The Know-It-Alls

The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

The Know-It-Alls

Included in Backchannel’s (WIRED.com) “Top Tech Books of 2017” An “important” book on the “pervasive influence of Silicon Valley on our economy, culture and politics.” —New York Times How the titans of tech's embrace of economic disruption and a rampant libertarian ideology is fracturing America and making it a meaner place In The Know-It-Alls former New York Times technology columnist Noam Cohen chronicles the rise of Silicon Valley as a political and intellectual force in American life. Beginning nearly a century ago and showcasing the role of Stanford University as the incubator of this new class of super geeks, Cohen shows how smart guys like Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg fell in love with a radically individualistic ideal and then mainstreamed it. With these very rich men leading the way, unions, libraries, public schools, common courtesy, and even government itself have been pushed aside to make way for supposedly efficient market-based encounters via the Internet. Donald Trump’s election victory was an inadvertent triumph of the "disruption" that Silicon Valley has been pushing: Facebook and Twitter, eager to entertain their users, turned a blind eye to the fake news and the hateful ideas proliferating there. The Rust Belt states that shifted to Trump are the ones being left behind by a "meritocratic" Silicon Valley ideology that promotes an economy where, in the words of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, each of us is our own start-up. A society that belittles civility, empathy, and collaboration can easily be led astray. The Know-It-Alls explains how these self-proclaimed geniuses failed this most important test of democracy.

The Know-It-Alls

The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

The Know-It-Alls

The Beginning: a Stanford University lab embarked on an idealistic quest to create an artificial intelligence that would benefit society, perhaps even profit the makers. There were few women or minorities in the department and its head rejected the very idea of authority, but really – what could go wrong? Now: more and more aspects of our lives are being dictated by a tiny, unaccountable elite, a breakaway sect of free-market libertarians who are determined to bypass government and enrich themselves at the expense of society. Pioneers and self-proclaimed geniuses like Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman and Mark Zuckerberg have not only made the Internet what it is today – their impact on the world has been profound. This is a history of Silicon Valley through its eleven greatest entrepreneurs and a damning indictment of the greed, bias and outright prejudice of an industry that is fracturing America and taking the rest of us with it.

The Psychology of Silicon Valley

Ethical Threats and Emotional Unintelligence in the Tech Industry

The Psychology of Silicon Valley


Rescuing Human Rights

A Radically Moderate Approach

Rescuing Human Rights

Focuses on understanding human rights as they really are and their proper role in international affairs.