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The Cult of the Amateur

On sale

9th October 2008

Price: £12.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781857885200

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A new, updated edition, with a new foreword of Andrew Keen’s witty and provocative polemic against the rise of user-generated content and the anything goes standards of much online publishing, which set the blogosphere and media alight on publication.

Dubbed the ‘anti-christ’ of Silicon Valley and a dot-com apostate, Andrew Keen is the leading contemporary critic of the Internet. and The Cult of the Amateur is a scathing attack on the mad utopians of Web 2.0 and the wisdom of the crowd. Keen argues that much of the content filling up YouTube, MySpace, and blogs is just an endless digital forest of mediocrity which, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter public debate and manipulate public opinion.


Ralph Steadman, The Observer - “That’s the best thing we’ve read all year”
Andrew Keen has had the temerity to point out that our search for instant wisdom through, say, Google and Wikipedia provides not necessarily what is most true or reliable—merely what is most popular. I read it in one sitting then went outside to fish for our supper, firmly believing that the poor fish that swallows my squirming worm on a barbed hook is infinitely smarter than the idiot on the other end holding the rod.
A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail
A staggering new book by Andrew Keen. He is an English-born digital media entrepreneur and Silicon Valley insider who really knows his stuff and he writes with the passion of a man who can at last see the dangers he has helped unleash. His book will come as a real shock to many. It certainly did to me.
Luke Johnson, Management Today - Books of the Year
Keen deserves to be taken seriously... I admire his bravery in arguing against the vociferous IT crowd.
Management Today
The Cult of the Amateur needed to be written and it needs to be read.
Chris Schroeder, CEO, Health Central Network and former CEO, WashingtonPost/Newsweek online
This is a powerful, provocative and beautifully written stop-and-breathe book in the midst of the greatest paradigm shift in information and communications history.
Jonathan Last, online editor, The Weekly Standard
Andrew Keen is a brilliant, witty, classically-educated technoscold—and thank goodness. The world needs an intellectual Goliath to slay Web 2.0’s army of Davids.
Martin Green, VP of Community, CNET
Important... will spur some very constructive debate. This is a book that can produce positive changes to the current inertia of web 2.0.
Andrew Rasiej, founder, Personal Democracy Forum
For anyone who thinks that technology alone will make for a better democracy, Andrew Keen will make them think twice.
Dan Farber, editor-in-chief, ZDNet
Very engaging, and quite controversial and provocative. He doesn’t hold back any punches.
Ralph Steadman
Thank you so much for your virtual BIBLE. It is the only thing I have come across that is uncompromising and clear. The computer is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it is in danger of becoming a barometer of our moral stance, a law maker for our shared values and a bulwark against the sheer essence of beauty that has gone before. It must never be the annihilator of human effort, the touchstone of ingenuity or the simple pleasure of making something that may have been made for a thousand years.
The New York Times
A shrewdly argued jeremiad against the digerati effort to dethrone cultural and political gatekeepers and replace experts with ‘the wisdom of the crowd’. Keen writes with acuity and passion.
Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia and founder of Citizendium
My initial reaction to the book was: ‘Geez, I have a lot of things to think about now.’ For people immersed in the social communities of Web 2.0, this is bound to be a thought-provoking and sobering book. While I don’t agree with everything Keen says, there is page after page of really interesting insight and research. I look forward to the much-needed debate about the problems that Keen articulates—which can’t be lightly dismissed.