PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)He is good on the joys of reading for pleasure ... He persuasively argues that this dysfunctional system is churning out young people who are \'over-qualified but afflicted by ignorance\' ... D’Ancona makes his case well. He is right to argue that identity-driven movements exist because there are genuine grievances about racism and sexism. The book is well written and thoughtful and he avoids the self-flagellation fashionable among liberals ... However, I am less optimistic that this new form of digitally amplified tribalism will improve public life.
MixedThe Times (UK)Stone has produced a readable and comprehensive account of Amazon’s journey. The book will no doubt be enthralling to budding entrepreneurs who view men such as Bezos as masters of the universe. Yet I wanted to hear more about the victims of the \'toxicity\' alluded to by Bray: the warehouse workers and small business sellers; the high street retailers and small companies ruined by Amazon’s unfair competition, due to the low rates of tax it pays and its near monopoly over online trade. These stories do feature in Stone’s book, yet they are dwarfed by quotes from sycophantic hangers-on and page after page of turgid minutiae, written in faintly admiring tones, documenting Bezos’s business acumen ... Bezos is a visionary who has built an impressive business empire. He has hooked us on the convenience of ordering at home. Yet Stone gets sucked in by the \'mystical aura of invincibility\' that he attributes to Bezos. He falls victim to the temperamental inclination, once remarked on by Adam Smith, for us humans to be \'admirers and worshippers, of wealth and greatness\' ... this is a great story. But I wanted the truth — unbound but also unvarnished.
MixedThe Times (UK)Darling makes a strong case that we should look to animals for an idea of how our relationship with robots will unfold ... Darling has interesting insights and marshals her arguments well. Yet I’m less optimistic than she is about the next wave of robotic automation in the world of work, which is predicted to make between one in six and one in ten jobs obsolete ... You don’t have to be suffering from a Frankenstein complex to worry that the machines of the future may yet be used to subordinate us.