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WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
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WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,671 ratings  ·  244 reviews
WTF? can be an expression of amazement or an expression of dismay. In today’s economy, we have far too much dismay along with our amazement, and technology bears some of the blame. In this combination of memoir, business strategy guide, and call to action, Tim O'Reilly, Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media, explores the upside and the pot ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Harper Business
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  1,671 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Frank Calberg
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading the book, I found these parts particularly useful:

Tips for developing technology
- Page 9: People, who use sites such as Amazon, Google or Facebook, participate in the development of software. In other words, users help out testing technology and giving feedback.
- Page 36: Quote by Reid Hoffman: In Washington, you assume that every year things cost more and do less. In Silicon Valley, everyone expects products to cost less every year and do more.
- Page 42: The Twitter symbols "@", "retwee
Gary Moreau
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim O’Reilly, who I admit to having no awareness of prior to buying this book, has obviously had a front row seat at the birth and development of the digital economy. And he’s either a prolific note taker or has a large research staff.

However it came into being, this is a thorough, if not exhaustive, review of the history of digital. At 448 pages, it is quite literally a tome of a book. And while the author is clearly a competent documentarian, I wouldn’t call it a quick read. I would have accep
Julian Dunn
Tim O'Reilly has had a front-row seat to the technology revolution ever since he started O'Reilly & Associates (now O'Reilly Media) back in 1978. Along the way he's gotten to know many technology luminaries and has been involved in key milestones like the rebranding of freeware to open source. Like many people who have built a significant reputation and personal brand on the Internet, he can be a bit of a blowhard. It's hard to know which came first: the self-promotion or the accomplishments. Ne ...more
Ronald J.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I got this book after listening to the author interviewed by Russ Roberts on EconTalk. I didn't realize he was a committed (fanatical) progressive. If you can get past his preaching on climate change, single-payer healthcare, the reason for the financial meltdown (he never mentions the government's role) and other progressive "solutions (there are no solutions, Mr. O'Reilly, only tradeoffs), "it's actually a great tour through technological change. However, I'm really surprised the author never ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This guy made some pretty good points, but I could've done with a little less of his hero-worship gushing over Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. I know some people find hard-nosed billionaires interesting (appealing?); heck, enough people here in the US even found one appealing enough to elect him President, sigh. Still, I wish that the author, rather than touching as lightly as he did upon the working conditions at Amazon distributions centers, had actually gone "undercover" & tried working at one. (Hint: ...more
Trish McLellan
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished, ebook
The author uses the pronoun "I" far too much, so I didn't want to read any farther. ...more
Paco Nathan
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: workplace, media
Just read a 400 page book in 4 days, carefully, cross-checking some of the sources, while following the more interesting trails out to organizations described.

The sections about some of the history of O'Reilly vis-a-vis emerging technology are teeming with insights that perhaps only Tim could have shared with the world. Stories about Unix, Open Source, Internet, DevOps, etc., should be regarded carefully by anyone working in or with technology (which, now is almost everyone), since lessons out o
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim O'Reilly is an innovator that I have followed off and on since I bought my first computer (an Osborne). One might call him the father of the DIY revolution. Early in computers O'Reilly began publishing a series of books on computing especially how to build and program them. For the active hobbyist they were an invaluable resource.

This book is a bit more ambitious than his early work. It is a substantive discussion of the risks and rewards of our advancing technology. He starts the book by de
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this book twice over the last week.

When O'Reilly talks about tech (his core competency), he's on the mark.

But when he extrapolates into economics and political science, he's quite the statist. He's never met a government that he doesn't like, and he's never met a regulation that wasn't for the greater good. He's a great friend of Big Brother.

Ignore all of his observations and pontifications on the government's use of tech to make our lives better and stick to the shallow end of where he'
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really didn't know what to expect with this book. Got it because I've used O'Reilly books since the very beginning of my career, and thought the title "What's the future.." might be interesting.

In many ways it covered more topics than almost any other book I've read, talking about specific technologies, government, people, skills you should learn, economics, etc. It jumped around a lot, referencing an idea mentioned before to combine it with the new topic. However, I can't imagine another way
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A tech dude who doesn't think tech will fix everything! Finally. He's a technooptimist for sure, but he also understands the necessity of regulation. He also understands that we have to measure progress by how people actually live instead of what technology can do. I still think he's overly enthused about the likes of Bezos and companies like Amazon and uber being able to make things better, but of course his company relies on tech so I get that. The central theme was an important one--we need t ...more
peter h
Feb 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
I would have given this 3s for the content alone but the self congratulatory tone, name dropping and the silicon valley sitcom-like highlights were driving me bonkers.
I found myself resonating with many of thoughts in the book. Among them the point, that if you want to know how the future will be, just look at what the rich people do today. Going to restaurants and enjoying a masterfully prepared meal was for the upper class only. By their personal chefs and servants. Or driving around with their personal carriages, now luxury limousines by their personal drivers. Transportation is in progress of being revolutionized by Bolt, Lyft, and Uber already, but we al ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
O’Reilly impressed me with his solid analysis of where technology is leading us and assured us that we have a choice in shaping our future. He first coined the phrase’ Open source hardware’. His firm first coined ‘big data’.

WTF technology is the kind of amazing technology that we would say ‘Gosh’ the first time we see it, but then seamlessly incorporate into our lifestyle, such as GPS, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Uber. I learnt many things from him:

1. Software trumps hardware; open source trum
Felipe CZ
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Technology, besides being fun, is also transforming the world. Artificial inteligence, in the form of digital platforms and algorithms, has revolutionized the technology industry. Modern digital platforms are based on open-source software, a shift from closed-software that began with the rise of Linux for the sake of knowledge. But these platforms couldn't operate without the algorithms that govern them. Platform models can increase business and government autonomy, because the model can be appl ...more
Devanshi Gupta
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Tim O'Reilly is a Silicon Valley veteran and has been forecasting technology before WWW. I picked up this book to quiet the dystopian in me which is wary of AIs replacing human jobs. Disclaimer: This book is not half that dramatic. O'Reilly posits 2 things:
1) History does not repeat. It rhymes. Therefore, it is important to look for patterns.
2) He doesn't have a time machine (obviously!!), he has a map.
These 2 points have been the underlying theme of this 400 page book covering context building,
Erik Rostad
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
This book surprised me. I was expecting the typical "futurist" book with semi-interesting guesses as to what was coming in the near future. This book wasn't like that at all. Instead, it provided an excellent overview of the past 40 years in technology, how that has led to where we are today, and mindset shifts we need for looking into the future. It was more about reshaping your thinking to prepare for what might come than to predict specific technologies or potential outcomes.

This book was sim
anna b
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A true thinker and innovator. Highly recommended for everyone; from policy makers, regulators to entrepreneurs and simple men on the streets. It started off really dry, something developers would find interesting to read but it gets better and better. There are suggestions on how the government can play a part in creating platforms for various forms of network, how regulations should adapt to enable a fair society influenced by the gig economy, how data can be shared to encourage the former poin ...more
Eliot Peper
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WTF? by Tim O'Reilly takes in the sweeping changes wrought by the advent of computing and the internet and puts the future in perspective. O'Reilly's ideas have major implications for everything from deciding on your career path and what skills to develop, to making sense of the headlines and choosing who to vote for. The mental models outlined in this book are maps that will help you search the present for clues to the future. ...more
John Tangney
Jan 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unscheduled
Some good ideas buried in a snowfall of self-agrandisement. Tim O'Reilly is not the legend he believes himself to be. I could not finish this book. ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you ever mindfully used the internet, this book is waste of time.

If you haven't maybe this will bring some interesting facts to you.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech, ideas, safari, future
I've read a number of books and articles in the last few years of the ML/AI revolution and how technological innovation will change how we work. This is the best yet. It's both honest in where we are and where we could head if we don't take a concerted effort to take the reins and guide it to where humanity will best be served by it (besides just the owners of capital). It's also inspiring in the opportunities that are available if we are able to make it work for all. To be clear, this isn't a t ...more
Jason Carter
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, culture
O'Reilly intentionally exploits "WTF?" as a euphemism. When we're confronted with something new and unknown, we're tempted to throw up our hands in frustration, "WTF?!"

The author encourages us, rather, to throw up our hands in excitement and consider whether what we're experiencing the future invading the present. He likes to quote William Gibson: "The future is already here -- it's just not evenly distributed." And then he makes the case throughout.

O'Reilly is optimistic about the future. He's
Andre Borges
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a really well written overview from the last 40 years of tech development, in a fun mix of personal stories and behind the scenes peeks. While reviewing the last you end up getting a better understanding of how should the current technologies evolve, while getting a few cool mental models to think about the future. This was the main hook for me, mental models and stories instead of tech fortune telling. ...more
This book should be on every community, business and political leader's read list. There are a lot of challenges coming at US society - and it's ability to deal with them successfully and inclusively is dependent on the decisions we make over the next few years. Making good decisions about _how_ we use technology and _how_ the US educates and prepares it's population (with education, safety net frameworks to make job transitions easier for those without reserves) is going to be crucial.

Tim O'Re
Pau Todó
Jun 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tech-critisims
Putting it simple: after the 37th "I did/said /thought that way before anyone else did because I'm a the greatest genius History has ever seen" I had to leave the book. Both God and my cat know how hard I tried to keep reading just because I respect O'Reilly's previous enterprises... but somebody should give this guy a hug and tell him his dad would be proud of him, so he can give his own ego a rest.
Don Watkins
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting read. This is the first book I've read by Tim O'Reilly though I have benefited from some of the texts his company sells. If you're interested in a positive view of the developments today in big data, artificial intelligence and robotics and how they could shape our future then this is a must read for you. ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful book on how we create the future, WTF unpacks the networked, platformed, tech enabled economy of the 21st century. The book touches on several subjects including organizational behavior and team design -- start with the end product and build backwards -- with clarity. A fine read.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So, this book took me a long time to read. It's very dense and full of lots of facts and ideas, and it has a long waiting list at the library, so every time it expired, I had to wait a month to get it again. Glad I read it - written by someone with whom I went to high school. ...more
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