This is not a book that will challenge your intellectual capacity, but it is written with passion and has enough clear arguments (along with too many the general anecdotes that sadly these kind of books are filled with). I kept thinking that this might be the “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” for the digital age. A generation that no longer can read long or complicated sentences might be inspired to reflect on how they live and the relation to the world around them. I hesitate writing this as ZAMM was an important book for me, and even if Program or Be Programmed is a nice book it is not in the same league. Still if it can make a few from the “digital generation” reflect it could be a first step for them towards books with a more complex narrative.
Still I can’t help thinking that this is a book written with a frustration that it is necessary to simplify things so much these days. It feels as if Rushkoff have more to tell us (but I have hard time judging that as I can’t access his webpage from China right now for some reason).
The idea of a programmable world is important and the converging trends in computing, robotics, nanotech, cognitive research, etc all indicate a paradigm shift larger than even a singularity. Something that can be found in the intersection of a collective (human) brain, matters that can be shaped as we like it, and self-regulation/self-improvements.
We are living in a world where few look beyond the incremental and hopefully this book will wake a few people up with sentences like: “Programming is the sweet spot, the high leverage point in a digital society. If we don’t learn to program, we risk being programmed ourselves”.
As I wrote above, I’m have not been able to access the webpage, but here it is: http://programorbeprogrammed.com/