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The Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (Book Review of the Week-ish)

“The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson

So, I’m back with another (long overdue) installment of the Tim Peter Thinks “Book Review of the Week-ish.” But I couldn’t have picked a better book to bring back the feature with than Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy,” a fantastic book that highlights what the future will look like and, in many ways, what today already does.

Because, as the William Gibson quote I highlight above so rightly points out, the future already exists. So much of what we’ll take for granted then, someday, exists now, today. Maybe the future exists in only a nascent form. But Scoble and Israel point clearly at what we should expect it to look like.

In case you doubt their ability to do this, remember that Scoble and Israel showed what the future of marketing would look like in their seminal work “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers,” a book written in 2004 that got many things right about our current, content marketing-focused present.

If the book has any flaw, it’s that it’s unapologetically optimistic.

Me? I don’t mind.

But the authors’ enthusiasm for living a public life (in particular Scoble), opens the pair up to attacks of lacking seriousness or critical thinking. In fact, the authors avoid in-depth discussion of recent privacy issues highlighted during the recent NSA/Edward Snowden/Bradley Manning-type scandals until Chapter 12 of the book and even then, gloss over the topic a little more lightly that expected. It’s an unfortunate choice given how passionately many people feel about the issue.

Still, their reticence to tackle so weighty a topic in what is, ostensibly, a business-focused book is understandable (Full disclosure: I have avoided discussing the same topics at any length in my blog posts and podcasts, too).

However, for business leaders and (business book readers), “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy” is required reading. By basing their observations on what exists today, profiling those pushing to make a given future happen—in effect, predicting the present more than the future—Scoble and Israel paint a compelling view of the what your future will look like. I highly recommend giving it a look. You just might like where we’re heading. And, if you don’t, you’ll at least know what to expect.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past book reviews, including:

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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