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Publisher's Summary

Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media, where the most important battles are now only a click away.

Through the weaponization of social media, the Internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the Internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones.

P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, Internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?

Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world.

©2018 P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about LikeWar

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Good Information Ruined by Whining Political Bias

I had high hopes for this book. I attended a speaking engagement by Peter Singer and found him to be intelligent, engaging, and relevant. My colleagues shared that impression, a tough one to win in a room full of graduate degree holding professionals. He mentioned this book and his fiction work and I eagerly read both. I should have skipped this one. I'll be telling my colleagues to do the same.

The authors spend the first third or so of this book talking about the history of the internet and then lead this conversation into the history of its manipulation. Unfortunately though, that is where the book falls off a cliff and dies. Thereafter, they take every opportunity to bash Donald Trump as businessman, candidate, and President. The insults and innuendo came so heavily that there or times when you can't get more than 5 pages without Trump being again insulted. Other times, the authors mention Trump more times in one page than they do the internet itself. Paramount among the childish attacks are the multiple times where the authors take the opportunity to mention Russians or death squads or rogue nations in the same sentence as Trump. The intent is clear. They hate Trump, got it. I kept waiting for them to get back on topic, but it never happened.

I'm neither a Trump fan nor a Trump hater, but the childish vitriol the authors pour on President Trump makes me think this book was the result of a brainstorming session on how to get their Trump hatred into book form without telling readers anything about that plan on the jacket.

This book is an absolute shame and it destroyed the respect I had for Peter Singer. Had the authors limited the criticism of the President to a few barbs or even a few outright vilifications, I could have accepted it. Instead, they lashed out like whiny children who had their toys taken away - for over half the book! The intellectual and literary value these men had to offer was blunted by their inability to comport themselves like adults. The remainder of their bodies of work are tainted by their willingness to devalue this work in order to promote their political biases.

TLDR: Whiny authors ruin good content by spending most of the book bashing Trump.

18 people found this helpful

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Deep analysis of the Social Media revolution

The beginning third of the book is a historical summary of the internet. The second is a detailed series of events shaped through social media. The third is how policy and social media are failing. The conclusion made the entire book worth it, great analogies and assessments to quickly summarize the lessons learned through the text. My favorite approximate quote, “censoring our own content is akin to covering our mouths while we cough, it is to protect others and not ourselves.” We need a cultural responsibility adjustment.

6 people found this helpful

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A dismal dystopian future, only it’s happening now

Extraordinarily well written, researched, and sourced. Despite it’s clear anti-Trump bias, it’s mostly focused on facts surrounding not only Russian interference in the 2016 election, but in the rise of real-world brutality born online.

The only true criticism I have is that after 11 hours of “the world is falling to a chaotic and nearly unstoppable force”, there is only 38 minutes of “here is a tenable solution”. Overall well done, if not depressing.

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Leftist skewed

left leaning....you would think with a PHD you could hide it better....but you did work with Obama

4 people found this helpful

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This book is overly political.

This book offers good insight into how social media is used to spark controversy. My biggest gripe is that it leans heavily in the direction of supporting leftist ideas.

I only recommend chapters 1 & 2. The rest of the book is littered with “right-wing this and right-wing that” making it hard to read and/or listen to. It seems like the authors’ initial intent of the book was tarnished by their desire to voice their political leanings.

3 people found this helpful

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Ruined by political bias

Could have been a really good book. Very intriguing information completely ruined by a clear political bias.

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.

it's an interesting topic but the author sees russia under every bed and in every closet

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Cohesive primer to the info environment

Singer has established a modern history as history is being written every day. A short, yet comprehensive, view of the history and makings of the modern information environment, this is an excellent starting point for any who seek to establish a better understanding of where we are and where we are heading as humans. It is well researched and the notes are a good example of his call to “lateral thinking” whereby multiple sources are checked against each other in a hunt for the truth.

The flow is somewhat like the origins and evolution of the information environment. It happens in fits and starts, with some elements not becoming important until much later and understanding of impact may be murky at first. Regardless if intention, positive or benign, Singer does an excellent job in laying out, in specific and recent examples, the ways that this environment is much like the physical (an inexorably linked to it) universe. It’s dangerous and multifaceted with elements that can be used for good or ill.

Singer posits 5 fundamental rules that simplify his analysis. His short list of recommendations are simple and achievable, although they require concerted effort of many people and organizations.

At the foundational level we are dealing with the problems of context and perception. Singer adroitly incorporates two ancient parables of the blind men and the elephant and Plato’s “prisoner” thought experiment. Perception is your own reality, until new information is incorporated and at the core of that is the fact that humans are emotional beings, less rational/logical than we like to think.

This book is a fine starting point for understanding the massive forces around us and the role of technology and what it means to be human in this day and age.

1 person found this helpful

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Great read, very informative and well crafted.

LikeWar is a significant achievement of research into social media operations in the information environment. I would recommend this book for all who are interested in understanding how social media and modern communications technologies are impacting the global security environment.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K
  • 02-01-21

lot of good material, but clearly liberally biased

if the author was not obsessed with trump, radical right, and the "nazi symbol" pepe the frog, it would he 5 star book. it is a bad sign when a reader quickly realizes author's political positions. secular liberal atheist, naivelly sympathizing with Muslims.
other than that, there's substantial amount of material to make you think and learn a thing or two.
Russian information war is not about trump, but about radicalizing left AND right. likewise, russian information war did not stop with trump's election (because it was not the end, only means to an end). the end is civil war. and if book ignores russian efforts to fuel radical left, then it may as well ironically be helping russian bots

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 02-12-19

Great Book. Average Narration

A highly recommend and insightful text. But please get someone else to voice it. Cadence and intonation make this really hard to follow.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-31-21

good book, strange narration

the narrator made this hard to listen to. He apparently doesn't know the difference between a comma and a period and it can be make for a very confusing experience.

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  • N PAVLIDIS
  • 07-05-20

fantastic book

A must read in today's age of social networking warfare. politics war and social networking under a microscope.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-22-21

Social medias impact on society

Important lessons around social media and its impact on society/poltics today. Needs to be taught in schools.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-20

Historically valuable but politically biased.

This book had a very detailed and comprehensive review of information history and conflict in the last 100 or so years, I found this to be a very good guide for my own research.

The authors had clear political bias, and got some key facts wrong about certain politically charged events surrounding the 2016 U.S political election, and the broader state of public opinion and politics around the same time. The authors were hyper critical of Trump (whilst somehow convincing me Trump is a genius) and would always pose examples of extremist right-wing groups, but never bothered to balance it out with examples of extreme left wing groups, or Clinton. That's not to say that what was being said wasn't necessarily true, but it certainly lacked intellectual integrity.

This book is worth reading, but take anything politically related with a grain of salt.