The Cult of the Amateur

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The Cult of the Amateur  
File:The Cult of the Amateur.gif
US cover
Author Andrew Keen
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Internet, Web 2.0
Genre(s) Non-fiction
Publisher Currency
Publication date June 5, 2007
Pages 228 pp
ISBN 0385520808
OCLC Number 78774488

The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture (ISBN 0385520808) is a 2007 book written by entrepreneur and Internet critic Andrew Keen. Published by Currency, Keen's first book is a critique of the enthusiasm surrounding user generated content, peer production, and other Web 2.0-related phenomena.[1]

The book was written after Keen wrote a controversial essay in The Weekly Standard criticizing Web 2.0 for being similar to Marxism, for destroying professionalism and for making it impossible to find high quality material amidst all the user-generated web content.[1][2][3] The book was based in part on that essay.[1]


Reviews and reception

The book received mixed reviews. Some traditional sources such as the New York Times gave the book positive or neutral reviews while the book, not surprisingly, received generally negative reactions from bloggers.[1][4]

The New York Times called the book "a shrewdly argued jeremiad" and said that the book "is eloquent on the fallout that free, user-generated materials is having on traditional media."[1]

Lawrence Lessig, who was criticized in both the original essay and in the book, wrote an extremely negative review of the book in which he listed what he stated were a multitude of errors in the book including mischaracterizations of Lessig's views and work.[5] Lessig also set-up a wiki where users could collaborate in listing problems with the book.[5][6]

Larry Sanger, the founder of the expert-centered wiki Citizendium, gave the book a mixed review. Sanger said that "The book is provocative, but its argument is unfortunately weakened by the fact that Keen is so over-the-top and presents more of a caricature of a position than carefully-reasoned discourse." Sanger stated that the book "combines several different criticisms of Web 2.0, incoherently, under the rubric of `the cult of the amateur'" but the book "is a much-needed Web 2.0 reality check".[7]

Jarvis-Keen debate

Jeff Jarvis, who had previously called the original essay in The Weekly Standard "," was challenged to a debate over Web 2.0 issues.[8][9] Jarvis held a discussion on his blog about whether he should debate Keen and then decided to accept the offer.[3][9]


  1. The great seduction
  2. The noble amateur
  3. Truth and lies
  4. The day the music died, side A
  5. The day the music died, side B
  6. Moral disorder
  7. 1984, version 2.0
  8. Solutions.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Kakutani, Michiko (2007-06-29). "The Cult of the Amateur". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  2. Keen, Andrew (2006-02-15). "Web 2.0: The second generation of the Internet has arrived. It's worse than you think". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Amateur Internet". Reutersl. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-08-20.  (update)
  4. Auchard, Eric (2007-06-05). "‘Amateur' charge infuriates blogosphere". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lessig, Larry (2007-05-31). "Keen's "The Cult of the Amateur": BRILLIANT!". Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  6. "TheKeenReader". (Larry Lessig). Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  7. Sanger, Larry (2007-07-17). "Review of Keen’s “Cult of the Amateur”". Citizendium Blog. Citizendium. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  8. Jarvis, Jeff (2006-02-18). "". BuzzMachine. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Jarvis, Jeff (2007-05-10). "Your advice: Should I debate?". BuzzMachine. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 

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