PanThe Times (UK)This book is bizarre ... Hendrickson, whose research seems to be Herculean, constantly corrects the mistakes of earlier biographers ... This book is not the place to begin if you want to know more. It is egregiously over-written with silly authorial interpolations ... Furthermore, it is perhaps 200 pages too long, because the author persists in drowning us in pointless paragraphs and unnecessary detail about marginal characters or incidents. This is detail masquerading as depth, a common fault in certain types of American journalism.
PositiveThe Times\"[Zuboff] is not the first to expose the iniquities of Big Tech, but she is the most comprehensive and impassioned ... This is an important book, the most thorough take down of Big Tech I have read. It is, however, too long and too eccentric. Descriptions of her personal journey do not add to Zuboff’s authority and nor does the broadening of her case to include the usual demon of neoliberalism and, for some reason, the riots in Britain in 2011. She should do a shorter, punchier version if she really wants to promote resistance and outrage among the ordinary punters...\
MixedThe Sunday TimesSusskind deftly winds his way through the possibilities (a universal basic wage, tight regulation and checking of code, new forms of democracy and accountability, humans in the algorithms’ decision loops) but he doesn’t quite attain optimism ... The book’s shortcoming is that it is a bit too general and theoretical. I don’t think we should take, as Susskind seems to, the current control of the internet by a few giant monopolies as a given ... But, in fairness, Susskind acknowledges that specific prophecies are almost always wrong. His writing is clear and precise; he is a lawyer, he is making a case. Irritatingly, he puts in too many (one would be too many) cheeky-chappy asides ... We can fix this, is his message, but there is also the nagging sense that we probably won’t.
MixedThe Times (UK)This is an important book, a must-read guide to one enormous aspect of the human future. It is slow going, not because it is badly written but because of the compression of so many complex ideas into such a relatively short space ... It concludes with the standard scientist’s pay-off calling for more debate because \'genetics is much too important to leave to geneticists alone\'. The problem is that genetics also shows that debate will have as little effect as a mother’s love on the outcome.
RaveThe TimesThe animals that are moving into built-up areas are adapting and even evolving at breathtaking speed in response to this new and richly varied ecosystem. Not only are those mosquitoes, for example, a new strain, they also vary according to which Tube line they inhabit. Evolution in the city is quick and precise. In saying this, Schilthuizen is taking on three centuries of literature and polemic that defends the virtues of rural nature against the vices of city life ... This is a spellbinding and important book. Its only notable flaws are the bewilderingly dumb title and equally dumb cover picture of a zebra on a zebra crossing. Never mind, the message is thrilling. We might be reasonably fearful of our vast urban agglomerations, but at least we can console ourselves that they are not the sterile, alienated wastelands of the post-industrial imagination. For us, and countless forms of our distant relatives, they are just a new home.
MixedThe TimesThis is a compendious book and insofar as it has a theme it is captured by that word \'admixture\'. All humans, in spite of countless local mythologies, are a hopeless genetic stew. DNA tells us that no purist claim of special heredity, ancient or modern, makes any sense whatsoever ... The book is, frankly, a bit of a slog. Reich recounts his work but does not really elucidate or dramatise it effectively, so this feels like a semi-academic text. It is also unclear in its organisation — I thought I’d reached the last page on at last half a dozen occasions. But its importance cannot be overstated and neither can some of its best stories.