Reviews — From the September 2013 issue

Numerical Madness

Critiques of a life online

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Discussed in this essay:

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, by Evgeny Morozov. PublicAffairs. 432 pages. $28.99.

Taipei, by Tao Lin. Vintage. 256 pages. $14.95.

It’s a rare week when somebody doesn’t have something sweeping to say about the Internet. It’s making us smarter or it’s making us dumber; it’s making us nicer or it’s making us meaner. It’s hard to keep track of when it’s disrupting one thing or having a chilling effect on another, but everybody can agree that whatever it’s doing is definitely irreversible. To Evgeny Morozov, who has emerged as perhaps the most useful — wittingly and unwittingly — technological skeptic around, such “Internet-centrism” is just a new name for old messianic ways of thinking. In To Save Everything, Click Here, he goes about debunking two claims. The first is that there is such a thing as “an Internet” about which we ought to have opinions. The second, to which he devotes most of his energy, is the subclaim that “the Internet” is going to make everything better.

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is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. His book, A Sense of Direction, is out now in paperback (Riverhead).

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