Mini review: “Data and Goliath” by Bruce Schneier (audiobook version)

This book looks at the current state of internet data gathering (surveillance) by nation states and private companies.  They are involved in collecting as much data as possible about you in the interests of security and profit.  This has big implications for individuals and society both now and in the future.

It is well balanced, easy to understand and I agree with every word.  Do not miss it…

… Having said that, there are a couple of points I want to raise.

Presentation

It frustrates me that a book that contains information that everyone should be aware of, with clear and reasoned arguments should be pitched at such a niche audience.  What this book needs is a new cover – and a willingness to get the book out in front of as many people as possible.  This is the only way that you are going to stimulate the debate that this issue deserves.

Look at what we have:

book-dg-jacket-full

Look at the kind of thing that can be achieved:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, jacket cover

Clean, simple, interesting – and approachable.

Narration

I listened to the audiobook version and the publishers got this right.

They used an excellent narrator who is able to make this an easy listen.  I know him from fiction –  the Nate Heller series of novels from Max Allan Collins.  When you have a subject that people need to pay attention to, you need to have someone who can put over a story.

This is what it takes to make the book approachable.  Compare the good “Data and Goliath” with the poor “The Second Machine Age” (my review – with criticism of the narration – is here).

Well done.

Conclusion

This is a book that needs to be read (or listened to).  Society has to decide where to draw the line when it comes to data gathering – not an easy task given the different points of view and the international nature of the issue.  There is probably not a definitive answer to this subject, but there should at least be a debate to highlight the situation.

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