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"Mr. Keen...writes with acuity and passion about the consequences of a world in which the lines between fact and opinion, informed expertise and amateurish speculation are willfully blurred." (The New York Times)
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By Michael Fielden on 07-11-07
A painful voyage from a single perspective
I struggled through "The Cult of the Amateur" for a variety of different reasons, but what sticks with me most vividly is the overwhelming feeling that the author had an alternate agenda - as if at some point I would become a part of a sophisticated infomercial for some far away product. Fortunately, that was not the case, but the struggle to get through it was no less painful.
At the end of the whole thing I found myself wondering what the point was - knowing because it had been pounded into me throughout the story - and not believing that there's anything wrong with the "amateur" challenging the common professional or even the "expert" that might know what he's read or learned in years of experience. I believe, as most Internet people probably do, that sometimes the expert doesn't know what's best and the "amateur" will come up with the next best thing and/or the right idea. The author's hypothesis was quite a bit different, suggesting that the amateur is taking over and that the power is nearly destroying what we know as expert opinion and knowledge. Quite different from how I and most of my peers view things.
Hope that helps for those of you considering this book - perhaps enough to save your credits and wait for it to hit the sale rack.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Robert on 12-28-07
Save your money....
The author's core hypothesis is basically something along the lines of "work of professionals is increasingly not valued, so they're not making money like they used to", and he attributes this to "amateurs".
There are a few nuggets of good information in this book, but they're few and far between. I think the author could come up with a five-page theme paper that would cover all of his points - the rest is redundant (and sometimes irrelevant) examples.
He gives an example of a company having a "design our next ad" contest, where the winner got paid some amount (I believe it was $10,000) for the ad. He then said that a "professional" would have charged, on average, over $300,000 to do the same ad. He then states that this was a bad thing, presumably because a "professional" lost out on work.
This neglects to mention that if the "amateur" doesn't do as good of a job as the "professional", the company won't hire the amateur next time. They'll hire the professional, and value his services even more. If the ad is the best ad they've ever run though, who's to say that the company did the wrong thing by shopping around? It's really pretty simple.
By the way....my very act of posting a review of his work, since I'm not a "professional" reviewer of audiobooks, makes me (in his eyes) unqualified to render any valid opinion about his work. Very convenient, that.
If you're willing to take my "amateur" advice, save your credits and your money.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful