98. The Four by Scott Galloway

Here we go with the first Business/Non-fiction book review of the 2019 called The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway.

One of the main reasons I was drawn to this book is how recently it was published and the fact that it wasn’t an ice-cream frosting/angelic description of all the 4 main companies that have taken the world by storm (and tons of data breaches).

I won’t lie and say I was blown away or claim that I knew about the “bad practises” these companies have adopted, however I do want to say that the page count, exaggerative metaphors and the rant-like- narration could be less.

It put me off.

There is one thing to compare something as satanic and whole another thing to have it declared, implicitly or explicitly as a derivative of Satan.

But, the guy knows what he is talking about!

Summary:

The book goes into detail about how our lives are becoming dominated by the 4 companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google) that an apocalypse could occur if one of them happened to vanish some day.

“People who received a great deal of attention for their looks at a young age are more likely to opt for cosmetic procedures when older. It’s the same in business.”

 But before the author explains how the end of world can be avoided, he details the history of all the companies one by one. The various business strategies they’ve used, the competitors they’ve crushed or bought, and their bad business practises.

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity,” said Coco Chanel.”

He compares these 4 technology giants to the 4 four horsemen who’ve been dominating globally for well over a decade now. Comparing Apple to a religious cult, Amazon; to our ancient instinct of hunting and gathering aka desires and hoarding, Galloway doesn’t hold back!

“Amazon is building the most robust logistics infrastructure in history. If you’re like me, this can only leave you in awe: I can’t even make sure I have Gatorade in the fridge when I need it.”

Similarly, equating Google to a “Modern God” and Facebook to the most successful thing happened to mankind, the information mentioned isn’t something we’ve all haven’t heard before. But it paints these Tech giants in a different light.

“Three platforms: Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Registering, iterating, and monetizing its audience is the heart of each platform’s business. It’s what the most valuable man-made things ever created (their algorithms) are designed to do.”

Then he goes on to explain how these companies have been lying to us and hiding their profits. By reducing the number of jobs for the sake of “automation and innovation” they’ve laid off more people and increased unemployment.

However, that is not all.

Despite each company disrupting in their own domain, there still is space for another horsemen to join this all exclusive club which can either be Alibaba, Tesla, Uber, Airbnb and a few more.

“What’s clear is that we need business leaders who envision, and enact, a future with more jobs—not billionaires who want the government to fund, with taxes they avoid, social programs for people to sit on their couches and watch Netflix all day. Jeff, show some real fucking vision.”

All in all, this book comes packed with information that will have you thinking for days and sceptical about the future.

“Entrepreneurs are usually enamored with the preciousness of their product vs. something that can scale.”

 Review:

Like I mentioned before starting the summary, this book seems like a rant by someone who can’t seem to stomach other people’s success if you happen to adore/worship any one of the companies he goes on to undress and bash.

Sure, he makes some very valid points but exaggerated at the same time.

The information that he is providing isn’t anything new or whistleblower material that’ll have your ears perk up. I was surprised to learn about Amazon, especially the part where the Bezos owns Boeing 767s also known as Amazon Air.

But the fact that made me concerned is how all these companies have killed jobs rather than produce more. It’s like the “above the poverty line” is becoming harder and harder to cross for people all over the world and no Government or organization is regulating them aggressively enough.

I will say though, he gives career advice right in the end which is pretty up front and honest, that can be followed.

Onto the basics:

  1. Rating: 3.5/5.0
  1. Favorite quote: “Expect that a certain amount of failure is out of your control, and recognize you may need to endure it or move on.”
  2. Reader level: Fairly easy.
  3. Should you read: Read this book if you need a hard reality check. Skip it if you consider “Ignorance a bliss” which comes with a cost.
  4. Would I read it again: I might.

Till next time,

-Sarah

 

 

 

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