The Know It Alls

Pages: 288
Subject: Business
Imprint: Oneworld

The Know It Alls

The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

Noam Cohen

The remarkable successes and unforgiveable failures of the world's leading innovators

9781786073679 (4 Jan 2018)
RRP £18.99

The Book

The Beginning: a Stanford University lab embarked on an idealistic quest to create an artificial intelligence that would benefit society, perhaps even profit the makers. There were few women or minorities in the department and its head rejected the very idea of authority, but really - what could go wrong?

Now: more and more aspects of our lives are being dictated by a tiny, unaccountable elite, a breakaway sect of free-market libertarians who are determined to bypass government and enrich themselves at the expense of society.

Told through its eleven greatest pioneers, The Know It Alls is the first full history of Silicon Valley and a damning critique of the greed, bias and prejudice of an industry that is fracturing America and taking the rest of us with it.

Additional Information

Subject Business
Pages 288
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Noam Cohen wrote the Link-by-Link column in the New York Times from 2007-15, reporting on Wikipedia, Twitter, Bitcoin, ad blockers and other disruptive technologies. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.


‘Individualism is a big part of what makes America great - until it becomes a euphemism for selfishness and arrogance among lucky winners who prefer to believe that luck and other people had nothing to do with their success. The Know It Alls is a terrific case study of some of the unreckoned costs of the digital revolution, and how one piece of the American idea threatens to overwhelm the others.'

- Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire

‘An enlightening breakdown of how Silicon Valley billionaires have shifted popular discourse in their favour.'

- Kirkus

‘Noam Cohen's The Know It Alls provides a provocative and illuminating examination of Silicon Valley. Using profiles of its core digital capitalist giants and the immense political, economic and cultural power they have quickly come to possess, Cohen raises troubling questions about how this can possibly square with a fair, decent, humane, and democratic society. This immensely readable book should be mandatory reading.'

- Robert W. McChesney, author of Digital Disconnect

‘A fascinating intellectual profile of the people who have increasingly come to rule our world. With precision and skill, Noam Cohen tweaks the pretensions of a handful of tech oligarchs, whose self-styled project to better our lives results in little more than a power grab at our economy and our democracy. As America's centre of gravity inexorably shifts to Silicon Valley, and the original vision of a decentralized Internet of personal expression gets drowned in a sea of commerce and advertising, I'll be turning to Cohen's insights into the profiteers responsible again and again.'

- David Dayen, author of Chain of Title