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The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  34 reviews
How seemingly innocuous technologies are unsettling the balance of power by putting it in the hands of the masses - and what a world without "big" will mean for all of us.
In The End of Big, social media pioneer, political and business strategist, and Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicco Mele offers a fascinating, sometimes frightening look at how our ability to stay
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 29th 2013)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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First of all, the author is my firstborn, so I do have a bias. That out of the way, I read this book not once but several times, as he wrote it and most recently a review copy which I just completed. Each rereading impressed me with Nicco's (sorry but he is family!) vision and analysis. I don't agree with everything he asserts in this book, but he works with, teaches and has thought deeply about the impact on society of all of the technologies he examines and I do not. I think this is an importa ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone hoping to change the world; anyone running those BIG institutions that could see their end;
Shelves: work-related
Nicco effectively synthesizes the changes going on in every aspect of society into a strong narrative of our times. Digital technologies, enabling "radical connectivity," are destabilizing, disrupting, or simply changing every aspect of the modern world, that is for sure.

Ultimately I really enjoyed End of Big because it challenged some of what I've been thinking, brought new ideas to my attention, and had a great tone of exploration and passion for the subject. I sometimes wished for a more aca
I enjoyed most of this book. In a world where large corporations seem to rule, it was refreshing to read about the little guy who is thriving. A lot of the book was about the political system and the military, otherwise I probably would have given this one five stars! Howard Dean's rise was rehashed and I didn't find it all that interesting.

That being said, this is an overall good read! While I don't agree with everything the author espouses, it was still interesting. Easy to read, it flowed ni
Mary Helene
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
He tells a story which makes sense of what's happening! ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
In a successful attempt to distinguish himself from the marketplace, Mele has adopted a Cassandra-like viewpoint, seeing the online environment through cautionary rather than rose-tinted glasses. That could have been refreshing, but his book is one of those tremendously disappointing works in which the author ties a few anecdotal observations into vastly inflated, overgeneralized claims he cannot support. Whether this is due to intellectual laziness (Mele cops to painting with a broad brush towa ...more
Daniel Burton
The End of Big by Nicco MeleIf Thomas Friedman's thesis in his 2005 The World Is Flat is that globalization has led to a flatter playing field, then The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath tells author Nicco Mele's vision that the ultimate tool of that equalization is the internet.

In truth, it's not a hard argument to make.

An young tech geek when the Howard Dean for President campaign hired him to help with their online fundraising, Mele learned first hand how the internet
Tara Brabazon
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, I wasn't expecting that... This year I've read an array of mediocre books in internet studies, often demonizing 'the young people' and 'social media.' Then I opened Nicco Mele's The end of big. As with many books in this genre, 'the internet' is a threat to - well - civilization. However there is a deep and searching ambivalence that renders this book important.

At times, it is a book of mourning: what we have lost through the decline of 'big' institutions. His work on the loss of the media
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Many great examples of how the connectivity of the Internet empowers individuals and small groups to compete effectively with established institutions. Covers a broad range of fields, from publishing to government to business to entertainment. I particularly liked the balanced approach of pointing out the positive things that institutions provide, which may be lost if they are put out of business by small guys -- like the news coverage that's being lost as newspapers with large investigative rep ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting, technological and philosophical. The future is segmented and small: from one centralized place of services products to smaller more diverse places: wall mart vs. etsy/quirky, one big bank vs. smaller credit unions/bitcoin/paypal... The challenge will be the organization and quality standard of many smaller parts/unions.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Good collection of recent web 2.0 innovation stories for different domain. I knew much of the stories - so was a skimmer. Been thinking through API economy and platform business - and I found the book helpful in that regard.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Got bored after two chapters. It may be interesting to a person who is not in technology or following what's happening. Otherwise the book is simply recording a few relevant events in the history and offering very few insights. ...more
Alice Faryna
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
The author is the nerd who turned Howard Dean's 2004 run for office into a viable campaign by soliciting small donors, a tactic expanded brilliantly by Obama. The subtitle could be "Revenge of the Nerds". He neatly summarizes how large and wealthy institutions are crumbling as individuals take over their functions: Print media supplanted by social media and blogs; Publishing houses,Hollywood and the music industry challenged by individuals self publishing, using You Tube and independent labels; ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marketing
As much as it’s enthralling to see and experience the digital evolution in this lifetime, technology revolution is terrifying. This is a good read to understand how radical connectivity drives us around, making as technically slaves in this digital era. An eye opener for how crazy, compelling and strategic some successful billion-dollar apps manipulated the big industries, government and even our lifestyles. An opportunity versus conspiracy, and the question to privacy and humanity at some point ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Sounded like it world follow the reality is broken book i just finished well. It does. Can tell it is written before Trump was elected it talks about the end of big parties and the rise of the fringe and splitting the parties. Which is all well a
nd good but seems very America centric. Would like to see an updated one with net neutrality. Liked the idea of local car manufacturing and power/ gardens. Little scary as the press is the watchdog of Gov’t and we all get stuck in our filter bubbles. Bo
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
It starts out good with an interesting perspective on the history of computers as we know them. It also more or less predicts the current political climate. But there is little else all that interesting or insightful going on here. Perhaps it would have seen more so in 2013. The end of big has certainly not happened. It’s more that old big becomes new big. There is a lot of alarmist talk here perhaps as a reaction to the overly positive talk of Mele’s peers. Ultimately cries of the small not bei ...more
Jack Oughton
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and enjoyable insight into near term implications of the internet and various technological changes taking place right now.
Didn't really learn that much but this is dated back to 2013, which is a long time in 'technology years'.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm divided on this one; I agreed with many of Mele's observations and his overall narrative, but some of his evidence and anecdotes made me cringe. Athens as a paradigm shift; Howard Dean, the amateur politician and, perhaps most egregious, everyone will have the ability to access energy generated by your friendly neighborhood wind and solar panels and we'll all be using electric cars within two decades. This, in addition to everyone using a 3D printer so they can print out their shoes and clot ...more
Mark Chadbourn
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book. We're going through the fastest period of change in human history and one that's accelerating - everything we're used to is going to alter in some way, and if you want to survive with your job, finances, health and sanity intact, you have to be prepared for what's coming. The End of Big is your road map.

Nicco Mele, who sits on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School, examines the changes that are rushing through different sectors: business, the news media, the entertai
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
The End of Big is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own. It came highly recommended but I knew from the outset that it wouldn’t move me. Mele laments the End of Big by referring to an American project that I was never fully invested in. Every time he writes about the value of Big politics, government, media, minds, companies, etc. I just rolled my eyes and thought “those big institutions never valued black people.” The big accountability he wants to reestablish has actively enslaved, ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't think the content supports the title. There are some glaring holes in the theory that are hard to ignore.

First off, this is about the end of big companies and big government. That was, from my perspective, what he was driving at. Some prime evidence for small companies competing with the big ones and winning are Firefox, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Amazon. Which, last I checked, were all massive.

Right at the end, the author does make a point which I feel should have been the only one
Robert Chapman
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology, society
When I first picked up this book I thought it would be about how big = bad and small (or new) = better. The obvious things come to mind such as anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account being able to provide real-time coverage of unfolding events, thus ending our reliance upon the big news outlets and the bias that often comes with their political affiliations.

I was pleasantly surprised in how the depth of this book far exceeded my expectations and presented a thorough view of both the pos
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In "The End of Big" Mele, a former political operative for Howard Dean details how interconnectivity and its distributional effects are shattering traditional paradigms in political parties, journalism, business, government, and militaries. This ultimately allows smaller entities, be they people or organizations to form their own parties, develop their own "news", create their own startups, participate more fully in the democratic process, and combat armies much larger than themselves. In many w ...more
Roberto Gallardo
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Simon
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech, business
An excellent synthesis of major economic, social, and technological forces

Mele ties many ostensibly disparate trends into a cohesive whole. To be clear, this is anything but a tactical book. As he mentions early on, each chapter could serve as serval deep books. No, I don't always agree with his viewpoint, specifically, on the ephemeral nature of platforms and the culpability of software consultants on failed IT projects. A few minor quibbles aside, the power of the Internet and disruptive tech
Kevin Kasowski
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
the book just felt contrived -- taking some ideas that do have a good bit of truth to them (that the Internet is changing the ability of traditional big institutions (political parties, school systems, etc.) to control our lives -- but then taking a very one-sided uncritical view of the world to make it seem like that is all that is going on when in reality those big institutions retain quite a lot of power indeed. It seemed like he was trying to write another "Future Shock" or such but didn't r ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good 4.4. Reducing big--companies, political parties, newspapers, government, entertainment, etc.
Thought provoking, More accessibility, transparency, accountability and responsiveness expected.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to be enthralled by this book, to be drawn into contemplation of the future. I wasn't. Instead, I found myself skimming its pages feeling rather bored. It didn't come alive for me and I am generally a huge fan of alternative views. ...more
A thought-provoking book. Way to go, Nicco!
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
awesome & life changing - read it.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read things all the time that make me think of this book and feel smart because the author has already told me about them. Seriously, it's exciting to read, well-written and right on the money. ...more
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NICCO MELE – entrepreneur, angel investor, and consultant to Fortune 1000 companies – is one of America’s leading forecasters of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age.

Born to Foreign Service parents, Nicco spent his early years in Asia and Africa before graduating from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in government. He then worked for s

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