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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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  662 ratings  ·  112 reviews
A penetrating indictment of how today’s largest tech companies are hijacking our data, our livelihoods, our social fabric, and our minds—from 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

“Don’t be evil” was enshrined as Google’s original corporate mant
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Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Currency
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M Thogerson Regrettably (for the world) this is nonfiction.

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Athan Tolis
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don’t be fooled by the urbane and level-headed language of Rana Foroohar’s second book, this is a laser-focused polemic against Big Tech that hits the bullseye.

For starters, it’s hyper-readable. I downed it in ten hours straight, with two five-minute brakes for airplane coffee. The reason it’s 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 B
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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
Don’t 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, they’re avoiding paying taxes and getting special economic perks, they’re 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 we ...more
Mina
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
"We think we are the consumers. In fact, we are the product "


"What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate the attention efficiently among the overabundance of sources that might consumer it."


"We're entering an era in which data can be used to solve all sorts of the most pressing problems, but only if there's trust in how the data has been handled. We see ourselves as
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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 priv ...more
Daniel
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Big Tech are the new Railroad tycoons. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google (FANG)

1. Amazon and Google are both platform and seller (of stuff and ads) and so they have an unfair advantage over pure sellers. They copy competitors like Yelp and buy over them, sometimes just to destroy them.
2. They treat us and our data like commodity, our habits, conversation as valuable products to be sold to the highest bidder.
3. They lobby big time and pay off Researchers.
4. They shift their profits overseas at
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Meagan Houle
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I appreciated this book's focus on finance, trade and regulation. Don't get me wrong, I love a good cultural criticism of Silicon Valley, but there's also room for thoughtful, informed critiques of the ways these companies are financially managed, and the constructive possibilities for breaking up their monopolies with sensible regulation. There was also some nuanced analysis of Silicon Valley's lobbying choices, a lot of which I hadn't known about or fully understood, despite having read far to ...more
Mark Smith
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
About half way through, I paused reading this. The formula seemed repetitive and started to suffer the problem a lot of non-fiction does: the point has been made and the rest of the book is made up of hammering it home with extra examples. (I also had some mental whiplash when I discovered the author worked for the investment firm which invested in my startup in the late 90's)

However in this case Foroohar is layering the evidence before making a much larger case: The technology giants are destro
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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
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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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 lib ...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 ...more
Nick Frazier
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Author Rana Roroohar offers a critical look at the major technology companies and their effects on society. Despite being founded along with idealistic aims, the tech behemoths quickly sacrificed founding principles in the pursuit of growth.

Surveillance Capitalism
Tech companies rely upon a business model that needs data - specifically, data from us as users. The more it learns about us, the more money it makes by selling advertisements. These data sets are very lucrative. When combined with dat
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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
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. ...more
Katy
Dec 10, 2019 marked it as physical_to-read_stack  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways.
Hannah ✨
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. Disturbing and informative, but also repetitive. I felt it could have been a little more condensed. The chapters sometimes felt like connected essays instead of chapters in the same book and I feel like I heard the same few phrases/sentences again and again (probably made more noticeable by the fact that I was listening to the audiobook). Still a good read - would recommend if you want more information on the monopoly of Apple/Amazon/Google et al.
Randy
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christa Maurice
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Well researched and clearly organized, this book will have you rethinking your amount of screen time and what you do while you're there. ...more
Sami Eerola
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Nothing much new in this book, if you follow tech news closely as i seem to be following. The best part of this book are the history of Neoliberal reforms that created the conditions for megacorporations like Google and Facebook to exist and have so much power

What irritated in this book is the very personal narration style of the writer. I do not care where she got to eat her lunch, just the facts.

Then this book has a very weird leftist or more liberal position that almost argues that big corpor
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Heath Salzman
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, culture, business
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 don’t 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). Th
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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 th ...more
Brian
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech-policy
The good: This book gives a lot of insight into the “FAANGs”—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google—what 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.)

You’ll find things here to be concerne
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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
Dhruv Saggar
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Foroohar attempts to outline the sins of big technology companies over the past twenty years. It comes as no surprise that these problems are large and concerning.

However, in this outline, I did feel that the book lacked some structure and was repetitive at times. As such, it did feel like a nice overview of big technology's problems but did not sufficiently push forth its own narrative or argument.

It's also worth noting that some of the problems identified of big tech are in no way exclusive
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B.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprise, surprise, tech companies suck. Never would have known it without reading this *eyeroll*

I won this one in a goodreads giveaway. It could have been relevant, instead, it just comes across as rather whiny. No shit corporations suck.
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!
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.
Manny
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about "Big Tech" and how they are harming the country and more importantly, the citizens. Aylin Foroohar is an American business columnist and an associate editor at the Financial Times. She is also CNN's global economic analyst. This book was published in November of 2019 so she missed even more egregious "Big Tech" overreach during the 2020 Election and even worse yet, what has happened AFTER the election.

Although Foroohar speaks about the $300K Russians spent to sway the
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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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Kazuo Ishiguro insists he’s an optimist about technology.  “I'm not one of these people who thinks it's going to come and destroy us,” he...
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