PositiveNew York Times Book ReviewThe book traces the evolution and end of Ive and Cook’s partnership, involving compendious review of public sources and over 200 interviews with current and former Apple employees and advisers ... Mickle builds a dense, granular mosaic of the firm’s trials and triumphs ... In the epilogue, Mickle drops his reporter’s detachment to apportion responsibility for the firm’s failure to launch another transformative product. Cook is blamed for being aloof and unknowable, a bad partner for Ive ... By the end, the sense that the two missed a chance to create a worthy successor to the iPhone is palpable. It’s also hooey, and the best evidence for that is the previous 400 pages. It’s true that after Jobs died, Apple didn’t produce another device as important as the iPhone, but Apple didn’t produce another device that important before he died either. It’s also true that Cook did not play the role of C.E.O. as Jobs had, but no one ever thought he could ... Ive and Cook wanted another iPhone, but, as Mickle’s exhaustive reporting makes clear, there was not another such device to be made ... Epilogue aside, the book is an amazingly detailed portrait of the permanent tension between strategy and luck: Companies make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.
Cass R. Sunstein
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewLearning that your favorite food is bad for you will upset you, but might prolong your life; present mood versus future utility has to be considered somehow. Unfortunately, Sunstein’s own data on willingness to pay is more evocative than convincing. This is a bit stats-geeky, but the median answers versus average answers from his survey vary wildly, a variation that does not show up in nationally representative data later in the book. The lack of consensus among his respondents makes Sunstein’s survey watery concrete for the foundation he is trying to pour. This is a distraction but not a fatal one; the book actually delivers something stranger and more interesting than the announced thesis: a tour of human biases that end up creating \'behavioral market failures\' ... While Sunstein’s analysis of consumer psychology is illuminating, his examples are sometimes oversimplified ... To want Sunstein to account for regulatory capture, secondary harms and data journalism, though, is to want more of what he is already offering. Though it presents itself as a new solution to a host of current problems, Too Much Information ends up presenting a host of new problems to one current solution: transparency. Among government reformers and progressive regulators (like Sunstein himself, a decade ago), increasing access to information has been regarded as an obvious goal since Watergate. The book doesn’t replace that generational certainty with a new one, but it does make it impossible to continue regarding information disclosure as an uncomplicated good.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewMcCulloch is doubly suited to this subject, as a scholar and part of the first generation to grow up with social media ... McCulloch shows how even the keysmash — pounding the keyboard when you just can’t even — has been regularized ... The message of Because Internet is that language is correct when sender and receiver understand a message in their shared context. That’s it. It’s social agreement all the way down. There is no ultimate authority, no unambiguously appropriate form, no way an outsider can correctly say other people are doing it wrong ... Through all the linguistic interpretations and contemporary examples, McCulloch builds an argument that the internet isn’t just changing the way we use language, it’s changing the way we think about it ... Language is, as McCulloch puts it, humankind’s largest open-source project; and the internet makes it much easier for all of us to see, and be, contributors.