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Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory Of The Web

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The Web has not been hyped enough. That's the startling thesis of this one-of-a-kind book that's sure to become a classic work of social commentary. Just as Marshall McLuhan forever altered our view of broadcast media, Weinberger shows that the new medium of the Web is not only altering social institutions such as business and government but, more important, is transformin ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 8th 2003 by Basic Books (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Richard Seltzer
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Are you feeling burnt-out, frustrated, tired of everything having to do with the Internet? Then for you, Small Pieces Loosely Joined could be like a revival meeting, giving you a taste of the old-time religion.

If there were a church of the Internet, this would be one of its sacred books, celebrating the Web as a social place, rather than technology. As David Weinberger puts it, "The Web is a social place that we humans constructed voluntarily out of a passion to show how the world looks to us."
...more
Mikal
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is a useful philosophical narrative for the web. To develop a web based application, to use the web for purposes of organization or to use the tools of the present day web is to build, organize, or navigate the world David Weinberger describes.

Small pieces is a useful treatise that loses itself from time to time. David's work is a cultural examination of the web- based on how it is similar or dissimilar to the lebenswelt (life-world). It's this examination that serves to be the glass c
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, history
Think about the internet in 2002. No Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, 4chan, Reddit or mobile anything. eBay was huge, as was Yahoo, Wikipedia was just a year old, the hottest meme was 'All Your Base Are Belong to Us' and the DotCom Bust had dropped napalm on a host of bad ideas. Weinberger takes us back that time, when he tries to explain how the web works.

Part of it, which might be exotic to surfers circa 2002, is common knowledge to pretty much anybody who isn't dead today; the blend of anonymity
...more
Martin
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: martin
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I am a big fan of his previous book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, but this book was far more philosophical and abstract than I was expecting.

The author looks at how the Internet changes some of our long held abstract concepts such as time, space, matter and togetherness. It was interesting, just not as relevant as i had hoped. I'm still looking forward to reading Weinberger's most recent book, Too Big to Know.
...more
Hana Carpenter
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-and-tech
A time capsule of technologist optimism. This book is a poignant read; so many of the author's ambitions for the future of the Internet failed to come true. If you want to see what potential this medium held when it was young and the world was bright, this book is useful. I wouldn't take it much more seriously than that, though. ...more
Erin
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
I had to put this one down. I like these sorts of books to be either really current or really technical and academic, but this was neither. The style of writing was kind of entertaining, but there just wasn't anything new or groundbreaking that I haven't read or considered before. ...more
Jenaya
Oct 09, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Hopelessly dated. Useless to me, even for a Writing 121 class.
Charles
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
“Unlike the real world, the world of programs is perfectly knowable, perfectly predictable, and perfectly controllable.” -page 79.

The author of this quote has either never spent time working on real programs, or is so radically oversimplifying to make his point that the point itself is irrelevant. This quote highlights one of the two main problems I had with this book.

The first is in the intent of this book, or what it aims to achieve. The book is pitched as a philosophical inquiry of what the w
...more
Pat Villaceran
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was created years ago, but it's evidently more relevant now. With social media and the culture of busy thumbs, Small Pieces tackles the innovation behind what we now call as everyday "needs."

...more
David Snook
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really deep, and surprisingly relevant even in 2017, considering the pace of technology.
Jeremy
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
Only on the web does a book 12 years old feel like ancient history. In many respects, Weinberger was prescient, identifying trends that have become more and more powerful (e.g., one passage could be seen as predicting the rise of Wikipedia, and another the advent of the currently omnipresent "Like" button). Even more often, he provides insights that are still deep and thought-provoking.

Weinberger is a philosopher by training, and this book is strongest when Weinberger focuses on philosophy. For
...more
Jarrodtrainque
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined does not merely celebrate the World Wide Web; it attempts to make a case that the institution has completely remodeled many of the world's self-perceptions. The book does so entertainingly, if not convincingly, and is a lively collection of epigrammatic phrases (the Web is "'place-ial' but not spatial";"on the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people"), as well as illustrations of these changes. There are intriguing assertions: that the Web is "brok ...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Jan 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory Of The Web was as philosophical as it sounds. The view of the web presented here is very abstract, focusing on the way the web has (according to the author) caused people to re-define fundamental concepts such as space, time and togetherness. I found a lot of the evidence he offered in support of these views self-evident although I'm still not sure I agree with his assertion that we view time differently because of the internet. I do, however, agree ...more
Roger K.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Books about the internet typically don't age well. It is impressive how relevant this book still is, even more than a decade after it was written. It shares many themes with The Netocrats and will appeal to anyone that has read that excellent work.

Weinberger builds on the Cluetrain Manifesto to explore how the internet and Web have redefined space, time, and ourselves. My main takeaway was that the main appeal of the internet and Web are that they are a place where we can be more ourselves - cre
...more
Jen
Oct 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Entertaining and informative read on the implications of the Internet- how it is/will change the world, society, the way people think. Very interesting, this book made me re-think the way I view the Internet, realize some of its possibilities (e-books), hate it both a little less and a little more. Basically, it opened my eyes about something I take for granted and made me realize the huge, fundamental changes in society that the Internet has made possible. Fascinating stuff, written lightly and ...more
Joshua Bloom
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: reference
A great high level look at what the Web means now and what it could mean in the future. Mr. Weinberger brings lots of great analysis to the social and societal reasons for the explosion and popularity of the Web.

Though there are references to and discussions of technology, this is not a technical book. This book is focused on the emotional and personal reasons that so many people are using the Web.

Read it. Don't wait.
...more
Darius
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
10 years ago, this book kinda blew my mind. So tonight I was looking for another book to read and pulled this down from the shelf to read again. I'll also be farming some quotes for my Secret Project, while I'm at it. ...more
Kelly
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Almost too touchy-feely for me to handle at times. Good ideas, though many are repeated in "Everything is Miscellaneous" on a more granular level. Still good - Weinberger's a great writer who weaves good analogies and good story-telling into a bigger picture. ...more
Dlangendorf
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my early favorites on the web. Thought provoking. An author and web observer not too full of himself as many are.
MEGAN C
Not bad. I like the way the chapters were set up. Good conversational tone, too.
Lauren
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
This is THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ in at least five years. If you're interested in information, media, the internet, &/or culture. This one is for you. ...more
rachel
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who has ever turned on a computer/intends to turn a computer on in the future
it's not about the internet. it's about the way we connect to one another. ...more
Christopher Filkins
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
To the uninitiated this piece is likely a great fit. Unfortunately most of what it contains has long ago been incorporated into my thinking.
Susan
Sep 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's outdated and there's little here that you don't already know about the internet.

I found his glib style annoying.
...more
Gabe Mounce
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting from the perspective of how the "networks" and computer networks in particular facilitate collaboration. ...more
Henrique Antoun
rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2014
VeerChand
rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2015
Mike Golby
rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2016
Brad Robertson
rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2013
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