rmn's Reviews > The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

The Master Switch by Tim Wu
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's review
Aug 20, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction-other
Read in May, 2011

This is a decent read on the history of the communications industry starting with the development of the telephone and then following the growth of the industry through the advent of radio, film, tv, cable tv, and the internet.

The author shows how innovation occurred in each of these segments of the communications industry and how monopolies stymied growth at different points along the way. Much of the focus of the book is on the role AT&T played in dominating the telecommunications space, both before and after the company was forced to break up, and then trying to draw implications from it about monopoly power and industry innovation.

In all, the book works as a history book (even down to the bland to slightly pedestrian writing) but for the most part fails when the author tries to link industry evolution into some kind of overarching model of “the cycle” which like most frameworks, doesn’t hold up in every case.

That said, if you approach this as history, it’s a good enough read and gets you thinking about Google’s impending world domination (and see, that’s funny because Google already has accomplished world domination).

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