An Army of Davids, by Glenn Reynolds

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod . . . .
–Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”

Musicians don’t need studios. Writers don’t need newspapers. Car bombers don’t need generals. The little guy (“David”) is taking over from Mr. Big (“Goliath”).

There–you’ve read the book. There are some new things here, at least for me. I knew about the ease of writing on blogs without the intermediary of editors, newspapers, or magazines; but I hadn’t really thought about the way that musicians can now mix and record their work without renting an expensive studio (so why did that screechy Irish street musician have to take out a loan in Once?)–and even distribute it at low cost. The economies of scale that made the Industrial Revolution inevitable are no match for the laptop and the Internet. The book was written in 2006, before many of us were forced into entrepreneurship; look at the bright side–it’s not the “gig economy,” it’s the “free agent economy”!

There’s no company health plan for the solo. Reynolds lets on that his wife has a heart ailment, so his libertarian love of small government from time to time yields to a pang for a national health service. But that way madness lies.

Reynolds takes a funny turn halfway through and spends his time on technical subjects that don’t really fit the title or the first half of the book–space exploration, nanotechnology, anti-ageing dreams. You can hear him straining to shove these matters into the Davidian frame, but he breaks a harp string or two in process.

The book is not elegantly written and could almost be laid out in PowerPoint.

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