The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future
A Rapid Review
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio | April 2016
Format: Audio Download | 5½ hours | Rating: 4 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Steve Case was on the leading edge of the Internet revolution when he cofounded AOL in 1991. He was an entrepreneur in a business that hadn’t even been invented, yet he saw how significantly his efforts could change not only America, but the world. In The Third Wave, Case uses his insights garnered from nearly four decades of working as an innovator, investor, and businessperson to chart a path for future visionaries.
The book is only partially about the internet; the other half is the story of AOL. Steve weaves his personal stories about his career and the history of America Online with his vision of how the internet evolved and where it is headed in the future. As someone who was involved from the beginning of the internet, he has good insight for both start-ups and existing companies on how to position themselves to succeed.
Steve was influenced by Alvin Toffler’s book of the same title which was written back 1980, well-before the internet existed. In the book, Toffler divides the stages of human development into three waves: agricultural, industrial, and information. We are now in the information age which Steve divides into his own three waves: early internet, ie AOL and dial-up; the app economy, ie Apple and Google; and the third wave, “The Internet of Things.”
While I was expecting this short book to be mostly about the internet, I didn’t mind the inclusion of the inside view of AOL and found it to be interesting listening. I remember when the Time-Warner merger happened, in retrospect a huge mistake and clash of corporate culture, and this appears to be Steve’s explanation of how and why it went wrong.
The narration is performed by the author, and while he does an adequate job, his voice is not as smooth or melodic as a professional reader, and the book suffers from sounding like a speech or lecture after an hour or so. Since the book was only five and a half hours long, I stuck with it because I was enjoying the content. Listen to the sample below to decide for yourself.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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