Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Army of Davids - Book Review

"An Army of Davids" is a 2006 book from Instapundit founder, Dr. Glenn Reynolds.  The general premise is how the internet and technology is revolutionizing the economy to the point the most optimal form of a commercial entity is not the large corporation with the benefits of economies to scale, but rather the individual with the benefits of agility, innovation, tailoring and expediency.

All bias set aside this book is a MUST for every young person out there, and CERTAINLY every person who is self-employed or somehow depends on the internet for their living.  Dr. Reynolds does a SPECTACULAR job in explaining the underlying economic and technological changes that explains why many of us are making money on the internet, sitting in cafes instead of cubicles, and telling our Pointy Haired Bosses to shove it.  The fact this book was written 7 years ago and nearly EVERYTHING he predicted or contends has come true is even more testament to his insight.

His first few chapters are exemplary in terms of quality, clear and concise writing that conveys a full 4 college courses in economics in a matter of minutes.  He also has the desperately needed wit and humor that livens things up in what would otherwise be boring economic and techno-speak literature. Additionally, the author is "human" and "one of us." He is not just a boring law professor in Tennessee, but (unbeknownst to me) a garage band musician with his own record label. In other words you will enjoy reading this book despite the (seemingly) dry topic manner because it is a normal human writing on the other end.

The only major problem I have with the book is that in the last third of the book he unnecessarily delves into an overkill-amount of detail when it comes to technological and biological advances.  This distracts from the general premise of the book and leaves the reader a tad confused as to "where is this going?"  He talks about nano-technology, the space race between China and the US, and genetic engineering, rarely tying it back to the original premise of the book.

However, if there was a mistake to make, this was it.   While it diverges from the main intent of the book, it isn't necessarily uninteresting.  Matter of fact, it's VERY interesting.  So much so it has prompted me to start looking into stuff myself.  That being said it still is a distraction from the main point of the book.  He ties it together in the ending two chapters, but you're left feeling you were taken on the "scenic route" to make a point.

In short I STRONGLY recommend this book to every person who:

is young
makes money on the internet
is looking for guidance
hates their boss
wants to make money on the internet
is unemployed
just wants an explanation about what is happening to the economy

BUT, with one contention - you just read the first half.

The second half of the book I would deem optional, though highly recommended.  So if you're busy and just need a bird's eye view of what's going on in our modern day economy, read the first half.  But if you have the time and want your mind taken to new heights and intellectual extremes, then I STRONGLY recommend reading all of the book.

You can find it on Amazon in various formats and find Dr. Reynold's website here.

1 comment:

Will Brown said...

As long as Professor Reynolds doesn't start reaching for the rubber gloves, I suspect the internet will survive his probing viewpoints. :) And, I agree with your assessment of his book.