Andy's Reviews > Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob

Against the Machine by Lee Siegel
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's review
Oct 12, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: on-culture
Recommended for: People who work and play online for hours everyday

I enjoyed reading this book immensely. Siegel's prose is thoughtful, robust, and witty without being petty. He presents good arguments without stooping to 'zingers' against his opponents to support them.

Beyond the writing, I appreciated the ideas Siegel presents. I've not read many critiques of the internet, or even popular technology, and so it was refreshing to read someone with opposing ideas while myself, and everyone around me, seems happy to jump right into every new technology that comes our way.

Siegel disects online life and reveals that ultimately, it leads back to self. He draws a strong comparison (in the epilogue) to the similarities between internet usage and pornography (which will raise eyebrows, for sure) that gave me significant pause about my motives for being online at all.

I'm not one to dismiss the internet entirely, but I don't think Siegel is either. Though his book could use a few more positive examples of how the internet has helped our culture develop, his message is one that needs to be heard:

"We can either passively allow it [the internet] to obstruct our lives or guide it toward the fulfillment of its human promise. The choice is ours." (p. 11)

Recommended for high school level readers and up. Recommended especially for people who spend considerable amounts of time online everyday (like myself).

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