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Gutenberg the Geek

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  817 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Johannes Gutenberg was our first geek, the original technology entrepreneur, who had to grapple with all the challenges a Silicon Valley startup faces today. Jeff Jarvis tells Gutenberg's story from an entrepreneurial perspective, examining how he overcame technology hurdles, how he operated with the secrecy of a Steve Jobs but then shifted to openness, how he raised capit ...more
Kindle Edition, 20 pages
Published February 27th 2012 by Amazon Digital Services (first published February 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,368)
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Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
I don't think ANY of the other books I have read on Gutenberg has infuriated me like this one. Firstly, to compare what Gutenberg did to dot coms and Silicon Valley is ridiculous. It's only been a few years and no one talks about or cares about them any more and Gutenberg created something that changed the world and has endured for centuries, not forgotten five minutes later. Then to compare him to Steve Jobs, how insulting. Yes, they where both secretive men, but Fust, the man who stole Gutenbe ...more
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
The book,more like an article,was quite informative. It also made some interesting analogies. The language was so dull and the style so boring. Getting a good amount of facts from such a few pages seems quite economical if you are ready to blind yourself to the language and style.
Jun 08, 2015 Steffi rated it really liked it
This is a really nice short overview of Gutenberg's achievements and the impact his inventions had and still have.

Starting with Gutenberg's history and some details of his inventions Jarvis goes on to liken him to inventors and successful business ideas of our time.
He even manages to give an overview of the parallels of the inventions of the printing press and the Internet while quoting McLuhan and Eisenstein (two of the most important scholars in that field) - and all of it in a bit more than
Jul 19, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
I think I would like this more if I was a tech geek. I'm not. Jarvis does seem to make his case, but I wanted more straight forward history.

If you like computers, you should like it.
Kevin O'Brien
May 04, 2012 Kevin O'Brien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
This short book (more of an essay, really) was sold as an Amazon single. I got it because I have been thinking about the premise that seeing how printing changed the world in the 15th century can help us understand how the Internet is changing our world in the 21st century. Jarvis gets into this by postulating that Gutenberg can be understood as an early version of a Silicon Valley Start-Up. This is an interesting take since I never thought of it in exactly those terms before.

My own thinking ha
Alan Lattanner
Jan 13, 2013 Alan Lattanner rated it really liked it
Nearly everyone knows the name Johannes Gutenberg. What you don't know about him is what makes this book so fascinating.

This book will entertain and inform anyone interested in history. Additionally, author Jeff Jarvis tells Gutenberg's story in terms readily understood by today's entrepreneur and inventor -- capital formation, technology challenge, personnel management, intellectual property protection, contract formation. No stretch of imagination is required on the reader's part, but the auth
May 05, 2014 Leanne rated it liked it

I'll be the first to admit this book wasn't the most well written thing I've ever read, but I liked it nonetheless. Of course I knew the basic story of Gutenberg, but Gutenberg the Geek encouraged me to look at him as not only an inventor, but also an entrepreneur. It gave an excellent, short overview of the creation of the press while showing Gutenberg in a somewhat different light. I also learned that the reason the printing press blew up around the world is because Gutenberg essentially made

Jan 02, 2014 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
I usually find the pundits of the net to be insufferable self-promoters, but in this instance Jarvis has delivered a well written piece on historical technology, but assigned it with a modern day pundit's view, while at the same time leaving himself out of it.

This is only the second kindle single I have read, but I very much appreciate the long form read in the :30-:60 read time package. The quality of the two singles is making me think that perhaps the long form novel (I.e. 600+ pages) is in tr
Aug 29, 2012 Frances rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This Kindle Single is a very quick read. Whether you call Gutenberg a "geek," a start-up entrepreneur, or a great innovator, his invention of the printing press was a revolutionary technological development that changed the world. This little book gives the reader an overview of the historical context and Gutenberg's process. The author approaches this from an entrepreneurial perspective, showing the challenges Gutenberg faced, how his competitor gained control of much of his work, and how Guten ...more
Alex Strick van Linschoten
Gutenberg as the ur-entrepeneur. Interesting to read about Gutenberg's life, but this book came with progressivist baggage that I was less excited about. Luckily, this is an extremely short book, so...
Stephen Davis
Mar 05, 2012 Stephen Davis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Stephen by: The Amazon Robot
Great, quick read that is thought provoking...I am still thinking about the image of "The Gutenberg Parentheses" ...I highly recommend this...The only bad thing about this piece is the last two or three paragraphs that are promoting a free and open internet. I am all for a free and open internet; however, the point of the rest of the piece is an examination of similarities between the creation of Gutenberg's Press and modernity's technological advances...
Oct 30, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
Some of the entrepreneurial comparisons to Silicon Valley are tiresome, though that's probably my own personal distaste for the economic and cultural canonization of tech CEOs. At the same time, comparisons made to technologies like the Internet and web search (e.g., Google) make this book (well, essay) worth reading. Most interesting to me is how the printing press not only heralded an unprecedented, widespread circulation of ideas, but also that many of those ideas were seen as unsavory, unscr ...more
Stig E.
Jul 12, 2012 Stig E. rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction

Not very long or interesting. The wikipedia article on Gutenberg with the occasional "just like Steve Jobs!" inserted for effect. It felt like an attemt to shoehorn Gutenberg into the role of a Silicon Valley entrepeneur, without any real reason other than the aliteration in the title.
Darcy Moore
Gutenberg the Geek by Jeff Jarvis is a quick, informative read that has a great deal to offer a wide-variety of readers. Many will be surprised to find out about the business and legal challenges facing Gutenberg in raising money to develop his printing press. Other considerations, including secrecy were also interesting. Gutenberg developed different parts of the press at numerous locations to prevent industrial sabotage. His legal troubles, as a result of challenges raising money and 'shipping ...more
Michael Jay
Jun 23, 2012 Michael Jay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Engineers-in-training
I am trying to synchronize my work with my reading lifestyle. I wish I could uncover the trigger to excite this term's students in terms of reading. I regularly get the question, "How can I improve my English?" I get many complaints of lack of practice time, fewer native English speakers, etc.; however, when I suggest reading as a way to increase comprehension and visualization of ideas, my students, almost to a person, say the same thing -- "We don't like to read." That response is akin to some ...more
Nov 08, 2013 Danial rated it liked it
Shelves: technology
The Bible was his masterpiece; of such sublime beauty that later generations, up to our own, have rarely matched and never excelled. However, Gutenberg's first book was the "Donatus Latin Grammar," and it was hideous. The printing press wasn't invented overnight, and the Donatus Latin Grammar was Gutenberg's "beta."

Gutenberg only went "open source" and trained people on his technology after one of his factories was taken over by Johann Fust, who sued for the investment interest he was allegedly
Alex Devero
Jun 20, 2015 Alex Devero rated it liked it
Shelves: history
On his twenty-year journey to invent and fine-tune the technology for his famed printing press, Johannes Gutenberg encountered many of the same obstacles as modern Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including cash-flow problems and back-stabbing venture capitalists. Despite these difficulties, his invention is perhaps one of the most influential in history, comparable to the potential of the internet today.
Bianca Smith
Jan 15, 2014 Bianca Smith rated it liked it
I can't recall if this is a free offering by Amazon Shorts or I downloaded it via a free offer. It was a while ago and never caught my attention enough to read, until this insomnia-filled morning.

It's a quick biography and recap of Gutenberg's inventions and work. The comparisons to Silicon Valley may be fair. Declaring Gutenberg an advocate for open-source is a stretch, and only exists to support Jeff Jarvis' mantra for all organizations and media to be open and transparent - probably excepting
Mar 14, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it
This is a short essay-type read. In fact, I spent most of the book assuming it was a college paper. Turns out it evolved from interesting stuff the author dug up while researching another book.

The essay/book has a great thesis. It does spend most of its time on Gutenberg and his process, hence the title (and even some interesting tidbits about how long it took for him to have a successful printing, and how he was undercut by competitors because of his startup debts). But the author draws some s
Dec 18, 2013 Lia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Bibbia di Gutenberg a 42 righe. La storia della stampa a caratteri mobili. Un’invenzione, come ha scritto John Man in The Gutenberg Revolution: How Printing Changed the Course of History, “in attesa di essere scoperta”. Grazie alla genialità dello stampatore di Magonza, “non cambiò soltanto la letteratura ma anche la politica, la religione, l’educazione, la nostra percezione di noi stessi, i nostri ricordi”. Così si esprime sull’Observer l’opinionista John Naughton, un’altra delle significati ...more
Mar 22, 2016 Documentally rated it liked it
Not sure how the non-geek might receive this. I enjoyed this essay but was a little jarred by the book plug at the end. Grand comparisons are made but the analogies fit for me. I felt I got a healthy dose of history and I'm all for more calls to actions in support of the open web.
David Walker
Apr 21, 2014 David Walker rated it liked it
Had never considered comparing Gutenberg and printing to the Internet. Interesting comparison of printing and the Internet

never had considered printing as an enterprise nor Gutenberg as the inventor of his day.
I can now conceive of u
Ross West
Jun 09, 2015 Ross West rated it really liked it
A brief, interesting read on how Gutenberg's invention brought about great changes in culture, with the suggestion that the Internet will also eventually bring about great changes in culture.
Mar 11, 2016 Tammam rated it really liked it
Size wise, this is more of an essay than a book; but it is a good one at that.

If you are looking at a detailed history of Gutenberg, you'd be a bit disappointed. This is not meant to cover that territory although it gives a decent story of he lived and how his invention of printing came to be. This is a view of him as an entrepreneur and a comparison with modern day startups. The parallels are many.

It is also a shout for the freedom of the internet in the current age as those parallels come to
Kevin Ruess Marshall
Oct 23, 2015 Kevin Ruess Marshall rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable Read

Enjoyable and interesting read for a short book. Great analysis on the importance of the impact the press made on the future
Jun 12, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok
There isn't much here that you wouldn't find in a wikipedia article, and this kindle single isn't much longer than that. I still had seven minutes left on the elliptical in the gym when I finished this. Jarvis tries to paint Gutenberg as the 15th century Steve Jobs, which is an interesting theory, but he doesn't back it up with much evidence - just a lot of 'Gutenberg did 'x'. JUST LIKE STEVE JOBS!'. The writing-style is reminiscent of a motivational speaker, which I also found a little annoying ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Vanteacher rated it really liked it
A short summary of Gutenberg, his work its likeness to modern tech startups.
Very entertaining and enlightening
Sep 16, 2015 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-books
Enjoyed learning more about Gutenberg's road to making and using the printing press.
Daniel Lauzon
Feb 08, 2014 Daniel Lauzon rated it really liked it
Loved it, nice and concise. A mix of historical drama, journalism, and opinion piece.
Michelle Laughran
Apr 06, 2015 Michelle Laughran rated it really liked it
A synopsis of what is known about Gutenberg... Lots of interesting factoids!
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Jeff Jarvis is an American journalist writing for publications such as New York Daily News, the San Francisco Examiner, and The Guardian. In 2006 he became an associate professor at City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, directing its new media program. He is a co-host on This Week in Google, a show on the TWiT Network.

Picture by Robert Scoble
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“I believe the internet could prove to be as momentous an invention, as profound a platform. This is why we must protect the net from the control of governments and corporations — especially because they are the objects of the disruption technology enables. Only if it remains as open as the printing press for anyone — no, everyone — to use can the net.” 1 likes
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