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Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles -- and All of Us
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Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles -- and All of Us

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A penetrating indictment of how todays largest tech companies are hijacking our data, our livelihoods, our social fabric, and our mindsfrom an acclaimed Financial Times columnist and CNN analyst 
 
SHORTLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY EVENING STANDARD

Dont be evil was enshrined as Googles original corporate mantra back
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Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Currency
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Athan Tolis
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dont be fooled by the urbane and level-headed language of Rana Foroohars second book, this is a laser-focused polemic against Big Tech that hits the bullseye.

For starters, its hyper-readable. I downed it in ten hours straight, with two five-minute brakes for airplane coffee. The reason its so readable is the author never neglects the actors, who are presented to you in flesh and blood, with a side-serving of light gossip and her own personal experiences. So this is about Larry Page, Sergei Brin
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Although Foroohar is firmly in favour of open markets, she offers a good, detailed look at the havoc big tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google are wreaking on economies, liberties, democratic systems and individual minds. Her solutions are probably sound policy, but don't solve the problem that a round of greater government oversight in a country like America, ground zero for much of this, eventually leads to a swing back to free market fundamentalism, paving the way for new monopolies ...more
Briana
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dont Be Evil is a fascinatingly horrifying look at how Big Tech companies have moved away from their founding principles to create products that help people to become huge entities that control far more about our lives than we realize.

I think many people have some vague idea that there are issues with big tech companies: they purposely create their products to be addicting, theyre avoiding paying taxes and getting special economic perks, theyre tracking us and selling our data, they use their
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Seth
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was eye-opening. I thought I understood the monopolistic threat posed by "Big Tech" companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, but I was wrong. Foroohar uses her three decades of experience as a business reporter to tell the full picture of the threat posed by Big Tech, which includes preventing competition and innovation, using user data to sell and make products more addicting, preventing regulation, and subverting the democratic process. This book is extremely ...more
James
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
can i say 3.95? a tiny bit rambling from time to time and occasionally held back by the author's unwillingness to zoom in on individual technologies to explain the point. that said, an exceptionally thorough economic and cultural critique of the dominance of big tech in the global economy, and an excellent argument against corporate monopoly in general. timely and readable
Dan Connors
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
Google, now one of the biggest of the big technology companies had its humble beginnings in 1998 as a tech startup with Larry Page and Sergei Brin. Their original motto was "Don't be evil," an idealistic slogan that encompassed the mindset of the first Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that wanted to help the world through technology. The company, now known as Alphabet, is worth over a trillion dollars and has embraced capitalism and profits with a hubris that makes the old railroad barons look like ...more
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the early days of Google, Don't be evil, was the corporate mantra to live by. It is interesting to see that if a negative formulation like this is needed, the culture itself was already toxic. That's the core message of the CNN analyst and Financial Times columnist Rana Foroohar in her book Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles -- and All of Us. She focuses on Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FANG), It started as a counterculture movement of the sixties, with many ...more
Brian
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech-policy
The good: This book gives a lot of insight into the FAANGsFacebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Googlewhat they are up to now and some of the history of the decisions that got them to this point. Though it focuses most on Google and Facebook, less so on Amazon, then Apple, and very little about Netflix.

(Personally, I would have liked to hear more about Apple, as somebody who has placed my bets all in on them to be less evil than their corporate peers.)

Youll find things here to be concerned about
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Budd Margolis
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The very best book on the abuses of the digital economy. I have read dozens of books, many quoted in this book, but none have assembled all the factors and companies together so well as Do No Evil. The repercussions of unregulated Libertarian values will have a huge impact on our society as companies with few employees, that disrupt and reduce employment pay little taxes and are not regulated. The harm to children and addicted screeners, the value of data and how it's not taxed, individuals ...more
Phil Simon
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, business
Building upon books such as World Without End and Weapons of Math Destruction, Don't Be Evil makes the case that Big Tech is doing more harm than good. Foroohar proves her central thesis in spades. I find it impossible to argue the opposite these days using any reasonable standard. Her thoughts on venture capital, the bias of algorithms, election interference, and other related topics should gave anyone pause.

Sure, I'd nitpick with a few of her assertions. For instance, at one point she refers
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Heath Salzman
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, culture, 2020
Fascinating read. My major takeaways are, first, that we are actually the product in the new economy of technology. If we are the cattle, then Social Media and Google searches, etc. are the alfalfa. Our data is what generates revenue for these companies and we dont even know what they have access to and how they use it.

Second, the author takes the old Robber Barons as an analog for the new quasi-monopolistic (maybe not so quasi) structures of the FANG (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, and Google). The
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Bob Are
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting book, I learn some very unsavory details about the FANG companies, mission accomplished. I challenge some details in the first chapter. The author seems to say that shoe companies put GPS trackers in (all) of their shoes. As an IoT engineer who struggled with power constraints for a tiny device with GPS tracking, I am wondering where the shoe companies are getting the magical batteries to run these GPS trackers, and the connectivity to get the data back to the mothership. The shoe ...more
Grant
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a little worried how obvious the data issues brought up in 'Don't Be Evil" are and yet I've paid little attention to them. Regulations and protections should be put in place immediately to curb how are data is used with ownership of data needing to be given to the individual. Please read this book.
Katy
Dec 10, 2019 marked it as physical_to-read_stack  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways.
Bethany Kirkbride
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chilling stuff from the dual point of view of a business tech journalist and a mother who has experienced firsthand the cost of living in our digital world.
Ietrio
Nov 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
The spoiled child throwing a tantrum: mommy promised pink candy and the box is full of blue candy!
Y.S. Stephen
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don't Be Evil summarises how big tech companies have hijacked our data and are using it to amass wealth, influence politics, and manipulate the masses among other things. It foretells the future that awaits humanity if the greed and ambition of tech companies like Facebook and Google are not held in check. Don't Be Evil also recommends steps people can take to secure their data as well as ways governments can curtail the powers of a growing monopoly that threatens to destabilise the world for ...more
Kate
I read the piece in the Guardian introducing the idea that big tech today has many parallels to big finance before the finacial crisis. I was intrigued and decided to read this book. I didn't expect that this book is just a list of 50 sins of big tech - from mobile phone addiction to Facebook's role in 2016 US election; from big tech's offshore finances to their various practics that effectively stifled innovation. I actually instinctively agree with many of these things. But reading this book ...more
Daniel
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A broad and recommended read for the days we live in - days of digital transformation.

It exposes so many aspects of the way companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Netflix do business - aspects that are mostly opaque to everyone. Do most people who use Facebook understand the smallest bit about their business model?

The books deconstructs these business models and explores their ramifications. It shows how assymetric the contract between these companies and its users are. Costumers
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Cgallozzi
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Listened via Audible.

Generally, not totally balanced narrative about FAANG's.

In the detail about the FAANG's - with their ...."move fast and break things"....models.
Very very briefly mentions two areas which need greater focus and attention (after the novel Coronavirus abates). These areas which need greater focus in my opinion are:

#1. The NeoLiberal and Libertarian philosophy starting with Milton Friedman and the Chicago School have produced a laissez-faire economy which has resulted in greater
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Taylor Ball
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dont Be Evil explores the dangers of our modern day tech giants. As a tech enthusiast, I am usually dismissive of these dangers because on whole I see tech as a positive thing - you could say Ive been drinking the Silicon Kool-Aid. This book highlights how this optimistic view is no longer accurate. The big tech giants have become too big and too powerful. They are no longer regulated and held accountable for their actions. This is largely due to the extensive legal loopholes theyve been given.

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J Earl
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, won
Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles - And All of Us by Rana Foroohar is a well researched assessment of the many ways big tech has helped to dismantle the very fabric of society at large and the US democracy in particular. Their ideals went out the window just as soon as they realized the amount of money and power they could wield, and they make no excuses for it, they are still, as of March 2020, doing all they can to spread disinformation while profiting off of all of ...more
shingythereader
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction
For roughly four decades, antitrust scholarstaking their lead from Robert Borks 1978 book The Antitrust Paradoxhave pegged their definitions of monopoly power to short-term price effects; so if Amazon is making prices lower for consumers, the market must be working effectively. Khan set out a simple but powerful counterargument: that it doesnt matter if companies such as Amazon are making things cheaper in dollars if they are using predatory pricing strategies to dominate multiple industries
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Jim
Dec 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on Goodreads. On one hand it is disconcerting that the tech industries are collecting data on the people and using it for their nefarious plans and using surveillance to track and control us, on the other hand the conclusions the author states are correct but how she gets there is wrong. Some examples are: The author buys into the Russia interference and collusion with the 2016 election, when it is shown to be a hoax in reality. The author states that the tech giants are more ...more
Blair
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I was attracted to this book because of the social video app that we're developing - Snibble.

At Snibble we believe that digital really has lost its way and that there needs to be a platform to disrupt what we call "Big digital" and what Rana Foroohar calls "Big tech".

The idea is the same - Big Tech initially helped the world, brought a lot of joy to people and could live up to Google's famous mantra - "Do no evil". But times have changed. The digital powerhouses - Amazon, Apple, Facebook (and
...more
Sue
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Get behind what is really going on with the tech companies Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. They top the list of companies with the highest market value; all are valued from over a half a trillion to a trillion dollars. Learn how they, as monopolies, stifle innovation, why data, an intangible asset, is where their real value is, and why their basic business models work against protecting our privacy. Learn how they avoid paying taxes and employ an army of lobbyists to sway the narrative about ...more
Jessica Haider
Don't Be Evil is a look at the issues with the digital age especially those related to Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (FAANG). The author presents the case that these corporations are doing more harm than good for society in regards to privacy, the economy, addictive behaviors and more.

The author believes that these companies are too big and too powerful. Their lobbyists are influencing legislation and they drive out competition due to their size, which in turn stifles innovation.
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Matt Schiavenza
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent look at the issues surrounding tech giants, particularly Google and Facebook, from one of America's best business journalists. Though Foroohar is unsparing in her criticism of the two companies, who she claims have abandoned their principles in pursuit of market dominance, the book is really a broader criticism of America's insufficient regulatory state.

For the last 40-odd years, the U.S. has permitted companies to grow unabated so long as their monopoly power did not raise
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Judith Gunn
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is rather frightening to what degree the big tech companies are taking over our lives. Here are the details. We need to start thinking in depth about "digital property rights, trade regulations, privacy laws, antitrust rules, liability rules. free speech, the legality of surveillance, the implications of data for economic competitiveness and national security, the impact of the algorithmic disruption of work on labor markets, the ethics of artificial intelligence, and the health and ...more
Miguel
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Foroohars previous book, Makers & Takers, was a great oversight of the financialization of the economy and its negative effects. She has continued her insightful streak with Dont Be Evil, which deals with how Google and other digital darlings have tended to distort the markets they play in and are detrimental to society as a whole. Though other books have dealt with issues of Oligopoly better (see Matt Stollers Goliath) Foroohar does a solid job showing how Google/FB/Amazons dominance in ...more
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Rana Foroohar is a Iranian-American assistant managing editor for Time magazine. In the past, she was an economics and foreign editor at Newsweek, where she had previously worked as a London-based correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. For this reporting, she received the German Marshall Fund's Peter R. Weitz Prize for transatlantic reporting.

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