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Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in a Digital Age
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Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in a Digital Age

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  31 reviews

Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we've sear

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ebook, 237 pages
Published September 21st 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published 2009)
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Jason
In 1914, my grampa was born in a shotgun tenement apartment adjacent to an alley in the Polish-Russian ghetto of Chicago. They didn't run the coal furnace at night. To keep the lead pipes from freezing, he remembers a splinter of lumber in the kitchen sink, balanced from the drain to the tip of the faucet, letting the water drizzle all night. He tells the story of a February morning his mom called him and his sister out of bed. The mattress they shared was made of straw and ticking. They threw o ...more
Anoush Margaryan
This book puts forward an interesting and important idea - that information that we own and share on the web has to have an "expiry date" and that each individual should have control over his/her information. Unfortunately this idea is overelaborated to fill 200 pages when perhaps 10 would suffice.

Evanston Public  Library
Humans forget. That’s the norm. For thousands of prehistoric centuries that’s all there was to it because nothing was written down. Then came writing, and history, and for about forty historic centuries humans developed “external memory”: mechanisms such as books that enabled us to remember across generations (and to communicate at great distance). Still, forgetting remained the norm because most ideas weren’t recorded.

But in this century, with the rise of the Web, more and more of our words (an
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Luca Conti
Il libro discute con grande capacità l’evoluzione della memoria nella società umana, dall’uomo primitivo ad oggi. Il percorso è funzionale ad arrivare ai giorni nostri e ad interrogarci su quali conseguenze sia possibile immaginare in un mondo che, grazie ad Internet in particolare, non dimentica più. Il problema diventa opposto, ovvero avere una quantità di informazioni tali da non poterle più usare per decidere cosa fare, soprattutto nei momenti più importanti della nostra vita.

Dal banale epis
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Desiree
Great book, would have given it 5 stars, but I found the last third a bit boring. Other than that, I would definitely recommend it!

In our computer age, there is no forgetting. Google, for one, stores and saves our searches, caches pages, so nothing is forgotten! Is this a good thing? Not when you are passed over for the job you just applied for because of a questionable photo you posted online years ago! It does work when you are seeking information, as we now no longer have to memorize everythi
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Kevin
Do we know what we're doing to our future selves by saving a permanent record of our digital memories, conversations and information to hard drives and the internet? Is it even our own choice to do so anymore? The author brings up some provocative ideas- about the digital age bringing a significant change to how we use 'external storage devices' (books being an older form) to extend our own faulty animal capacities to remember.

One scenario describes us forming our own surveillance network, not
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Margaret Heller
I like the idea of this book, but I didn't like reading it. His argument is that by keeping everything that we've done online that we risk two things: first, that adolescent foibles and drunken late nights will be held against us potentially forever, and second that to forget makes us in some way more human and we have to retain that. To be honest I skimmed almost everything regarding the second argument and so may be stating it poorly.

While it is in fact the case that it's easier to find out pe
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John
A very easy-to-read book on how technology has flipped our culture from one of remembering only important things to remembering everything. The examples aren't very academic and, therefore, easily accessible to most readers. A nice introduction to the concept, but I found some of the suggestions too simplistic. The first part of the book outlining the way our culture has adapted to our bad memories was more interesting than the end chapters on how we can reintroduce forgetting into our technolog ...more
Eduardo
Society has taken for granted the act of forgetting. As time went by, technology made us less and less able to forget, and this change, as the author demonstrates, will have a profound effect on society. No definitive answers will be found in this book but I found it interesting to spark the debate. Is (or should) forgetting be a right in our society? And how can we operationalize this?
Caroline Gray
Important book - Chapter 4, Of Power and Time, particularly good. You do have to wade through some pretty dry stuff in places but the topic is worth it and he provides a framework for thinking about digital privacy and the need to deal with our digital records in a way that supports our humanity and helps makes sense of what is now happening in the legal system in Europe particularly with the search engines.
Alison Pope
I thought this book was a good introduction to an increasingly important topic. It is a readable book and dig under the surface and there is a helpful model of approaching the implications of digital memory. There is a good balance between the issues, a conceptual framework and the pros and cons of some possible solutions. Only slightly let down by examples that were too extreme or simplistic.
Laurel
This book is basically about privacy and the internet. The main thesis is, that due to the exponentially lower costs of digital storage, everything now posted online is archived and retrievable. The good and the bad can instantly be found by potential employers, lovers and the law. The author presents how we got to where we are and ideas for dealing with this, possibly life-altering technological dilemma. Ultimately, Mayer-Schonberger proposes that we place an expiration date on online informati ...more
Holly Korzilius
Fabulous books about the negative implications of essentially permanent retention of data, the loss of context, and the negative implications for individuals.
Matt
Tried to provide a comprehensive survey of the subject, but lacked technical depth and left out some major nuances, in my opinion.
Nancy
The high point, alas, is the title. Well, okay, also the concept -- that now it takes more effort to "forget" than to remember, that our relationship to the two has flipped. (I just spent a month sorting and deleting 18,000 emails; I totally get this).
But this is way too text booky; I started feeling sorry for students assigned to read this and want to tell them to skip to the last paragraphs of each chapter and/or skip it all and find better stories than those of the two hapless souls on which
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Stephan
Nov 15, 2009 Stephan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephan by: Kelsey
The author's core argument that the Digital Age has changed the way we store external memory so that it never disapears and affects the way we make decisions is smart. Also the solution to it: affixing expiration dates to data is good.

But the book could have been half as long - and it wasn't very long to begin with. I understand this was originally a thesis or paper - that was probably more precise. Or just listen to the NPR segment.
Andrea
It starts off with an array of amazing information. What I'm having trouble with is the solution given to the problem of digital remembering. Not enough of it. It really hard to explain, but basically I was left convinced that change is necessary, but was also left without a proper answer and a bleak view of the future. Could be more insightful or hands-on.
Some of the examples repeated way too many times.
Enviable references.
Tank Green
excellent. in particular, i loved chapter four, 'of power and time', on the consequences of the demise of forgetting. the first two chapters were also excellent.

i definitely agree that excessive remembering inhibits our ability to change and limits the extent to which we can define ourselves. i, personally, think too much is remembered and welcome his solution to set expiration dates on digital files.

Tomi
The author takes his time to expose the dangers of living in an age where we "remember everything" through our digital devices such as mobile phones. Suffice to say even google "never forgets". He makes some interesting suggestions on how we may re-introduce "forgetting" in this digital age, and the benefits that would accrue to us if we are able to. This book was for me an insightful read.
Lisa notes
One of my favorite books this year. Forgetting used to be the norm; remembering the exception. But four technological changes have flipped that reality for us: digitization, cheap storage, easy retrieval, and global reach. But instead of trying to remember everything, we're better off by forgetting some things. Love how this book shows us which things are worth forgetting.
Bruce
An excellent example of taking a ten slide Powerpoint presentation and turning it into a 230 pp manuscript. The pony to poo ratio here is VERY low and were it not for the value of those rare bits of pony this book would not be worth reading. As is, save up for sometime when you have a flu and are overdosed on OTC medications of the tipsy variety.
H.d.
Pesquisa interessante, levanta um questionamento importante sobre o papel do esquecimento na nossa vida hoje. Infelizmente por vezes cai num tom meio apocalíptico, mas levanta uma boa base para compreender as mudanças atuais, onde aparecem apps como http://www.snapchat.com/, que provoca o esquecimento das imagens produzidas automaticamente.
Ali Arslan
Rarely you would come across a full-length book with so little to say. The author's point -there is just one point and that's not more elaborate than what's already on the title- never evolves into something more compelling and thought-provoking. About half way into the book I decided that I "got it" and donated the book.
Enrico
Nonostante un approccio un po' filosofeggiante sui massimi sistemi, il centro del discorso è il diritto alla privacy, e non il ruolo del sapere collettivo.

Ne parlo (male) qui: http://fraenrico.carcosa.it/?p=734
Veronica
The ideas presented in the book started of great, bringing to light the dangers of over sharing in this digital age, but then the theme became repetitive towards the latter half with the impression of it going nowhere to conclude.
Rachel
There were some real nuggets of brilliance amidst the dry lengthy thesis so that is why I endured reading this.

I wish the rest of the book was more like the introduction and afterword.
Sarah
Mar 16, 2010 Sarah marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I downloaded the Kindle sample chapter for this book. It was interesting, but not quite what I had been expecting, so I decided to pass on reading the rest.
Tao
I think it's a moderately interesting book. The main premise is an important one, but the consequences of digital remembering seem to me exaggerated.
Kevin Gamble
Enjoyed the premise, but thought it was weak on solutions. Although, the solutions were mentioned-- adapting, living in the flow. What is is...
Robert
He makes some interesting points but repeats himself quite a bit.
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VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. A widely recognized authority on big data, he is the author of over a hundred articles and eight books, of which the most recent is Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. He is on the advisory boards of corporations and organizations around the world, inclu ...more
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