Nick Bilton writes about technology for The New York Times. I've been a big fan because every time I read one of his pieces I learn something new and valuable. As a result, I was probably one of the first people to buy his ebook, I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works, the day it went on sale in the Kindle store.
Unlike a lot of forward-looking books, this one doesn't waste a bunch of time on dreamy predictions of the specifics (e.g., flying cars, time travel, etc). Rather, Nick talks about trends he's seeing and research he's worked on or studied. You, the reader, are then free to use that information to think about how all this information might affect your future and the future of your business.
I generally rate a book by how many excerpts I highlight while reading it. Good ones typically have 10-15. This one had dozens.
Nick is a terrific storyteller. Btw, one of the points he makes about the future is that storytelling was, is, and will forever be important. That's not limited to books or movies, of course. Think of the best teachers you had in school, for example. Mine were all excellent storytellers and that made learning significantly more fun and engaging. It's good to know that certain skills never get old!
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from this insightful book:
Online, the lines between television and newspapers have blurred -- and soon the same will be said about books, movies, TV shows, and more. There is one more wrinkle: Amateur content and professional content are beginning to exist in unison, on the same devices with the same reach.
We're all constantly cutting up content, picking out the best pieces, and passing it along.
Throughout history we have tended to dramatize the death of one form of communication when another is being born.
There was a time in the 1920's when cultural critics feared Americans were losing their ability to swallow a long, thoughtful novel or even a detailed magazine piece. The culprit: Reader's Digest.
In reality, we don't pay for the content; we pay for the experience.
People who make their living telling stories will feel more and more pressure to create experiences that offer multiple layers of content, additional social feedack from a community with shared interests, threaded topics and true interaction. If they don't, they may capture only their audience's partial attention.
Imagine you're reading an article about a new food recipe on your computer at work. When you get home from the office, your television should know that you've read the article and automatically show you video clips of the recipe on this new screen. At the same time, as your phone is in the same room with you, with the flick of a button the television can send the recipe to your mobile phone so that you can pick up ingredients at the grocery store the next day.
He goes on to talk about how devices need to offer more interoperability, so devices know where you are, where you've been and how best to update you from one location to the next. Very cool and not so far off given all the sensors in today's gadgets.
If you're looking for a great read on the future of content and storytelling you'll definitely want to check this one out.