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Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain
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Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  35 reviews
New York Times Bestseller.
USA Today Bestseller.

How does the brain predict the collapse of the web?

What can reindeer teach us about networks?

How do ants use internet technologies?

Why do sea squirts eat their brains to survive?

We are living in a world in which cows send texts to farmers when they’re in heat and the most valuable real estate in New York City houses
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  186 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Start your review of Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain
Aaron Thibeault
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
*A full executive summary of this book is available here:

This is not a book about the end of the internet, as the controversial title may seem to suggest. Rather, it’s a book about networks (meaning a group of interconnected people or things) and how networks evolve; and its main focus is on internet-related networks and the internet itself (which is one enormous network). The author, Jeff Stibel, argues that there are certain natural laws that govern the
Tomo Yokose
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to read a pre-release version of this book and loved it. It's full of fun facts that are not only interesting, but also very relevant to the digital age in which we live today. Once you pick it up, its hard to put down: I read it cover to cover in a single day. Jeff Stibel's writing is clear, concise, and very easy to follow, plus he does not speak in overly scientific jargon, which makes the book readable and accessible to anyone and everyone. Coming out July 23rd, 2013!
Aaron Maurer
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
I recently read the book Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain by Jeff Stibel and had my brain oozing out of my ears. It is a good thing my brain is pliable because this is the third straight book in a row to create this brain oozing problem.

I recently read Physics of the Future and as we are working on a student project over this book I started looking for new books to read to feed into the contents
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book had some interesting paradigms. It is very well written and full of interesting facts that do make you think about how everything is connected.

Won on Goodreads.
Liz Gengl
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book absolutely fascinating. Stibel uses biological systems such as ants, reindeer, human cultures and the human brain to illustrate the concept of Breakpoints. It is smart, engaging and he never talks too science-y, yet never talks down to the reader either. I read the book in a day as I couldn't put it down. Now I see Breakpoints in so many different areas. As someone that works in marketing, I can now see how important it is to see a Breakpoint coming and to embrace and adjust ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Disclosure: I received this book through the First Reads program.

It's hard to tell what the author's point is in this book. While it contained some interesting facts, the central thesis was tenuous at best, and the comparisons between the brain, ant colonies, and computer networks were at times forced and often based on simplistic understandings. In addition, there were a few typos and other errors that I wouldn't expect from a major publisher, and I wonder how thorough the fact-checking was, as
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. It explained the progress of the internet so far and a look at its future. It also compared its growth as a network to the human brain and the functioning of ant colonies. If this does not seem to make sense, please read the book!
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I literally cannot finish this book as I cannot overlook the ridiculous and flawed comparisons of internet technologies to biological systems. The inaccuracies in this area, which I am familiar with, casts into doubt for me everything else written in this book.
Terri Alpert
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend and not just because Jeff is a friend of mine. Anyone who knows me knows I think about life from a network paradigm. Jeff does too. And this is guaranteed to increase your understanding of the network that is humanity, in all its forms -- physical and virtual. Read this!
Emily Davenport
A fascinating look at how the development and evolution of technology, especially the Internet, mirror systems found in nature and our own brains. Fascinating.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I didn't really enjoy this book. I'm kind of over the whole, "OMG, the Internet is so awesome and is *just* like a brain." No, it's not.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book about how the companies on internet wen from expansion to disappear. It's all because everything has a breakpoint, if they survive, they stabilize. All this mechanism has some pattern as the structure of ants. The human brain seems to be unlimited but actually has breakpoint too. This author pointed out the potential of our brain possibilities, such as telepathy, EEG, mirror neuroscience....even mentioned singularity.

Our brain can not grow bigger, on the contrary it becomes
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book describes the intelligence of the network, that found in an ant colony, or in the human brain.

An interesting conclusion hinted at is: The human brain and internet are both networks, and their is a good likelihood both will be connected.

An important book in the genre of technology non-fiction accessible to non-tech.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
The premise of this book is really that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Networks are what advance societies at every level, whether it is humankind or an ant society. While a single ant is not intelligent, the colony has a collective intelligence. Unfettered growth will lead networks to a breakpoint, and hence either to collapse or to a greater equilibrium.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A superb and quite in-depth analysis of networks, psychology, and technology.

Definitely a great read for anyone looking to improve as a creative, entrepreneur or just because.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received my copy of _Breakpoint_ courtesy of the author and the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. Thank you!*


The purpose of this book is to discuss the behavior of various kinds of networked populations (which the author refers to simply as "networks") across various disciplines including biology, history, anthropology, neuroscience, economics, and technology. By modeling their behavior, Stibel is able to make sense of their more puzzling actions so that we may draw lessons
Ken Dickson
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What do ants, reindeer and sea squirts have to do with the internet? As far as I knew, nothing, but brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeff Stibel set me straight with his book: Breakpoint: Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

Breakpoint begins with the United States Coast Guard bringing 29 reindeer to St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. There, the reindeer flourish and grow in number to over 6000 by 1963. By
Hallie Cantor
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although slightly dated (probably any book on technology over two years old nowadays is obsolete), the author discusses the pitfalls of networks that outgrow their original size and purpose. Growth is positive; outgrowth is not. Systems can them implode from either lack or structure or lack of sustainability.

The author uses nature, particularly ant farms, to show how internal systems become more sophisticated to accommodate its members. Nevertheless, too big results in chaos, as in loss of
Karl Geiger
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Breakpoint contains numerous factual errors (sea squirts are tunicates and are not closely related to vertebrates like hagfish; misidentification of Internet protocols; "web" vs "mobile" false dichotomy). The material consequently misinforms any general readers who have no background and are unable to judge the claims or the argument Mr. Stibel builds. The book's breathless style and brevity do not make up for its lack of rigorous argument.

Here's a synopsis: unfettered, all dynamic systems
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting book, but I don't think it truly addresses what's in the title. Implode? Search obsolete? I didn't get that sense from reading this book. Sure, there is some very cool technology on the horizon, but controlling a beer tap with your thoughts (actually discussed) in no way means we won't need the internet to look up information, and that's the true essence of the Web in my mind. Apps have made the need for some webpages to become obsolete, but I believe there's still a place for the ...more
Fred Fisher
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: society, non-fiction
An interesting book about the relationship between human brains, the internet, computers and the rest of animal life. His explanations of these relationships are clear and have opened a new world for me and let me see possibilities that I haven't encountered before. Some of this I found intuitive, like how the internet is changing human consciousness. But anyone who has followed the Arab Spring or flash mobs also has realized this. The text is fully annotated, so I don't think this is the raving ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Stibel has done a splendid job in writing this book. He not only talks about the network intelligence but also establishes that brain is the ULTIMATE network which has been evolved to be 'perfect'. A couple of things that I disliked in the book:
1) Sometimes the author is unable to clearly show the breakpoint of the situation or simply how an organisation overcomes the breakpoint. What I mean to say is that, sometimes I felt that knowing the concept of the 'breakpoint' wouldn't really help
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are a fan of analogies, which I am, you will love it! The biology and business information rang true and logical for me. The authors assumptions about human nature didn't feel as accurate. And some of this predictions while possibly accurate are hard to swallow.

I think one measure of a great book is whether it "stays with you". Since reading Breakpoint I can stop viewing everything around me as a network. Stibel's book is a great compliment, perhaps a more optimistic compliment to Jarred
Matt Heavner
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting read with three different main ideas: 1) systems reach a "breakpoint" and how the recover back to find equilibrium (or fail to) is important -- this felt like a "reality check"; 2) search/the computer-internet as we know it will die soon (more reality check); and 3) the internet is like your brain and neuroscience describes everything we need to know (a bit technoutopian). These various ideas were all quite interesting to read about, but in the end I didn't feel like ...more
I was a bit disappointed in this book. I wanted it to be more about computers and networks, but found myself reading a lot about ants! The author is able to tie in the analogy to networks very cogently, however. The ant colony, the human brain and computer networks all have a point where they can no longer sustain themselves, which is their Breakpoint.

Recommended for anyone interested in both general and computer science. I definitely learned more about ants and reindeer than I ever thought I
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

The author makes very creative analogies between the brain and neural networks such as ant colonies to the internet. He uses those analogies to predict that the internet will soon reach a breakpoint where it will exceed its carrying capacity, at which point it will have to shrink in size, yet become more sophisticated, wiser. The same analogy is used to differentiate between both currently successful (e.g. Facebook) and unsuccessful (e.g. MySpace) web sites.

The book was a quick read,
David Giannetto
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an idea book. Little practical application but very well written and will help you understand the subject. Nicely done stories that explain things in simpler terms. If you have an interest in thinking differently about this subject definitely worth the time.
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not bad. I read a lot of 'digital frontier' books and wasn't expecting much here either. Pleasantly surprise to find an unique perspective - using brain as the analogy to see where the internet is heading. I found the book to be very rational and believable.
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
An overextended analogy written in a needlessly breathy tone.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! A must -read! Fascinating! The title is a bit misleading, but it was a good 'hook', and it does not disappoint?
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Jeff Stibel writes about the intersection of science, technology and complex networks that influence people's lives. He is the Chairman and CEO of The Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation and Chairman of BrainGate.

Jeff publishes articles and books about networks and how they are established, increase in sophistication, and ultimately grow collective intelligence. While his academic and