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To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  859 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
The award-winning author of The Net Delusion shows how the radical transparency we've become accustomed to online may threaten the spirit of real-life democracy.

In the very near future, technological systems will allow us to make large-scale and sophisticated interventions into many more areas of public life: politics, culture, public debate, even our definitions of morali
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Hardcover, 415 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by PublicAffairs (first published 2013)
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Emma Sea
Feb 25, 2015 Emma Sea rated it did not like it
Goddamit, Morozov, don't be so disingenuous. I know you FUCKING KNOW that Rosa Parks did not just "happen" to be sitting in the whites-only section of the bus, and her "courageous act" was NOT only "possible because the bus and the sociotechnological system in which [the bus] operated were terribly inefficient." (p. 204)

Don't. Just . . .don't.

Similarly, a woman who turns down cider because of the sugar content does not do so because the fact that "she might derive great sensual pleasure from dr
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Jordan
Nov 10, 2013 Jordan rated it it was amazing
In some circles, this will not be a popular read. But like Morozov's previous book, The Net Delusion, this is an incredibly important and interesting read. If nothing else, this book serves to bring down to earth those of us who have gotten carried away with the notion that the Internet will save us.

I don't necessarily agree with everything Morozov says, but I do appreciate what he's done with his two books on technological utopianism and solutionism. What I appreciate the most is the critical e
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Garrett
Aug 19, 2013 Garrett rated it did not like it
Ugh. I picked up this book hoping to read about the folly of technological solutionism - what I got was a snide treatise on the follies of technological solutionists.

The book scarcely goes a page without calling out a particular name in the current app-y noosphere, and essentially reads like the memoir of a grumpy old man telling kids why they're all dumb.

If you follow the cults of personality surrounding individuals in the Silicon Valley elite, this book will trample on your heroes and tell yo
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Tara Brabazon
Feb 05, 2013 Tara Brabazon rated it liked it
To use a cliche from music reviewers, this book is 'a grower.' It improves as it progresses, and the Postscript is a corker.

The arguments are clear. There is a wide and disturbing gulf between the internet and 'the Internet.' A technological system is being stuff with ideologies, tropes and mantras of progress, revolution and transformation. Actually, it is just the internet. Get over it.

The problems with the first half of the book - and I recognize how this happens - is that Morozov becomes f
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Sean
Apr 02, 2013 Sean rated it it was amazing
What if I told you there was no “Internet”?

What if I told you that imperfection is not a bug, but a feature?

It has become so easy to talk about “The Internet” that we don’t stop to think about what we actually mean when we say it. Instead of “the Internet” what we usually mean is a particular technology, program, device, or method. But because we lump these various technologies together we give them greater significance than they individually deserve. This greater, undeserved significance has ma
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Will
Mar 04, 2013 Will rated it it was amazing
A fantastic and original read. Morozov is an unconventional and broad thinker. His latest book bounces from philosophy to technnology to history to sociology without any awkwardness or forced moves. He does the reader a great service by pulling back the curtain on the unintended and unseen consequences of our growing reliance on 'solutions' thinking.

Here is a challenge to the talking points of Silicon Valley that is never shrill nor bombastic.

Morozov provokes, challenges and, above all, he bre
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John Mark Agosta
Jul 19, 2013 John Mark Agosta rated it liked it
This book, the author's second, picks a fight with the greed and self-adulation in Silicon Valley culture that would justify any technological advance as an unmitigated good and gift to humanity.
To identify his target, Morozov coins the term "solutionism" as the rampant trend of proponents of internet technology to identify things in society they find undesirable as problems to be fixed, by placing efficiency above all else, and putting aside the harder questions that the consequences of techno
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Christoph
Mar 28, 2013 Christoph rated it liked it
Where to begin with this one. In general, I tend to find that with non-fiction writers, regardless the topic and for whatever reason, I tend to agree with the premise but reject the conclusion. Reading back through my reviews, it is not unusual to find this complaint amongst them. My read of Morozov, at least in this book, is a little different; here I tend to agree with Morozov's conclusions while the premise I have trouble buying.

Part of the reason for this is Morozov's rather unusual style o
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Jesper Balslev
Mar 24, 2013 Jesper Balslev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: digital-kultur
Nødvendigt kritisk katalog til vor tid og et et overbevisende forsvar for tænkning (og det at være et uperfekt menneske). Besvarer stort set alle de spørgsmål som jeg langsomt var begyndt at stille til den evangelistiske diskurs bag megen ny teknologi. Men også et deprimerende gok i hovedet på rigtig mange optimistiske tanker for ny teknologi. Alternativet til solutionism fremstår en smule uklart, men noget a la: demokrati, samtale, institutioner, kompromisser og teknologi der skaber 'moralske r ...more
Andrew
Reading Evgeny Morozov's writing is like watching a man lob gasoline-soaked tennis balls at the system, at the lie-machine produced by West Coast techies (some of whom I once worked for) and legions of wooden-headed "intellectuals" whose level of ethical sophistication stopped developing somewhere shy of the 9th grade. I watch the lie-machine burn, and I cackle, and I can feel the flames' reflection glinting off my irises.

But then I get tired, and I get what I call Dissent-ery, which is the inte
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Dylan
Mar 04, 2017 Dylan rated it it was amazing
Mind - Blowing: Een visie die compleet breekt met het standaard Silicon Valley 'technologie-utopianisme', wat verfrissend is, maar vooral noodzakelijk.
Micah
Apr 13, 2013 Micah rated it did not like it
According to Evgeny Morozov, the world has gone crazy and he's one of the few sane people left. Zynga and Facebook, he writes, in his strange new book, "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism," have "become models to think about civic engagement." Yelp and Amazon have "become models to think about criticism." People who believe the open Internet can be a tool for good and who worry about and try to oppose people who are using it to hurt others, actually treat the ...more
Mike Caulfield
Apr 07, 2013 Mike Caulfield rated it it was amazing
A bit over-meticulous with the examples at times, but the depth of the approach excuses it. Morozov is known for his eviscerations of net celebs, but the strength of this book is in its deep roots, not its acid -- He pulls from everything from mid-20th century conservatism to classic liberalism to the post-structuralism of Bruno Latour. Morozov at his best not only unpacks the implications of Silicon Valley "solutionism", but aligns that unpacking with a broad intellectual tradition that Morozov ...more
Renae
Nov 04, 2015 Renae rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
The Internet will help us save everything.

If you frowned upon or scoffed at the above statement, and you love sarcasm and word play, then this book is for you. "Galton's iPhone" and "So Open It Hurts".. come on. Morozov addresses and unpacks our techno-utopian and solutionist view of the Internet, but in a more approachable, conversational manner. Take that with a pinch of salt though, because he comes off as someone who is irked by everything anyone else says about the Internet. So not so much
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Sevan
Mar 03, 2013 Sevan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read on the dangers of oversimplification of human behavior and moral/societal problems via quantification and the emergence of Big Data. Every technopreneur should read this book and decide if he or she wants to just make another "fun" App, hoping to create enough hype to make money or be acquired by an Advertising Supported tech giant (Facebook, Yelp, etc)or actually change the world for the better by creating technologies that make us reflect and think about bigger moral and ethic ...more
Jason
Jun 29, 2013 Jason rated it it was ok
The premise of this book would have made for a fantastic article but was stretched way too thin over several hundred pages. I see great value in arguing against solutionism and internet-centrism but, in order to fill the pages, the author is forced to repeat himself ad nauseum and level a series of attacks against other authors that do little to further his argument. If you are thinking of picking this up just read the first few sections and you will have a solid understanding of the rest of the ...more
Soham Chakraborty
I came across this little short story from guernica magazine while I was writing this review and I must recommend it as it conveys much more thought, expression, nuance, reason than I could write in this review.

https://www.guernicamag.com/features/...

At the very outset, let me articulate what this book is not. This book is not a page turner. This book will take your time and if you cannot keep up with the heavy dose of interdisciplinary research that Morozov so painstakingly has put up, then you
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David Dinaburg
Mar 18, 2013 David Dinaburg rated it it was amazing
To Save Everything Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism thankfully evades the formulaic trap of the “how-to” subtitle and smartly presents a series of cogent arguments refuting internet exceptionalism:
Recasting all complex social situations either as neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes that can be easily optimized—if only the right algorithms are in place!—this quest is likely to have unexpected consequences that
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Matt Schiavenza
Mar 10, 2017 Matt Schiavenza rated it it was amazing
A superb, brilliantly-written, and important critique of "solutionism" and internet-centrism. The notion that maximizing efficiency in every situation is desirable — something that is taken for granted in our culture where "disruption" is celebrated and "friction" is a bad word — comes under sustained attack here.

The ubiquity of smartphones and the explosion of apps has made it easier than ever for people to record and quantify every aspect of their life. I suppose, as a person who writes revie
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Dan Schiff
Jan 12, 2014 Dan Schiff rated it it was amazing
This fascinating, of-the-moment book is jam-packed with thoughtful insights, many of which gave voice to problems that I didn't quite realize I had with many current technologies. Though it starts off somewhat slow with a lot of media theory and (albeit essential) historical context, Morozov then dives into attacking the "solutionism" and "Internet-centrism" that too often propose to fix problems that don't actually need fixing.

For people who attempt to reform politics and circumvent the traditi
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Russ
Feb 18, 2014 Russ rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology, sociology
In the end, while some could take this book as a reason not to boldly go forth and solve life's niggling problems, ultimately, for me, this book serves as a reminder that human's, in the end, adapt technology to make life better, and at each step along the way, yes, there are trade-offs, unintended consequences cause collateral damage, but ultimately, we work through those issues and we do arrive at a better place. I doubt many cavemen would chose to stay in the cave after experiencing all of ou ...more
Graeme
Dec 23, 2016 Graeme rated it really liked it
When I began reading this book I had assumed that Morozov was making an argument in the tradition of George Grant or Neil Postman as I heard about this work through the New Atlantis. I was pleased to see that Morozov is neither a booster nor a knocker of technological development and "the internet." His focus is on the way in which the concept of "the internet" conceals the malleability of digital technology by presenting "the internet" as an unchangeable force that is destined to change everyth ...more
Peter Aronson
Jul 13, 2016 Peter Aronson rated it liked it
This book is what you might call a mixed bag. On one hand, Morozov has some really interesting, and possibly important things to say, on the other hand, this book is full of strawmen (regiments of them, legions of them, armies of them), ad hominem attacks, overstatements, sweeping generalizations and repeated attacks against the same easy targets. Every time he rants about "geeks", I want to interrupt and demand he explain just who he’s ranting about. Morozov is definitely at his best when addre ...more
Tim Harrison
This was a very frustating book for me. For the most part, I am on the same side as Morozov, but I think his arguments are imprecise in a way that will lead to people rejecting his premise and this book.

As he hits out at solutionism, he does so rather indiscriminately. There are quite a few things he mentions as problematic that to my mind are unqualified good ends of technology, the worst offender political transparency.

He makes the argument (poorly) that we need to allow politicians to be ab
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Charles
Jul 23, 2014 Charles rated it liked it
It took me several months to read this book. I didn't like it very much. It is what many nonfiction books have recently become. A hysterical scree against (you fill in the blank) which is a threat to human existence, or some such twaddle.

In this case Internet solution ism, meaning the societal powers are trying to make us solve all our problems with or on the Internet.

At first I tried to see this as philosophy, but it isn't that. Then I tried to fit it into a monodilectical rant, but of course
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Victor
Apr 10, 2013 Victor rated it liked it
Shelves: junk-drawer
What do we make of the debate between technophiles and technophobes? Both sides are wrong, says Morozov. Their first mistake is using words like "technology" and the "Internet" as if they were stable, unified entities with an internal logic all their own. Instead, he argues, the "Internet" is a messy casserole of creations, each with its own logic, purpose, and inintended consequences. So the various projects should be evaluated separately. What's more important, they should be evaluated morally ...more
Nelson Zagalo
Jan 24, 2014 Nelson Zagalo rated it it was amazing
A powerful and highly necessary reflection on the politics of technology. Morozov ability to synthesise current discourses around technology and more specifically “the internet” is simply brilliant.

I was impressed by the depth but also by the range of domains touched throughout the discussion - Openness, Neutrality, Big Data, Quantification, Gamification, Self-augmentation, Algorithmic ruling, Philosophy vs. Psychology, etc. Morozov is an avid observer and thinker, he’s someone interested in und
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Adam Higgitt
Jan 29, 2015 Adam Higgitt rated it it was ok
For all the author's protestations, this is a profoundly conservative tract that only hangs together because of the constant use of refuge in reductio ad absurdum. Like most such conservative thought, at it's heart is the assumption that people are incapable of adopting and using something new in moderation, or balanced against other approaches. Therefore, pretty much anything the internet can do is to be feared because, so the author contends, it will eradicate the old and established. Gamifica ...more
Chad Post
May 04, 2013 Chad Post rated it it was amazing
Morozov is my new favorite social critic. I love everything about this book, from its initial premises (that invoking "the Internet" as some self-evident singular thing is flawed and that solutionism isn't the best thing ever) to his snarky attacks on TED talks, Clay Shirky, etc., etc. I'm going to be writing a long review of this for a journal, so I'll save most of my comments for there. But if you're interested in some rational--in contrast to over-exuberant or overly-critical--thoughts about ...more
John
Apr 04, 2013 John rated it liked it
Morozov offers cautionary tales about technologists and their solutionism mentality to solve all of society's problems. Be prepared for lots of different ideas and references competing for your attention. He is a necessary voice of balance against those who see technology as the end of history. Sometimes a little over the top in his tone. Recommend it.
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Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and runs the magazine's "Net Effect" blog about the Internet's impact on global politics. Morozov has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, a fellow at George Soros's Open Society Institute, and th ...more
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“We must not fixate on what this new arsenal of digital technologies allows us to do without first inquiring what is worth doing.” 3 likes
“The goal of privacy is not to protect some stable self from erosion but to create boundaries where this self can emerge, mutate, and stabilize.” 2 likes
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