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Battelle, J. [2005] The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Boston.

What an excellent book. Do not be fooled into thinking that it is simply the rise of Google, or even a history of search. It is a mini-history of the development of the commercial web. A mix of strategy and the tactics used to achieve them, it is not a technical journal [a good thing] nor a list of business paradigms [an equally good thing].

Battelle's journalistic experiences shine throughout the text. Not only in his knowledge of the subject he has reported on for a number of years, but in his ability to produce a highly readable text - I actually read it whilst on holiday! It is light years away from the more formal presentation of so many of the academic texts on e-commerce and e-marketing.

Although there is an element of 'name-dropping' in most chapters, in context they are quite acceptable in that they serve to add to the validity of the information being presented. Academic texts are often rated by the references they include - in 'the Search' the names that are dropped are the references.

If I have a concern it is this. I have been involved in e-commerce as both participant and observer since 1996 and so I understand the terminology, recognise the participants and remember significant events. Will newcomers to the discipline - without this background knowledge - find the book less interesting or readable?

This page was first published on this domain in March 2018 ... but it was on for some years before that.

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