Get Your Free Audiobook

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
Written by: Shoshana Zuboff
Narrated by: Nicol Zanzarella
Length: 24 hrs and 16 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

After 30 days, Audible is ₹199/mo. Cancel anytime.

OR

Publisher's Summary

The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism", and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.

In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the 21st century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the 20th. Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets", where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification". The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a "Big Other" operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. Zuboff's comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to 21st-century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit - at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future - if we let it. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Shoshana Zuboff (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"I will make a guarantee: Assuming we survive to tell the tale, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism has a high probability of joining the likes Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Max Weber's Economy and Society as defining social-economics texts of modern times. It is not a 'quick read'; it is to be savored and re-read and discussed with colleagues and friends. No zippy one-liners from me, except to almost literally beg you to read/ingest this book." (Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence)

"My mind is blown on every page by the depth of Shoshana's research, the breadth of her knowledge, the rigor of her intellect, and finally by the power of her arguments. I'm not sure we can end the age of surveillance capitalism without her help, and that's why I believe this is the most important book of our time." (Doc Searls, author of The Intention Economy, editor in chief, Linux Journal)

What listeners say about The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

every social media user should read this

This is a book that every social media user or non users should read. This books just makes you realised that you are being watched all the time. this is a wonderful book. A book both for academics and general public.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brad
  • 08-02-19

A MUST, NOT TO BE MISSED

Something wicked indeed has come this way, and is upon us now. Dubbed early on "The Information Age"; the appellation is woefully insufficient. For it is glaringly clear that we are well into the transition from occupying nation states (in which our social contracts as governed populations had long been between civil governments -- varied in kind, but with the one common feature of thriving entirely on human agency) to occupying corporate states. That is, it is not too soon to say we no longer populate nations but vast ruling corporations. The singular, most curious and even frightening thing to consider is that to the degree we arrived at this predicament, we did so willingly. We did so under no other pressure than our own acquiescence. We did so not from ignorance of what was happening -- for this book is proof of that -- but from, if anything, a mass gaslighting. Thus, with all the facts before us, we chose the road called convenience rather than the road called liberty; and that, as the poet once wrote, made all the difference.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • pk
  • 04-04-19

The intersection of ethics, capitalism, and tech

First, I love to read about ethics issues in technology; so, it may not be immediately apparent that one would be getting a good dose within this title. I was enamored from the beginning of how colorful this author was in producing a tangible and practical view of surveillance capitalism. This is a concept I've heard very little about outside of the security sector. To have the correlation made with other sociological concepts that I hadn't really thought about stretched me! This book was fantastic at opening up and investigating the implications of surveillance with the majority of consumers not truly comprehending and understanding the cost. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that the author goes on, repeatedly and at length, to address the same points multiple times. It was really hard to extract the take-away points at the mid-point of this book because of how often the author hits the same points, using the same language, and the same frustration toward the abuses. If you are not a reader that likes to "work" to obtain the gold nuggets of wisdom, then this is not the book for you. At times, I found myself cursing in traffic because the author repeats herself too much. I have the impression that this author created this book intending that each chapter should be able to stand on it's own. The unifying themes are very evident; so, repeatedly hitting the drum of disdain became painful after the first 8hrs. The editor should have reigned it in! The last point I should make is that there are probably more than 30 important topics for consideration in this book. All of them are worthy of your clock cycles to consider, understand, and discuss with your friends and family. When coupled with some of the other topics I like to read, such as artificial intelligence, I am at no shortage of discussion points to appreciate with a mint julep, a cigar, and a friend on the porch for at least 2 summers....but, I'll do it without my phone, or sensors of any type, nearby.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • 28-04-19

One of the most important books of the decade

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that this is one of the most important books in recent years. It lays out the case for a brand new type of capitalism that we are simply not equipped to grasp the short term, and long term, consequences of, and that affects us all in profound ways. And that's why I gave it 5 stars. However, that recommendation comes with a huge caveat. The author seems to take joy in writing in a style that seems more apt for a doctoral thesis in psychology. A book written by an Ivy League professor for other Ivy League professors. This verbiage is wholly unnecessary and borders on obnoxious. Take for example a sentence like this: "This mental and emotional milieu appears to produce a virus of insecurity and anxiety that drives a young person deeper into this closed loop of escalating compulsion as he or she chases relief in longed-for signals of valorization." Or how about this sentence: "It is a form of observation without witness that yields the obverse of an intimate violent political religion and bears an utterly different signature of havoc: the remote and abstracted contempt of impenetrably complex systems and the interests that author them, carrying individuals on a fast-moving current to the fulfillment of others’ ends." Make no mistake. This book is remarkably researched and thorough. The points it makes are exceedingly compelling and it contains information that everyone in this age needs to know. However, this book needs a complete re-write by someone more capable of communicating with a more broad audience. One shouldn't have to fight thought the unnecessarily complex sentence structures and pedantic language in order to digest the amazingly necessary message this book tells.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • South Florida MBA
  • 14-07-19

Book Editors failed to trim the word count

A great topic, with a author that can explain it well ....making a convincing argument for regulation of corporate and goverment use of citizens personal data. However, the book editors were asleep at the wheel esecially in the second half of the book where the editors must have just thrown in the towel and moved on to the next book ..... I can not imagine how excesssively wordy this book was before the final edit?? ..... this is a 6 hour story .... that wanders aimlessely between excess and irrelevant details while trying to make a very concise point. It reads like the book was written by an author who has spent a career in academia and government, written like she felt that she was preaching from a pulpit of what she believes will be the legistlative bible on consumer data of the modern economy ..... she even invents some of her own proprietary phrases ....with little regard for reader's time, not many business readers will finish this 24 hour sermon ..... 18 hours of dramatic soap box preaching and excess detail around its 6 hours of unbiased actionable information. By the end of book you will want to strangle Shoshana each time you hear the narrator drone on with: 1. ubiquitous 2. modernity 3. instrumentarian 4. conceptual 5. who decides-who decides 6. unprecendented 7. dispossession 8. personal autonomy 9. inalienable right to the future tense 10. survelliance capitalists 11. neoliberal 12. collectivist orientation 13. facsist 14. any and all 15. human freedom 16. hierarchical complexities 17. radical indifference 18 organism among organisms 19. radical indifference 20. data surplus 21. existential 22. equivalance without equality

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • 18-04-19

This should be required reading

While this book seems almost excessively long, I feel the information is soo important for the times we live in. The way data is being collected and sold with no one held accountable is disheartening to say the least. If we do nothing to stop it we are basically giving up our freedom to choose and even our rights as we become a sum of data collected defining who we are to the powers that be. They can then use the data to manipulate our behavior or deny certain privileges. I don't like living in fear but this book can cause paranoia knowing the current truth. I hope enough people learn this information and we can turn technology into a positive tool instead of a tool used to spy and manipulate.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erik Kobayashi-solomon
  • 20-04-19

Erudite and important

I had originally expected much more mechanical account of the way in which Google and Facebook, and later Microsoft, learned to use data to craft advertising messages. Instead, the book turned out to be a thoughtful and philosophical work that reminded me in ambition to Thomas Pikkety's work and in content to the writing of Hannah Arendt. This is an important work that I desperately hope will catch the attention of policy makers and prompt an international framework of privacy and personal rights laws.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amy B.
  • 22-04-19

Good information - way too verbose

This book has so much good information, but it really needs a good editor. There was way too much repetition and the episodic flowery prose was distracting. This book is good, but it needs to be shorter and less of a burden to listen to.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • spores
  • 13-07-19

Very important topic but poorly constructed

This book discusses an incredibly important but often under-discussed topic. However, the importance of the topic and the message itself gets lost by the seeming insecurity of the writer. This book seems to be intently written to make the author sound overly intelligent and erudite. Instead of using common language and prose the author drones on with long-winded sentences and obscure phrases that are highly unnecessary. I would love to see this book rewritten by someone who is interested in conveying a reasonable message and not interested in overcompensating...

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • 28-05-19

Horrendously Rhetorical

The basic ideas in this are interesting, but the author writes with such thick rhetoric from a specific ideological position that she makes those ideas unnecessarily overcomplicated. It comes across as an author writing more for herself and glorification of her own intellectualism than as someone attempting to communicate an idea. Terrible.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 05-06-19

The most important book of our era

Am I qualified to say this is the most important book of our era? No. However, I feel it may be, and I am not alone. Reading this book reshaped my world through a meticulously researched and expertly crafted deconstruction of our present. I was expecting a good read about the state of technology, and this book certainly delivered on that end, but I also got a pill that sucked me out of the matrix, or in this case, the hive. My world is transformed from read this text, and I’ve become an unbearable nag to everyone around me, imploring them to read The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and join me outside of the hive. It’s cold and scary out here, but there’s no turning back.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Apple Smith
  • 26-04-19

Had so badly wanted to like it

My being fresh from lapping up Yuval Noah Harari’s gripping trilogy (read by the engaging Derek Perkins), I was keen to dig deeper into similar writings on the seeming inevitability of capitalism and its effect on modern society. Following the recommendations of friends, the London Review of Books, and Audible itself, I searched for Zuboff’s book. The audio sample sounded good and I was confident of a rewarding purchase. Regrettably the writing is much heavier going than the sample suggests (peppered with hifalutin terms & unhelpfully pretentious metaphors) and, each time I try to pick it up again, Zanzarella’s vocal performance leaves me *exhausted* after just ten minutes. Finishing it has been a labour of love: the overall presentation feels oppressively self-conscious, thanks to a combination of overly earnest Writing with overly earnest Reading. Meticulously researched & timed, but sadly scuppered by its poor delivery as compared with that of similar productions like Harari-Perkins & Piketty-Ganser, or some of my favourite readers (Joanna David, Ruth Golding, etc).

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr E.
  • 25-10-19

Great, important and meticulously crafted book.

I nearly didn’t read/listen to this because reviews suggested it was too long, poorly narrated and overly wordy and dense..... However I am glad that I ignored the negative reviews which I believe are totally unfounded (apart from the narration - but see final paragraph below re this). It is an extraordinary work and v timely. From amid the fog of a new and sinisterly intangible assault on human values Zuboff calls out the villains and their activities and challenges us to wake up to what is at stake. I think this is a must read and a call to action for anyone who cares about the freedom of the individual and the fundamental sanctity of lived experience uncollated by ‘big other’. One small but significant detail ..... I listened to it on 2x speed which simultaneously halved the listening time and solved the excessively ponderous narration. Normally I do 1.75x but in this case 2x was perfect. (Hence 3 stars for performance).

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-10-19

Good, but not great for audiobook

while an interesting book, it doesn't do well as an audiobook. it's much too heavy to read, and doesn't easily carry between listening sessions.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 30-06-19

Fascinating and terrifying, but robotic performance and very long.

Very thorough, and thought provoking, it changed my view of how and why we use the internet. It uses complex language at times, I felt I couldn’t be distracted while listening to it. Performance is very dry.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • ayman
  • 14-05-19

Good points but sooooo long book

I understand the point the author wants to make and the effort made but the book could be summarized and shorten to half

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Jeremy J Osborn
  • 01-10-20

Please think about what might be happening

Of course this book is written from a perspective. You may not agree and Zuboff lays it on thick. Bit there is no smoke without fire and just making you aware of what might be happening is good. Democracy is under attack. The same old, same old cannot continue either but if the control of YOU by the means discussed in this book only goes ahead partly, then it will be the new "robber barons" that will determine what you eat, say and do all without you really knowing. We are already seeing reaction against being told to wear masks, safe distance, stay at home. That is visible and tangible but what happens when you don't know about the manipulation of thoughts and ideas through echo chambers led by trolls?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ido
  • 13-09-20

Important read/listen to anyone want to be informed

This book is long and did made me a bit tired at times, but it is structured well to explain the current state of things that are not clear at first glance. This book pushed me to read and search for many more topics of surveillance capitalism.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Cummings
  • 30-08-20

Bloated but brilliant

This book grabs the signs of the times and contains multitude of astute observations which form a sort of armour against the normalising of invasive forms of capitaliam. It's struggles only from a want of editing and the over reputation of its metaphors. I look forward to the abridged version.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 18-08-20

very infornarive and comprehensive however sometie

very comrehensive however sometimes too repetitive and lenghtly so you get similar statements reappearing too many times imho

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 26-07-20

informative and predictive.

This book gives a detailed history of the technologies which are now an integral part of society. The predictions of a dystopian future put forth present a call for revolutionary action before the human condition is distilled into nothing more than data.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Khalek
  • 25-10-20

Futurists meet realists

An informative perspective of the prevelance of Big Other and our ability to adapt as a society to the challenger to the traditional capitalistic and democratic forms

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alessio
  • 30-07-20

Ambitious, overwhelming, and ever more essential

Zuboff tackles some of the biggest questions of our time: “Who knows? Who decides? Who decides who decides?” This book is an ambitious and essential examination of a new form of power, surveillance capitalism, and its impact on the individual and society. Deeply introspective, it examines the virtuous and vicious cycle of data gathering, processing, and implementation in the mass influence of behaviour. The book is dense, and sometimes overwhelming. It presents substantive philosophical, subjective, political and sociological perspectives on the impact of hyper scale tech companies on the world. It is not a cost/benefit analysis of these entities, but rather a deep examination of their nature and impact. For anyone struggling to come to terms with the bigger meaning of social media, targeted advertising, big data, power and democracy and their interlink, this is a thoughtful and compelling piece to explore. For everyone else, it’s essential reading.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-20

Really hard listening

This book was a lost opportunity to get an important message communicated effectively. Written by an academic it was heavy on obtuse terminology. Not a book for anyone wanting surveillance capital reported in layman’s terms. Invest your time wisely and do some research before purchasing this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Petra Bueskens
  • 21-02-20

Brilliant

Sociological analysis of this depth and magnitude is unheard of for precisely the reasons Zuboff lays out: surveillance capitalism captures our attention and robs us of the privacy necessary for deep contemplation and reflection. With the confluence of surveillance and neoliberalism, very few academics have the time (or attention span) for work of this calibre or depth. It’s is a profound, multi-levelled analysis of the largely invisible social and economic structure of digital capitalism. The stand out finding that human life has become a new frontier of raw material to be mined and sold, and our actions — from the individual through to the societal — are being captured, recorded, nudged, herded, conditioned and sold as “behavioural surplus” is brilliant, comprehensive and deeply disturbing. This book is not simply an illumination of the status quo but a call to arms. It’s impossible to not be moved by it. We should all be grateful for this book. It is a feat of the very “will to will” Zuboff so clearly shows to be under threat.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Geoffrey R. Folland
  • 18-02-20

Clear & compelling

Zuboff does a great job of recounting the history that led to the rise of Google & Facebook, etc. she clearly identifies the underlying issues & threats related to this new form of power using simple examples that illustrate the point. Her use of newly coined (or self coined) terms makes it important to pay attention to their early definition, but new experiences demand new terms. I was somewhat surprised by her pervasive use of theological terms (eg God-view, free will, sanctuary, utopia etc.) but realised that she does not have a theological view in mind. In fact, I would say that this is the weakness in her work - she has an understanding of human nature that fails to grasp the richness & power of Christian anthropology (biblical view of personhood). Her argument would be enriched by comparing her concepts of, for example, policy & human contract with the biblical tension between law & grace. Still, this excellent book sounds a clear warning and provides enough insight to suggest a clear way forward in the resistance against unrestrained forces of power.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Milorad Mrvic
  • 13-09-19

Ferociously intelligent and eloquent

Could this book be more relevant in our times? The path towards instrumentarism, read totalitarianism, revealed and forwarned. Brilliant dismantling of the capitalism we live in. The only criticism is of the underlying belief in democracy propped by state intervention which would reign in the existing capitalism. No it wouldn't. Capitalism needs to be replaced by an egalitarian, just, equitable, and compassionate social order if the organised human existence is to sustain.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rainer
  • 01-09-19

Great listen

Very profound analysis of the depth in which internet firms and social networks profit from our data , undermine democracy and manipulate our lives. The narration is also great. I enjoyed the book, eagerly awaiting each new chapter.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 26-05-19

Important, must read!

Very disconcerting, a call to action not resignation. Well written and clearly articulated. Will listen again and recommend to friends

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Professor Neville Rochow SC
  • 19-05-19

This is essential reading.

This is the modern digital equivalent of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Beautiful writing combined with careful research it outlines all that needs to be known regarding threats to our humanity posed by the digital age masters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. D. Bourges
  • 06-05-19

Really amazing book but...

Really amazing book but there's a lack of understanding of a Marxist materialist point of view of the problem. Lot of quotes to post modern cafe intellectuals like Hanna Harendt and people that live on academia more than real life. The conclusions are just wrong. 99% of the book is a master piece. Thanks to the writer for starting the process. I admire her work deeply