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Publisher's Summary

Nearly a century ago, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism articulated the animating spirit of the industrial age. Now, Pekka Himanen - together with Linus Torvalds and Manuel Castells - articulates how hackers* represent a new, opposing ethos for the information age. Underlying hackers' technical creations - such as the Internet and the personal computer, which have become symbols of our time - are the hacker values that produced them and that challenge us all. These values promote passionate and freely rhythmic work; the belief that individuals can create great things by joining forces in imaginative ways; and the need to maintain our existing ethical ideals, such as privacy and equality, in our new, increasingly technological society. The Hacker Ethic takes us on a journey through fundamental questions about life in the information age - a trip of constant surprises, after which our time and our lives can be seen from unexpected perspectives.*In the original meaning of the word, hackers are enthusiastic computer programmers who share their work with others; they are not computer criminals.
Executive Producer: Laura Wilson
Producer: Paul Ruben
Original Jacket Design: Kapo Ng
©2000 Pekka Himanen
Prologue Copyright ©2000 Linus Torvalds
Epilogue Copyright ©2000 Manuel Castells
(P)2001 Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Craig on 11-03-03

Enjoyable Discussion

This book is essentially a sociological study of human resources and managment and how the current business culture does is out of sync with the workers' needs, desires, and personal values. It contrasts the motivations of a programmer coding open source software against the (presumably American) heirarchial business managmement's working environment.

What I found interesting about this title was its recounting of the basis and continual reshaping of cultural attitudes toward working. I liked this because it explored the historical development of the modern perceptions in the importance of work, e.g., issues of how in introducing ourselves to others we self-define ourselves through our work, those with poor work ethics are condemned, etc. I enjoyed the questioning of societal values that are treated as dogma.

While the title does continually pass in and out of feeling didactic and many of the principles are not as novel as the authors may believe, this title presents great context for lively discussions with friends on a subject that affects us all.

NOTE: This title does place a biased dicotomy that, upon continual listening, becomes along the lines that Hackers have the working environment all worked out and those of us that work for a boss are fools. I had to adjust myself to translate upon hearing "Hacker's ethic" into simply meaning "a better way".

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Orsi on 04-08-17


I loved the structure of this book: how real life hacking and sociology came together in a very friendly way. Manuel Castells chapter was a lovely surprise!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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