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Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room
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Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,471 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.

Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker . . . if you know

Hardcover, 231 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Nov 10, 2015 Khadidja rated it really liked it
“The Internet’s abundant capacity has removed the old artificial constraints on publishing including getting our content checked and verified. The new strategy of publishing everything we find out thus results in an immense cloud of data, free of theory, published before verified, and available to anyone with an Internet connection. And this is changing the role that facts have played as the foundation of knowledge.” i strongly agree, I wish the Internet had more educational and cultural filters ...more
Jan 14, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: popcomp
I was 18% of the way through this book before I realized it was a book about philosophy. Well, perhaps it isn't, perhaps it's filed under popular computing or whatever the "books that tell you how everything is different with the Internet" section is called these days. But what I took from this book was the philosophy.

Now I've read a little of philosophy: I can recognize a bunch of the Greeks and maybe make a lame ham-fisted explanation of one or two, but the real thing I learned from my reading
This is a decent surface-skim of the way the Internet is redefining how we think and what knowledge even means. Things aren't discussed in much depth, but topics in this area are introduced enough that you can start to think about them for yourself. I enjoyed setting the book aside to think deeper about some of what it talked about, and while I often disagreed with the author, he later reveals he disagrees with a lot of what has already been said doom-and-gloom-wise about the Internet. He just d ...more
Dan Russell
Jun 18, 2012 Dan Russell rated it it was amazing
If the number of underlines in a book is any measure of quality (or at least interest), this is possibly the wisest book I’ve read on the changes in how we think about knowledge. Every chapter has at least 10 underlined passages. Weinberger gets a lot of it right: the changes in our expectations about what constitutes validity; how internetworking at the speed and scale we have now radically changes the WAYS we think; and the ways in which large amounts of networked knowledge allows us to think ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Corwin rated it it was ok
The premise of this book is that somehow networked organizations and networked thinking will lead to better, smarter decisions. As long as we include a sufficient diversity of opinions and experience in the networks helping us make our decisions we will arrive at better, more informed answers. In fact, as the amount of information explodes, these networks will be the only way to manage all the information we are creating.

Here's the problem. I don't think anyone will dispute that reaching out the
Armanda Moncton
Apr 12, 2013 Armanda Moncton rated it liked it
This is a good book, yet I found it very hard to persist to the end. Perhaps for someone who is deeply knowledgeable about the evolution of networks, and who swims effortlessly in the hyperlinked knowledge environment of blogs and tweets, this work of philosophy will deepen their understanding of powerful changes that come with a paradigm shift. For myself, I am desperately trying to flit from one observation post to another as I borrow the perspective of those who are knowledgeable about what t ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Though there really is "too much" to even discuss (much less know!) regarding new media's effect on how we establish, glean, and use knowledge, Weinberger does a fantastic job in exploring many of these issues. Better yet, he does so in an engaging manner, presenting plenty of historical and modern-day examples in a sophisticated, yet easy-to-read narrative voice.

What most impresses me about Weinberger's approach is his clear confidence in the importance of these issues coupled with a conscious
Rob Kitchin
Mar 01, 2013 Rob Kitchin rated it liked it
In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger (2011) develops a materialist argument with regards to the relationship between the medium and nature of communication, arguing: ‘[t]ransform the medium by which we develop, preserve, and communicate knowledge, and we transform knowledge.’ Such arguments have been made by others, such as Kittler in his book Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, where he sets out how each of these technologies transformed knowledge production and changed how people relate to and inter ...more
Oct 28, 2016 Youghourta rated it it was amazing
لم أكن أعلم بأنني بصدد قراءة كتاب فلسفي بامتياز حتى غصت عميقًا بين ثنايا الكتاب. يهتم الكتاب بشكل أساسي بفلسفة المعرفة (كيف نعرف ما نعرف).
الكتاب يُعالج التّطور الذي عرفه ما نُطلق عليه اسم "المعرفة" على مر التاريخ. مُصطلح "المعرفة" كان يعني أمرًا مُختلفًا في السّابق، لما كانت المُعارف تُنشر على هيئة كُتب (ورقية). المعرفة في وقتنا الحالي (عصر الإنترنت) اختلفت بشكل جذري فلم تعد تحدّها حدود "فيزيائية" كالسابق (وضع المعرفة في كتب ورقية لا تتّصل ببعضها البعض)، وأصبحنا نواجه فائضًا من المعارف لم تشهده
Neil Coulter
Oct 15, 2014 Neil Coulter rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction

In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger is essentially saying, "Listen, folks, I've read a few articles, and boy do you need to hear what I've learned!" I kept waiting for something from Weinberger's own experience or expertise to rise up and take its place in the book, but it never seemed to. Rather, he relies on other books on similar topics, and on information he found online. He did a few interviews, but they add little to his argument.

His argument is that the very idea of knowledge is changing

Ken McDouall
Jun 24, 2013 Ken McDouall rated it it was amazing
Weinberger dazzles us with examples of how the structure of knowledge and means of knowing are changing with the rapid growth of digital networks in all our institutions. He details how tools such as crowdsourcing, open access repositories, and aggregators are exponentially increasing the amount of information we have access to. There has always been an abundance of information, but our traditional paper-based system of disseminating it has put time-tested filters in place. Weinberger describes ...more
Mike Nyerges
Feb 08, 2014 Mike Nyerges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Librarians and archivists
Shelves: recently-read
In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger examines how the unprecedented growth of information on the Internet has challenged how we determine fact and share our understanding of the world, and he suggests possible strategies in coping with this growth. Weinberger reviews how the Internet has facilitated a dynamic exchange of ideas that was once the province of established institutions and professions. What were once closed networks are now more open, visible and public. Studies and investigations ar ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
This was less a new book and more a book-length response to Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", and, as with New and Quiet, this book could easily have been half the length. The author talks at length about how research used to be done, how research used to be reported, how newspapers used to be the "record", etc. and how now, in the Internet age, thanks to the ease of crowdsourcing and self-publishing, those traditional "experts with official imprimatur" are now losing ground to the ...more
Roy Kenagy
Dec 03, 2011 Roy Kenagy marked it as to-read
Evgeny Morozov eviscerates Weinberger, Too Big to Know ~I guess I need to read it anyway...

Report on "Too Big to Know" lecture by Weinberger at UC Berkeley School of Information:

“Newspapers, encyclopedias, they are just gone, at the touch of a hyperlink,” Mr. Weinberger said. The institutions of “education and politics – they’ll just shatter. How did they get to be so fragile?” With the pained glee of a scientist discovering very bad news, he added,
Letizia Sechi
Oct 13, 2013 Letizia Sechi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le mie 4 ragioni per leggerlo:

- È raro trovare tanta lucidità, chiarezza e densità di contenuti. Ma è ancora più raro trovare chi è in grado di fare questo con uno stile brillante e avvincente. Una lezione di scrittura.

- Per chi si occupa di contenuti e del loro spazio ai tempi della rete, sarà un libro cruciale sia per la quantità (e qualità) di spunti di riflessione, sia per l'efficacia con cui inquadra moltissimi aspetti del cambiamento che questo settore sta attraversando.

- Un capitolo dedic
Mar 09, 2012 E rated it it was ok
Weinberger relies a little too much on a stark contrast between paper versus not-paper, and he attends primarily to the social rather than the perceptual/psychological/cognitive effects of screen media. (To be fair, he's focusing upon adults and teens rather than upon young children, for whom the developmental stakes are much higher.) There's not a whole lot here that's new -- his _Everything Is Miscellaneous_ is a much more interesting and informative read -- but it's well-written and a smooth ...more
Harry Fulgencio
Sep 10, 2014 Harry Fulgencio rated it liked it
If you have read something about Big Data then some of the examples here would be familiar (vice versa). This book offers a glimpse and interpretations of previous,mostly successful, instances of highly networked knowledge e.g. Patientslikeme, foldit, open government in US, open data initiatives, innocentive, more can be read in the chapter 4 "The expertise of clouds".

"Life is local. Without the local, we would have no standpoint by which to make sense of the world near us or the world within wh
Eric Abell
Nov 24, 2016 Eric Abell rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eric by: Gary Thompson
This book has given me a great deal to think about. I'm honestly not sure what to think about what it means to "know" something. I have a system of studying that I have developed over the last 15 years of my life, and after reading this book it's difficult for me to have trust in that system.

I'm immediately starting the second read of this book while I try to assemble the ideas in my head.
May 15, 2012 Marc rated it it was amazing
A study of knowledge in a networked world: Weinberger looks at how paper and digital technologies shape what we know and how we know it. A more cohesively written volume than his Everyting is Miscellaneous, Too big to Know proposes that knowledge now belongs to the network and the Internet is not making us stupid, it is merely making us structure knowledge in different ways.

Emma Sea
Jan 09, 2013 Emma Sea rated it liked it
Not sure if full of filler, or if I just didn't need to be persuaded to Weinberger's way of thinking. Link to show your evidence/reasoning, teach people how to tell complete bullshit apart from rhetoric, don't abandon traditional knowledge/institutions when it/they can still offers us stuff, label stuff well, open access to knowledge. Sounds fine to me.
Aug 26, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-2015
Finally finished! Interesting thoughts on knowledge in the digital age.
Greg Linster
Mar 07, 2012 Greg Linster rated it really liked it
How do you know what you think you know? What counts as knowledge and what doesn’t?  These questions speak to a great semantics-based problem, i.e., trying to define what ‘knowledge’ is. Studying the nature of knowledge falls within the domain of a branch of philosophy called epistemology, which happens largely to be the subject matter of David Weinberger’s book  Too Big Too Know .

According to Weinberger, most of us tend to think that there are certain individuals — called experts — who are know
Silvia Cerri
Jan 21, 2017 Silvia Cerri rated it liked it
Shelves: work
I loved the concept, extremely interesting and a must-know for people interested in the paradigm shift due to the IT revolution, but the point brought forward are expressed in a tedious, circling way that is, often, verbose.

Interesting concepts:
- Old knowledge was paper-based, new knowledge relies on the internet and its network. Since paper comes at a cost, old knowledge was limited and filtered out. New knowledge, instead, is filtered forward an
Jan 22, 2017 Aspen rated it really liked it
This book was assigned reading for a grad course I am in. It's not typically a book I would have read for leisure. I did, however, find the subject interesting. The idea that the internet is changing the way we think is not entirely new. But Weinberger makes good points in the precise ways the internet is changing our thinking but also how we obtain the information. Not all together grammatically difficult, since it is not my typical reading fair it was somewhat intellectually dense - for me at ...more
Josh Allred
Jan 19, 2017 Josh Allred rated it liked it
I enjoyed Here Comes Everybody (Shirky) better than this book. Although different, there strangely similar. Weinberger talks about knowledge the same way Shirky talks about tech. The Darwin references didn't do it for me after a while. Still has good info and worth the read.
Martha Decker
Feb 28, 2016 Martha Decker rated it it was amazing
This book is interesting, and it makes many valid points. There are a few things that I don’t totally agree with Weinberger about, but overall, his points are valid and well stated and his work is thoroughly sourced. His points definitely have credibility, as he has vast experience in all that is "internet."

David Weinberger is a writer, philosopher, marketing consultant, professional speaker and teacher with a Ph.D from the University of Toronto. He taught college for several years in the 1980s.
Apr 01, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing
“The smartest person in the room is not the person standing at the front lecturing us, and it is not the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it.”

In his book “Too Big To Know” Weinberger describes how the internet changed the way we create, share, receive, manage and store knowledge in the 21st century. The above quote supports his main thought that the tra
Apr 05, 2014 Christy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
David Weinberger was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended last year. I had picked up this book beforehand, as a way of being uber-prepared for this last-minute-approved professional development opportunity. In Too Big to Know, Weinberger briefly examines how technology is shaping the way we create knowledge.

Some years ago, I read Nicholas Carr’s The Big Switch, though I think he is better known for his book The Shallows. Weinberger’s book is in the same topical vicinity as those, but Wei
Jan 03, 2017 SVEN rated it liked it
Nothing especially exciting or energizing about the book beyond the catchy title. Sadly it's written in a less than engaging way and the author lacks the storytelling skills that make a book a pageturner.

What is brought forwadr is a relevant but somewhat overly reiteratated perspective on the reality of knowledge accumulation in our connected environment:

- It is not per se good ( everyone now has previously unimageinable access to information and our unprecedented opportunity to collaborate lead
Darren Anderson
Jan 19, 2014 Darren Anderson rated it it was ok
If you are looking for an insight into the idea of knowledge and how it has changed with the advent of the Internet, then you will find what you are looking for here. Weinberger’s focus is how knowledge is changing from a “papered” form to one that is networked and without boundary, and what implications that holds for us as “knowers.”

Knowledge, according to Weinberger, is and always has been a boundless, malleable thing subject to the shaping power of human intellect across individuals and grou
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“the next darwin is more likely to be a data wonk than a naturalist wandering through an exotic landscape” 4 likes
“The Internet’s abundant capacity has removed the old artificial constraints on publishing—including getting our content checked and verified. The new strategy of publishing everything we find out thus results in an immense cloud of data, free of theory, published before verified, and available to anyone with an Internet connection. And this is changing the role that facts have played as the foundation of knowledge.” 1 likes
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