The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath (Hardcover)
How seemingly innocuous technologies are unsettling the balance of power by putting it in the hands of the masses - and what a world without "big" will mean for all of us.
In The End of Big, social media pioneer, political and business strategist, and Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicco Mele offers a fascinating, sometimes frightening look at how our ability to stay connected - constantly, instantly, and globally - is dramatically changing our world.
Governments are being upended by individuals relying only on social media. Major political parties are seeing their power eroded by grassroots forces through online fund-raising. Universities are scrambling to preserve their student populations in the face of less expensive, more accessible online courses. Print and broadcast news outlets are struggling to compete with citizen journalists and bloggers. Our traditional institutions are being disrupted in revolutionary ways, some for the better. But, as Nicco Mele argues, the benefits of new technology come with unintended consequences. In The End of Big, Mele examines:
- How fringe political forces enter the mainstream and gain traction using everyday technology - with the enormous potential to undermine central power
- What happens when investigative journalism is replaced by ad hoc bloggers, mobile video, and instantaneous tweets...and whether they challenge or simply enable power
- Why Web-based micro-businesses are outcompeting major corporations, and what innovations will alter the way we work, own things, and pay for goods and services
- The collapse of traditional party politics, and the rise of a new kind of democracy, one which could produce dynamic and effective leaders...or demagogues
- How citizen initiatives can replace local and state government functions, such as safety regulations, tax collection, and garbage pickup, and do so cheaper, faster, and better
Mele argues that unless we exercise caution in our use of these new technologies, we risk a dark and wildly unstable future, one in which our freedoms and basic human values could be destroyed rather than enhanced. Both hopeful and alarming, The End of Big is a thought-provoking, passionately argued book that offers genuine insight into the ways we are using technology, and how it is radically changing our world in ways we are only now beginning to understand.
About the Author
NICCO MELE is a leading forecaster of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age. Named by Esquire magazine as one of America's "Best and Brightest," he served as webmaster for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign and popularized the use of technology and social media for political fund-raising, reshaping American politics. Not long after, he helped lead the online efforts for Barack Obama in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate. Mele's firm, EchoDitto, is a leading Internet strategy company working with nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies, among them Google, AARP, the Clinton Global Initiative, the United Nations, and others. He also serves on a number of boards, including the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, is a cofounder of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and is on the faculty at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
"An important read for anyone curious about what the future might look like...the end of big is hitting many aspects of our lives. And Mele makes us seriously think about the world we live in today and, more importantly, how we'd like to live in it tomorrow." —Fortune
"A genuine, historic glimpse into real changes wrought by the Internet." —Kirkus Review
"Readers will learn about the sometimes surprising origins of aspects of our technology and are guaranteed to find fascinating examples of digitally enabled endeavors." —Booklist Review
“Anyone who is not asleep is unsettled by the speed and sweep of technological change, as it upends our workplace, our institutions, leisure, culture, individual and communal behavior. To comprehend the awesome changes we have and will experience, the opportunities and the pitfalls, Nicco Mele's The End of Big is a clear-eyed, compellingly written account bursting with vivid anecdotes and analysis.” —Ken Auletta, New Yorker writer and author of Greed and Glory on Wall Street, World War 3.0, and Googled
“In The End of Big, forecaster Nicco Mele – one of the internet’s early masters – looks technology squarely in the eye and asks the hard questions: Exactly how powerful is our new-found connectivity, and what’s its effect on the media? On politics and government? On business? And on our culture? If you want to know what’s really going on, get this book – and see the future and your options with new eyes." —Alex Castellanos, Political Consultant and Media Commentator
“The intense and direct way the Internet and smart mobile devices connect us and the planet challenges existing institutional arrangements everywhere we look. The End of Big presents a provocative analysis of a world on the cusp of disruptive change and asks if we have the vision and will to remake it along small-d democratic lines.” —Mitch Kapor, founder, Lotus Development Corp.
“Is it news that we all now live in a constantly-connected brave new world? No. But what is news is that technology has become an accelerating force in its own right. Forewarned is forearmed: If you have a vested interest in any aspect of business, politics, or culture, you’ve got to get a copy of Nicco Mele’s new book – The End of Big – so you can actively manage the changes that are about to impact you the most." —Joe Trippi, Author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
“The End of Big covers the consequences of our constantly-connected, technology-fueled society – and nobody is better qualified to write about it than Nicco Mele. This book is an honest assessment of the most complex and fast-moving parts of our world. Nicco keeps a watchful eye on the institutions we rely upon because they’re now very much up for grabs. His continued focus is on protecting human values, our social structures, and our freedoms. Get a copy of this critical new book. It will forever change your thinking about business, politics and culture.” —Howard Dean, Six-Term Governor of VT
“Technology is redefining every aspect of existence – at work, at home, in the community, and in our private lives. Nicco Mele’s The End of Big will help you chart a path forward that fits with your values, your world.” —Stew Friedman, Practice Professor of Management, The Wharton School and Author of Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life
“We can give birth to a new kind of culture with institutions to match that doesn’t cower at the technological advances but embraces that technology to bring us back to our communities so we can build a better future. For anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by technology, take hold of this book. Now.” —Jeffrey Seglin, Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer
“If you'd like to better understand the rapid societal changes that technology has wrought, The End of Big is an indispensable guide. Nicco Mele provides an erudite yet supremely accessible look at how politics, media, business, and almost every facet of modern life has been transformed by the digital revolution – and prepares readers to make better choices and become more informed citizens." —Dorie Clark, Author of the forthcoming Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)
“In The End of Big, Nicco Mele rightly argues that a now familiar tsunami of technology is changing our world in distinctly unfamiliar ways -- with accelerating velocity. He also delineates a range of choices each one of us can make to reinvent business, politics, and culture for a better tomorrow, in light of his findings and insights. Read this cutting-edge book, understand your options, and start moving forward in new directions – for yourself, for your organization, and for the good of our collective future.” —Jeffrey F. Rayport, founder and chairman of Marketspace and author of Best Face Forward (Harvard Business Review Press, 2005)
“Radical connectivity changes EVERYTHING, says Nicco Mele, and it’s hard to disagree. From how we shop to how we work to how we govern, the end of BIG means the end of top-down, centralized hierarchical control. What it will look like when we get there remains blurry, but we can be assured that it will be radically different from the past. This book is an engaging guide to the underlying forces that are eroding all that is BIG, and its many examples will pull you in to this sweeping story of change." —Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School, Author of Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy (Jossey-Bass, 2012)