Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Digital is Destroying Everything

Digital is Destroying Everything, Andrew V. Edwards, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015

Digital (which includes robots, the internet, algorithms and smartphones) is supposed to usher in a new era of convenience and lower prices for the consumer. There is no downside to all this inter-connectedness, right?

Very wrong, according to the author of this book. He explores how streaming and file sharing have basically destroyed the music industry. The newspaper business is also on "life support." Those who are unemployed are told to learn how to code or re-train for some 21st century job. That may be possible for some people. What is your average middle-age factory worker whose job has just gone overseas supposed to do? Besides, is there much of a demand by companies to hire these semi-trained, but inexperienced, coders?

Digital (especially Amazon) is one of the forces that has emptied Main Street of mom and pop retail shops, and emptied hundreds of strip malls all over America. Retail itself deserves some of the blame (JC Penney, for instance). The newest trend in retail is to build "lifestyle centers" or "Town centers" which are little more than strip malls with a village facade. Have you ever hesitated to go into a store out of fear that the owner might actually. . . talk to you? The object of American entrepreneurship seems to be to create a smartphone app to be sold to some major corporation for an insane amount of money. Creating actual revenue through sales of the app was never a consideration.

Human interaction seems to be deader than dead. How many dinner times are silent because everyone in the family considers the happenings on their tiny screen to be more important than the person sitting across from them? Is personal privacy an obsolete concept? Political discourse has become balkanized, in that believers in nearly anything can put up their own website (or websites) and tell themselves that they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

What can a person do about it? Reduce Your Digital Exposure. Leave your smartphone off until you actually need it. This is an excellent and eye-opening book. It should be read by everyone, especially by those who have to check Facebook (for instance) every few minutes.

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