Summary of Too Big to Know

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Too Big to Know book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


In this skillfully reasoned work, Harvard researcher David Weinberger examines the effect of the Internet on traditional concepts of knowledge and on what it means to be a knowledgeable person. In the online world, messy yet dynamic communities of experts and amateurs discuss and analyze so relentlessly that it is almost impossible to establish a fact or draw a conclusion. Yet science and other fields make unprecedented strides. Will the Internet’s connectivity raise the world’s collective intelligence? Or will wisdom, understanding and true knowing sink to the lowest common denominator? getAbstract highly recommends this scholarly analysis of the evolving shape of knowledge to anyone whose work involves thinking about the flow of information – from librarians to scientists, IT specialists and business strategists.

About the Author

Blogger David Weinberger, co-author of the bestseller, The Cluetrain Manifesto, is a fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.


“The Network of Knowledge”

Until the arrival of the digital age, most people accepted a standard system of knowledge. Students studied subjects, earned credentials to prove their proficiency and became experts. Then they put their knowledge to work conducting research and writing books and articles to share their findings and conclusions. Other specialists vetted their work and deemed it accurate or mistaken. As new discoveries gained acceptance, they joined a body of established knowledge that provided a foundation for further exploration and learning. Throughout history, this system relied on paper to communicate, until the introduction of digital media changed everything. The mere abundance of online information makes it difficult to discern what is true and what is false.

As digital media test beliefs about knowledge, institutions such as universities, libraries and science labs must rethink knowledge’s infrastructure. Questioning long-held assumptions raises fears. These fears manifest as warnings about the Internet, such as “Google is making us stupid,” or “the web gives every nut a platform.” Even as people voice these fears, science moves forward at an unprecedented...

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    L. C. 8 years ago
    It's a very interesting point of view about how the standard system of knowledge has changed since the Internet arrival. The main conclusion is evident: Today’s abundance of data and online information makes it difficult to know what is true and what is false. Even though I think the Internet brings us a big opportunity to learn. I wish the Internet had more educational and cultural filters, but unfortunately most of them work for commercial and economic purposes.
  • Avatar
    W. W. 9 years ago
    Too much fluff. Not enough conclusions.
  • Avatar
    a. A. 9 years ago
    Wonderful read. This one really made me think and left a lasting impression. I read this about a month ago and I still think about the concepts mentioned often.

More on this topic

By the same author

Everything Is Miscellaneous
The Cluetrain Manifesto
Move Fast and Break Things
The Acceleration of Cultural Change
The Learning and Development Handbook
Tech-Powered Sales

Related Channels