From RN Future Tense: Hackers revisited

Wired magazine’s Steven Levy says the ‘Hackers’ of the late 20th century set the philosophical base for the digital information age of today — and he says their mind-set will shape our future.

I remember reading an electronic copy of Steven Levy’s Hackers book downloaded to a PDA (I’m pretty sure, if I recall correctly, I had a Psion Series 5 at the time) during my daily commute across Sydney harbour back in the later part of the 1990s. I remember it feeling quite subversive just to be reading an electronic text, while everyone else had their heads stuck in a newspaper! Of course, the beauty of this book is that it challenges the common view of what hacking culture is all about – less about being illegal and more about being collaborative, through open technologies and an open and experimental culture.

In this radio interview with Levy, he comments:

There were so many people who read my book and told me it changed their lives, and this was then a fantastic experience. For me, to see so many people who have read my book saying it had an effect on them.

I’m not sure this book changed my life, but it certainly was very influential. It really must rank along with other books like Cluetrain (which Euan Semple reminded us about in his workshop at Headshift yesterday) and Being Digital as one of the classics of the digital era. BTW It appears that Hackers has recently been re-released as an updated 25th anniversary edition.

PS. What other *classics* of the digital era would you recommend? Feel free to add your suggestions to the comments.