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OR Books: When Google Met WikiLeaks
'Do you want us to start eating?'
|'Well, do you want us to start eating?'|
- Eric Schmidt
'Well, we can do both.'
- Julian Assange
'Yeah, is that OK?'
- Eric Schmidt
This is, quite simply, a great book. It's based on an extended conversation where the participants are:
JA - Julian Assange
ES - Google CEO Eric Schmidt
JC - former Hillary Clinton adviser Jared Cohen
SM - speechwriter, communications director, literary editor Scott Malcomson
LS - Eric's then partner and VP of the Council on Foreign Relations Lisa Shields
The best way to read this book is to simultaneously listen to it.
Schmidt and Cohen were preparing a book finally scheduled for publication in April 2013; this meeting took place in June 2011, almost two years earlier, at Ellingham, the estate of Vaughan Smith where Julian was under house arrest until the British court system failed him. Not everyone arrived on time.
The meeting begins with a lunch in the kitchen. One hears a constant clang of kitchen utensils, of plates, knives, and forks. The conversation continues through lunch, then moves briefly to a drawing room, then goes for a walk on stones where everyone gets caught in a downpour and takes refuge under a fantastic tree.
There's not a single dull moment.
Don't miss the part where Lisa spills into her laptop, and Julian, purportedly on the scene before the mishap, grabs the computer and quickly turns it upside down to save it.
Don't miss the part where Julian explains how censorship through complexity works, and why offshore accounts are successful without necessarily being illegal.
Don't miss the part where Julian explains how to tunnel backend data through an onion network and onto swiftly changing front end servers, all in an attempt to stay one step ahead of Chinese censors.
For that matter, don't miss any of it. There aren't any universities who yet offer degrees in what Julian teaches, but should there be - and it's a vital subject in our world of today - then odds are Julian will be one of the first professors. He's obviously spent a lifetime thinking through this, and his thinking is lucid and acute. He'll open new worlds for you that you knew had to exist but hadn't taken the time to think much about, and you'll be grateful for what he taught you.
You'll learn how information spreads, and how some people try to stop it.
You'll learn the pivotal influence of public outrage.
You'll learn what the mainstream media are really worth and why.
You'll learn how lies spread.
You'll learn how propaganda works and why it can be powerful.
You'll learn how people organise today, and why the old methods no longer work.
The book by Schmidt and Cohen wasn't much to write home about. It turns out that they act informally as a sort of scouting duo for Washington DC. But this meeting is definitely something to write home about and to recommend to others.
You'll read (and listen to) this book again and again and again.
|'You've obviously thought about this a lot.'|
- Scott Malcomson
'We've actually been having a perfectly wonderful time.'
-- Eric Schmidt
'I wanted there to be more just acts, and fewer unjust acts.'
- Julian Assange