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Leaving Reality Behind: Inside the Battle for the Soul of the Internet (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. April 2003

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'Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler explore how far the early utopianism has survived the frenzied commercialism of the past decade...the book is a sober yet engaging account of the forces that meshed in those crazy times.' New Statesman 'The real success of LEAVING REALITY BEHIND is the way the authors develop the parallels between the antagonists; the similarities of rhetoric and delusion. That an absurdist critique of capitalism could so perfectly mirror what is supposedly satirised should have given both sides pause for thought... Accomplished, assured, fascinating and provocative - a model of reportage.' Scotland on Sunday 'The authors convey with subtle power the extent to which etoy and eToys mirrored each other... captures so well the spirit of liberation and adventure, the frontier mentality, the characterised the early days of the Internet. It also serves as an apt summary of the hubristic fantasies of the e-commerce visionaries. This books tells an important story, and is absorbing as a well-crafted thriller.' Financial Times 'Thoroughly researched and reported.' New Scientist ''It should do for e-commerce what 'No Logo' did for global capitalism - well researched and fascinating stuff. Oh yeah - the good guys win.' Flux Magazine 'This book recaptures the excitement of those heady days and the thrill of the new.' Spectator


This is a story of the battle for the control of the Internet. In November 1999, at the height of the e-commerce gold rush, an extraordinary hearing took place in a Los Angeles courtroom. On one side, the billion-dollar darling of Wall Street,, the brain child of Toby Lenk. On the other side,, a group of cutting-edge European artists, hungry for fame, who used the Internet as their canvas. The ensuing battle sharply focused attention on the conflict at the very heart of the Internet: was it for the joy of the many or the exponential profit of the few? Was cyberspace a revolutionary public space or was the new frontier an extension of the shopping mall? Through the story for the Toywar, Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler weave the history of the seven years that changed the world forever. The main question was this: in 2000, as the on-line world went into melt-down, what would be more valuable and enduring, a ten billion dollar corporation created by the best American entrepreneurs or a chaotic art project by a group of anarchic European rebels?

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Super Funny and Compelling 4. Februar 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As an MBA student and a former internet person, I can say with great authority that most business books are the driest, most soul-destroying texts on earth. This book, however, defies the odds and is truly compelling -- so much so that you can forget you're reading about a corporate legal battle and instead feel like you're following an Epic Drama of Good versus Evil.
Actually, that's not quite true. This book reads more like a comedy than anything (laugh-out-loud funny), yet it also intelligently examines the more serious issues behind this bizarre tussle between art and (e-)commerce in a way that has yet to be topped. It actually attempts to avoid taking sides as well, though you cannot help rooting for the artists in the end because they are just more charming.
A great and interesting read, and a must-read for anyone who had a pulse during the internet boom years.
The humor in the book comes in large part to the insane antics of the etoy crew, crazy Swiss conceptual techo performance artists who provide ample fodder for laughs throughout the book. Orange jumpsuits? Check. Mirrored sunglasses? Check. Shaved heads? Check? Earnest 'etoy offsite meetings' in random Eastern European motels? Check. Contrast them with the comparatively dopey Lenk and his team's inability to ship toys in time for Christmas, and the struggle comes to life. The best part is it's all true, and that you begin to understand that the etoy group were more than a bunch of merry pranksters; they were truly insane and ambitious, as most great artists tend to be. (And what they did was certainly a type of greatness in our current age; once set upon as innocents, they turned round and fought back!)
This book flows like a movie, a old-fashioned us-versus-them picture. Yet underneath the histrionics lie very serious issues which the authors explore with great diligence. The domain name system. The internet bubble. The arrogance of corporate America. The legal blow by blows. The spirit of hackerish subversion that governs the heart of the internet in almost pioneer fashion. There's a lot of very enlightening background information in this story, and it's treated with rigor.
So there you have it. Highly recommended. Although it's definitely worth reading for fun, they should also make this book mandatory reading in business schools, as a warning to arrogant hot-shot would-be entrepreneurs and to provide thoughtful, diligent insight into the genesis of the New Economy.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Chunk of Internet History 25. März 2003
Von Rob Hardy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
There was a time when people were just starting e-mail and the World Wide Web, and had no real idea what sort of life the internet was going to bring forth. In the early 1990s, there weren't many rules, and commercial use of the Web had not taken it over. In 1995, an anarchic group of seven Swiss artists started the site [...] In 1997, a billion-dollar firm to sell toys via the internet started up, registering as [...] Two years later, eToys sued etoy for damaging the eToys trademark. The resulting fracas is told in an entertaining story that is not just a dot-com bust parable, _Leaving Reality Behind: etoy vs & Other Battles to Control Cyberspace_ (Ecco) by Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler. The earnestness and foolishness and greed herein described are universal; the contemporary surroundings of this tale, however, have much to tell us about the founding philosophy of the internet and its commercial future.
The artists involved in etoy had worked on collaborative digital art projects, and developed their site as a parody of internet business. They issued shares, and strangely, the share certificates were art works on their own; etoy did not manufacture toys or anything, but it did sell shares, and the shares (or art) did sell. They mocked executive appearances, adopting orange flight jackets, black pants, and shaved heads as uniforms. They intended to be "the First Street Gang of the Information Super Data Highway." Official company communications were signed, "etoy, leaving reality behind." Of course, commercial dot-coms were leaving reality behind in their own fashion. The story of eToys is told just as fully in this book as that of etoy, and it is just as strange. eToys was one of the first companies that emerged from idealab!, a business that was going to produce businesses just like McDonald produced hamburgers. eToys was supposed to beat Toys-R-Us by making it easy to shop without the brats. In 1999, the all important Initial Public Offering of eToys stock was made, amid furious excitement built up over the previous months, but eToys was in big trouble. That didn't stop it from trying to crush the annoying etoy gang. Even after a judge granted an injunction to shut down etoy, etoy wasn't weren't going to give in, and netizens all over began a "Toywar" to "Save etoy now!" A year after doing all the bullying, eToys was bankrupt.
Wishart and Bochsler not only have written a fun and rather exciting tale full of interesting characters, but they have also given a capsule history of the internet. There are detours here to explain the origins of the Web itself, and how different coding standards were developed to tie all our computers together. The first search engines are here, and the mechanics of the organizations who are supposed to control web names. This is an amusing story, and the book will be an excellent reference for those in the future who want to understand what the beginning internet was like and what the dot-com boom-and-bust was all about.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
part of the definitive internet history 14. Februar 2003
Von Paul Murphy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In years to come when they're teaching the history of the internet in all its aspects at colleges this book will be one of a hand-full of books that will be essential reading.
There have been lots of "I was there" internet books - some early ones like "Burn Rate" were truly excellent accounts of life at the coal face but more recent titles such as "Dot.bomb" were dull reads that neither entertained nor informed. "Leaving Reality Behind" is different in that neither of the authors are telling their own story but rather reporting back on the events that helped define and shape the evolution of this internet thing. Both funny and intelligent this book stands out for the thoroughness of its research (in the rush to get them out many internet books have suffered from sloppy editing and factual inaccuracies) as is witnessed by its excellent bibliography - probably worth the cover price alone for anyone serious about understanding recent digital history.
Finally, in bringing together the European and American sides of the story there are deep insites offered in the differences and similarities that bind the two continents together - particularly pertinent at the moment.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Absolutely Fascinating. 1. März 2006
Von ella h. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm going to be completely honest with you -

I only picked up this book because I was bored, and it was the only thing I hadn't read at my local library.


The entire idea of etoy was incredible, and I really enjoyed this book.

And I'm not really into electronics and stuff.

Like, AT ALL.

So go read it. Now.
3 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Awesome 4. Februar 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
First and foremost this is a great, and I mean GREAT, story. How a group of artists brought down a billion dollar corporation. It reads like a thriller, a twisting roller-coaster of a ride and it captures the madness, the futility of the bubble. Were we all really just lunatics?? You might think that so much has been written about the Internet boom, that nothing more could be said. But if journalism is the first draft of history, this is the wonderful second - as the book tells many stories that make sense of the era as a whole. I cannot recommend this book enough. I loved it.
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