Book Review: The Big Switch


Just got finished reading Nick Carr’s latest, The Big Switch.  First off, I have to say that it was one of the easiest reading business books I have picked up in a long time.  I always am troubled by the fact that I can pickup a novel and swing through 300 pages in a week, but for most business books, I am lucky to do 100 pages in the same time.  I finished the ~220 pages in The Big Switch in less than a week.  The ease at which I was able to get through the text is primarily do to the stories that Mr. Carr weaves throughout his novel.  I am a big proponent of the meme that ‘those who forget history are destined to relive it’ and this is the basic approach that is taken in the first section of the book as the rollout and impact of the electrical grid is used as a blueprint for what is and will happen with software, specifically as it is delivered over the internet.  The tail end of this section is most interesting as it highlights a few important ways in which computing in the cloud is not like the electricity grid.
The second half of the book takes a run at some of the impediments to the transition to software as a service as well as debunking some of the supposed benefits.  This section took me a little by surprise in that is was a little departure from the first part of the book, but it was a quick transition and had some interesting points to make.
Overall this is a good book for someone looking for the long view as it relates to software / technology being delivered as a utility.  It certainly does not provide specific guidance for consumers nor providers of software as a service, it certainly does cover the waterfront of the opportunities and issues that should be in front of mind, with strong historical evidence that we have been here before – and that there are positives and negatives to living through the transition.

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2 responses to “Book Review: The Big Switch”

  1. Xaver Inglin Avatar

    probably many books with “long views” out there … I still recommend “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson which is a “long view” too 😉

  2. Chris Avatar

    Yep, the Long Tail is a good one as well. I liked The Big Switch because it was a bit more focused on the “how” things are going to work. Also, wasn’t there a little bru-ha-ha over where Anderson got his data from?

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