Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Being Digital” as Want to Read:
Being Digital
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Being Digital

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,919 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
As the founder of MIT's Media Lab and a popular columnist for Wired, Nicholas Negroponte has amassed a following of dedicated readers. Negroponte's fans will want to get a copy of Being Digital, which is an edited version of the 18 articles he wrote for Wired about "being digital."

Negroponte's text is mostly a history of media technology rather than a set of predictions

Paperback, 249 pages
Published January 4th 1996 by Hodder and Stoughton (first published 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Being Digital, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Being Digital

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is like my Bible in digital journey. I keep rereading it to find inspiration. My fave part is when Negroponte writes that he has seen a prototyp
e of touchscreen computer in early 1970s. Wow. Now people feel they are holding tech if they carry new tab, something which arent new at all
Luke Peterson
Feb 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people trying to find a reference point in the technology revolution
Shelves: favorites
I read this ten years ago and remember it as one of the most prescient books ever. Negroponte spends a and elot of time filling in the gaps between what you were supposed to know in the late 90's about the rise of the digital era, and what you actually absorbed from everyone else who were also just pretending to know what the difference between digital and analog meant.

He's got a lot of really interesting predictions for the near future, many of which have proven correct.

Do you know why CDs and
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: media/internet junkie
this is a seminal book on media - now we have the luxury of looking back and see if most of Negroponte's predictions have come true - and how it affect our lives. If you read this first, you will find Friedman's "The World is Flat" as merely a follower - since most of the things he found as an amazing way the world works nowadays were already in Negroponte's list 10 years earlier.
Jesse Stay
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-future
Prophetic. Although very ironic that the only way to read it is in atom form, instead of bit form.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No es lo que sucede, sino por qué sucede. De esa manera entendemos algo mejor la digitalización del mundo actual. El libro tiene años, y asusta bastante ver cómo la mayoría de sus predicciones se han ido cumpliendo, pero aún así merece la pena, porque las ideas básicas, los por qués, siguen siendo los mismos y sigue mereciendo la pena entenderlos.
Apr 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culture
fantastic overview - this guy has amazing insight. a good textbook for any students doing a communication degree
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dang, a "what will the future?" from 1995. Fair well fun to read twenty some odd years on. All compare and contrast. Speculations upon the future, more specifically, what happens when email gets to be a bigger thing, digital algorithms take over from analog in Tx/Rx, teaching the kids w/ programmable LEGOs, and various IoT (though term as yet not coined); and voice command whatever.

Easy to pick up, read a bit, put down, forget, pick right back up. Suffers/thrives from newsstand magazine style
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To a book written in 1995, it's incredible actual considering the fact that on technology, things grow older very fast. It's amazing to see how the author was able to foresee the big changes that we are experiencing right now on many of the social aspects that the digital technology has touched. That been said, the book starts to show it's age since many of things that he sees as future, are right now a reality, like digital newspapers, GPS and autonomous self-driving car.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though it is from 1996 it is amazing the ideas that are discussed and how actual some of them are still.
Kim Zinkowski
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

If you can get past the arrogant author talking about how great and right he is, as well as personal anecdotes that are little more than elitist bragging, there are some neat tidbits of information here. Negroponte was pretty darn accurate with some of his predictions, and only off by 5-10 years with others; though this isn't really an amazing feat for someone in his line of work. Parts of the book are pretty dull, but at least it's separated into many small sections and short chapters for easy
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is like reading a 15 year-old almanac. It is Nicholas Negroponte's vision for the challenges and privileges technology would bring about in our daily lives. He wrote it in 1995 and it is impressively predictive. It is as if he anticipated things like Digg, Google Reader, Hulu, DVRs, and Roku.

I was especially interested in his predictions for broadcast news. He says: "the economic models of media today are based almost exclusively on 'pushing' the information and entertainment out into the
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really wished I had read this book 10 years ago. There is no doubt this man has a vivid view of the future digital world, and it would be extremely interesting to know what he thinks about the next 20 years.

Although Negropont's conclusions can be seen as incredible negative, unfortunately I think yet again he has nailed it, and if you read this book thinking you are the right side of the digital divide, I would think again.

I completely agree that the digital revolution has indeed changed the w
Julie Decker
Jul 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This collection of essays discusses certain types of technological advances--new or emerging at the time of its writing--and puts them in context both history-wise and--with an epilogue--according to how they will develop in the future.

I'm a lifelong computer user, but not a technology developer. However, I had to read this as a college assignment in a technology class, and while I usually found nonfiction books about topics I have no particular interest in at least tolerable, in this case I fou
Kelsey S. Hock
dnf. If you're interested in predictions made in the past about our present this could potentially interest you. For me it was bleh. Perhaps if it was written in this era about the possibilities of quantum computers and where apple phones might be taking us it would be intriguing. But as it is, this book's prime audience has grown up and is living in the present where most of Negroponte's previously startling insights are common knowledge.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it
It was a long time ago, and now that I remember reading this book, I can say that it was not very memorable. The concept was rather pedestrian, from what I remember, that the digital wave of internet will replace the current media outlets. We can see that was as true and can compare that with the automobile replacing the horse... though we still have horses with us, and even the bicycle has morphed from a utility to a recreation. In fact, I am still reading actual books and paper periodicals, th ...more
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(2.5) Only interesting as a historical document (but he is of course accurate)

I had to rate this according to its readability and relevance now. It's not much when you measure it on those terms, but it was certainly impressive how he could sense the trends in our digital lives. Things like DVRs, ubiquitous computing (with handheld or wearable computing devices), GPS and voice navigation in our cars, video-on-demand etc.

He did rail against fax and the US approach to HDTV which may have been parti
Christopher Nilssen
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's been ages since I've read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. It would have been far more valuable to read Negroponte's work back when it was originally published, because he was literally predicting the future. He foresaw Netflix, the rise of MMOs like World of Warcraft, smart homes, and much more. A few of his ideas have yet to come to pass, and until Roombas learn to recognize the difference between animal dung and dust it may be a while yet to come.

If you're at all interested in th
Tom Schulte
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, history
admittedly, being a product of the 90s on such a fast moving target as human - computer interactions, much of this must be dated and indeed we hear of VCRs, CD-ROMs, etc. However, the author of this book delightfully and ably narrated by Penn Jillette, is looking forward more so than around. As such, this recalls to me Dertouzos' What Will Be. Negroponte's crystal ball was tuned in when he foresaw wearables, the ubiquity of VOD, turn by turn navigation and more.

What I like most here from this p
Alexander Tomislav
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: compsci
Fenomenalna knjiga Wired kolumnista. Zanimljivo je da je autor disleksičan. Osnovao je "Media Lab" pri MIT-u gdje se bave sučeljima informacijskih sustava, komunikacijom ljudi i računala (HCI). Vizionar digitalne budućnosti, svijeta u kojem će se trgovati bitovima a ne atomima. O svedostupnosti interneta i o načinima filtriranja informacija za korisnike. Sviđa mi se ideja o porsonaliziranim izdanjima novina. O budućnosti TV govori kako većina industrijalaca budućnost televizije vidi u pob
Sep 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
I understand that I'm probably not the intended audience for this book, and I was assigned to read it when I was in college, so perhaps my one-star rating is biased. But putting that possibility aside, normally I'm pretty easy to please with nonfiction books even if I'm not knowledgeable about or interested in the subject . . . that is, if the author is good at drawing the audience in. I just really had to struggle to get through the book, and don't remember it well, so I don't think the author' ...more
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Would have been a good read 10 years ago. The author got some things right, but a lot of the predictions -- or at least a lot of the focus -- is wrong. This was written at the dawn of the Internet. CD-ROM's were still a big thing, and dvd's hadn't appeared yet.

As a study into what we thought the future would hold, it was interesting. But I kept wanting to tell the author to shut up about things like digital, connected toasters. It was a dumb idea, and no one ever wanted such a thing anyway.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I almost ignored the book as most of us would given that it was written in 1995 and speaks of what the world would look like in the next two decades. However my curiosity got better of me and I am grateful for that. The author is extremely knowledgeable and a true visionary. Many of the approaches and possibilities he mentions have since been realized and many more are yet to be actualized. The book is a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas for all trying to make computers work for the humans ...more
mahatma anto
Jul 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
sudah ada edisi indonesianya ya?
keren nih buku. bukan hanya isinya yang merupakan ajakan utk menyadari datangnya medium baru [yang akan mengubah cara-cara kita berhubungan], namun juga rasanya buku ini pernah diedarkan di web dengan gratis. siapa saja boleh mengunduh buku ini di web. itu adalah sikap baru terhadap pengetahuan, yang di tempat kita [dan di tempat-tempat lain juga] masih diperlakukan sebgai barang langka yang harus disekap.
Damian Neri
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
De haberlo leído hace 15 años, este libro me habría sorprendido bastante por el futuro informático que plantea. Al día de hoy, vivimos en ese futuro, o al menos uno similar y mucho más variado (gracias al Internet de las cosas, aún en crecimiento), con excepción de algunas cosillas que en este momento pueden recordar a cómo los entusiastas de los autos voladores de hace decenios imaginaban el año 2000.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After 16 years, this is still a cutting-edge analysis of the impact that digital technology has had and is having on society. I bought a copy when it first came out and devoured in one day (it's more like a long essay). I go back and reread it every 5 years and it's still an exciting read.

Ironically, a book that celebrates the digital world is not available as an e-book. Shame on the publisher.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty cool read. I'm just diving full on into the tech field(soon to be every field of work) and it was awfully curious to hear about the forefront of technology around 20 years ago. Lot's of good predictions on the authors part. The best part about reading this book is the opportunity to think out how this idea of "being digital" is becoming more and more a constructive form of our lives.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was a great read - technology is a bit out of date since it's now 15 years old, but Negroponte's vision of the future has largely actualized. His insight into where media needs to go from here I think is a vision that will be multiple decades in coming yet; content creators and interface architects could learn a lot from this book.
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Maybe I'm being unfair to this book. It is easy to read, and Negroponte is clearly brilliant. But it has little to offer the contemporary reader, except to show what people were thinking about in 1995. A lot of his predictions have come true in the interim, which is impressive but not really helpful.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Incredible vision of the future (now present).

His assertion rate looking for what cames true on the next 20 years after the book publication demonstrate clearly how deep is the author attached with "the digital" and how responsible him and the Media Lab are about the introduction of computers on our day by day life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
  • Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory Of The Web
  • Code: Version 2.0
  • Life on the Screen
  • The Social Life of Information
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • The Language of New Media
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World
  • Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace
  • The New Hacker's Dictionary
  • Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation
  • The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution
  • Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning With New Media

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »