Breakpoint Book Summary - Breakpoint Book explained in key points
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Breakpoint summary

Jeff Stibel

Why the Web will Implode, Search will be Obsolete, and Everything Else you Need to Know about Technology is in Your Brain

3.9 (19 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

Breakpoint by Jeff Stibel is a business book that explores the similarities between the human brain and the Internet. It posits that the future of technology lies in creating systems that can self-organize and adapt, much like our brains do.

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    Networks make the lives of creatures easier and more efficient.

    Do you ever feel like you want to abandon your life and civilization and move to a secluded desert island? Tempted as we are by such thoughts at times, isolation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.   

    After all, species that live in networks, i.e., organized communities characterized by the division of labor and support systems for one another, are much more successful than those that don’t.

    A whopping 99.9 percent of all the species that have ever lived are now extinct, but the ones that have survived  continuously and been the most populous tend to be networking or “social” species, such as bees, ants and humans. And although only a small minority – 3 to 5 percent ­– of all species are social, they play a dominant role across all habitats on land.

    Why are social species so much more successful than those that aren’t? Because the collective intelligence of a network is far greater than an individual’s intelligence.

    In other words, combining our varying skills and abilities clearly works better than going alone.

    Let’s use an analogy: the individual ingredients of a cake – eggs, flour, baking powder, etc. – taste anywhere from average to disgusting on their own. But if you mix them the right way, you create a delicious cake.

    Or consider the ant. Although not the most intelligent of Earth’s creatures – its brain has a mere 250,000 brain cells versus a frog’s 16 million – it can achieve a lot in a network, building complex nests and creating rudimentary agriculture and public health systems.

    Feeling less into the idea of leaving your life behind and going into isolation yet?

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    What is Breakpoint about?

    This book deals with the structure, function and development of networks. Drawing on specific aspects of biological, technical and virtual networks, such as the brain and the internet, the author suggests that these networks, however different they may appear, actually have a lot in common. He believes that if we learn how the organic network of the brain works, we can apply those findings to the internet and make it intelligent.

    Best quote from Breakpoint

    Social networks after the breakpoint are highly successful both in the short term (the life of the network) and the long term (the survival of the species).

    —Jeff Stibel
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    Who should read Breakpoint?

    • Students of biology and computer science
    • Anyone who wants to know where the internet is heading
    • Anyone interested in how the brain works

    About the Author

    Jeff Stibel is a brain scientist and entrepreneur. He is CEO of the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp and currently serves on the boards of the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program and the University of Southern California’s Innovation Institute.

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