What I appreciate the most about this book is the language and terminology that Zuboff has developed in order to describe the unprecedented powers and operations being carried out on/against us by the most powerful companies of our times. It is only by giving name to these previously nebulous phenomena that we can mount any sort of resistance to being overtaken by their sway. Terms like, BEHAVIOURAL SURPLUS, SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, BEHAVIOURAL FUTURES MARKETS, and INSTRUMENTARIANISM begin to convey the magnitude and scope of the times we live in and give us some hope of navigating through it.
This is not a light read, neither in terms of the size of the book (over 500 pgs) or the content. I usually tear through books quickly even if they are full of things I've never heard of but this one was an exception. Every time I picked it up I felt a little panicked before I started reading until getting to later chapters where this new language is used to dismantle the subject in a way that makes it feel somewhat more manageable (at least to understand if not to resist). I read a lot of history, but I told several people while reading it that it feels like the most terrifying non-fiction book I have ever read, probably because it is so contemporary, the facts it contains have taken place during our lifetimes and the consequences of these facts are still being played out and will be far into the future.
I think of this book as a monument of human resistance to technological utopianism. I hope that it is widely read and the language in it becomes as commonplace as the language we use to describe the terrors of Totalitarianism and Fascism that dominated literature and political discourse during the twentieth century. The veil has been lifted, or at least we finally getting a peek into the 'behind the scenes' of how the sausage is made in terms of information products that function primarily through the destruction of our privacy and of human dignity.
Liked this book alot. Shoshana sets the course ... :-) Lots of interesting ideas are discussed aside from (and related to) the main topic. But the author never 'loses the plot.' There are some weaknesses (IMO) . . . seems it was somehow not edited with a properly critical, objective eye. Aside from specifics (which I won't bother to mention) there tends to be a lot of circularity, as the same arguments are reapproached and expanded many times throughout. But I won't even downrate 1 star because the book is overall excellent.