'You are not a Gadget - A Manifesto' by Jaron Lanier is a series of ideas about how the internet affects our world.
Jaron Lanier is an interesting guy. He worked with the guys that started the internet. He coined the term 'Virtual Reality'. He is mainly self taught and has established himself as a modern philosopher, as well as a critic of the modern web.
There are a few main ideas that are covered in the book that I find interesting.
He claims that due to internet ideologies we have created a model that allows no creative people to make money on the web. This is interesting idea that is so obvious but yet no-one really mentions it since it is so ingrained into our psyches. Its a shame though because it means that culture is assumed to be free and anything that anyone creates should be given away. Both the music industry and journalism has been badly affected by this attitude. So, now spotify is the norm and artists will need to tour like mad to make a decent wage. Check out this graphic showing revenues from different online music stores:
also this is an interesting read from a musician:
Jaron also claims that Facebook other social websites are sorely lacking and are mainly set up as a database for personal data rather than a real social interaction facility. I think that this is a good assessment. The fact that you are pretty much building your own wall rather than opening meaningful discussions with groups of people is relevant. Also, reducing peoples personalities down to a series of sound-bites on a board creates quite a limiting view of people.
There were many interesting ideas in the book and its well worth having a look, especially to give a different perspective to the consensus on the internet at the moment.
I also thought I'd mention, hes a pretty strange dude.