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A weekend non-fiction fun read as a break from heavy theological reading: Because Pastors need a break also!

Franklin Foer.  World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. New York, NY: The Penguin Press, September 12th 2017. 272 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

When people talk about the danger of Big Tech what exactly do they mean and how serious is it?  With a book that has the subtitle “The Existential Threat of Big Tech” author, journalist and newspaper editor Franklin Foer wrote this book to talk this specific issues.  Having finished reading this in early 2021 in which some of the national conversations include concerns about Big Tech and social media this book is quite relevant though it is written in 2017 and also the fact that Foer who is entrenched in the media establishment brought up the same concerns that I hear from political conservatives shows that the issues and problems with Big Tech really should transcend partisan party politics.

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A  special weekend non-fiction reading review, especially with everything going on in 2020!  A break from heavy theological reading: Because Pastors need a break also!

Scott Galloway.  The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. New York, NY: Penguin Group, October 3rd 2017. 320 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Increasingly people are realizing that there’s not only a good side to Big Tech but also a negative side.  Want to read a book on the four biggest technology company today with both its good and also its bad?  This book is worth the read and I highly recommend it.  It looks at Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google and note its strengths and weaknesses and also serious concerns for the four.  Most fascinating is the book’s exploration of the tension between these four companies and competition with each other.  The author is Scott Galloway and I appreciate that in chapter one he tells us who he is: He is a NYU school of Business professor of marking, consultant, public speaker and entrepreneur.  I think his background is impressive but he’s also very real with his readers about his mistakes, what he’s learned firsthand in the world of entrepreneurship and also about what his personality is like.  But don’t take his honesty as weakness: what he has to say in this book is truly mind-blowing and educational.

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A weekend nonfiction review!  Cause even ministers need breaks from heavy theological reading!

Tom Standage.  Writing on the Wall.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, October 15th 2013. 288 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This was a fascinating book on social media.  As the subtitle states this book is on the first two thousand years of social media.  You might be scratching your head like I did at first with the idea of social media having been around for the last two millennium but I think the author Tom Standage made a good point that social media has been around for some time though it might not look like the social media we have today. We must not confuse our idea of social media that is based upon technologies such as the internet, websites and high speed connection with the social media that has been existent in the past.

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Most cool people have Facebook now. You could be spending more time on interacting with your friends on Facebook than in real life or you may know more about what your old high school friends did over the weekend more than your own family and church family . You know you have spent too much time on Facebook when you spend more time thinking of a witty comment to put on your status than you did on your school’s essay title or your holiday shopping consists of virtual gifts.

Justin Buzzard gives 9 reasons not to use Facebook,

1. Don’t use status updates to complain. For many, complaining has become a trend on Facebook. With their status updates, many people broadcast consistent grumbles, like: “Joe is bored,” “Joe can’t wait to leave his stupid job,” or “Joe is exhausted.” By all means, be real, be honest and authentic, but beware of the culture of complaint.

2. Don’t measure your worth/identity by the number of your Facebook friends and interactions. Facebook measurements are the opposite of gospel measurements. Facebook tells you that the more Facebook friends and interactions you have, the more important, loved, and accepted you are. The gospel tells sinners an opposite message: no matter how lonely, unpopular, or unnoticed you might feel, in Jesus you are more loved, accepted, and noticed than you can imagine.

3. Don’t value forming Facebook (virtual) friendships more than real world friendships.

4. Don’t diminish your face-to-face time with people to check what’s going on in your Facebook world. If you’ve ever been out to dinner with friends and found yourself anxious to pull away and check out what’s happening on Facebook, you know what I’m talking about.

5. Don’t be someone online you’d never be in person. Let Facebook reflect the real you, not some pseudo-personality that emerges when you’re alone with your computer.

6. Don’t hurt and exclude others (intentionally or unintentionally) through use of applications such as “Top Friends.” Likewise, don’t become jealous of others having conversations without you. Be patient and gracious with potential misunderstandings that inevitably happen in cyberspace. When you spot something on Facebook that causes feelings of hurt or jealousy, assume the best.

7. Don’t allow Facebook and online life in general to make you a more distracted person. If you’ve noticed that use of Facebook and online life—constant change, updates, movement, and hyperlinks—has made it more difficult for you to sit down and read a book for one hour, you’d benefit from stepping back and evaluating how this technology is affecting you.

8. Don’t allow Facebook to tempt you away from your calling and work. Don’t let Facebook’s little status updates (“Lisa is chewing gum”) and Wall writings take your focus off the great and big things that your heart should be engaged in, namely the work that God has put you on earth to do.

9. Don’t let Facebook cause you to think about yourself more than you already do. You were created to look outside yourself toward God, other people, and the wonder-filled world he has made for you to enjoy and cultivate.

And he also gives 6 ways to use Facebook to love God and others, and care for your own soul,

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