Book Reviews

Book Reviews


Book Review: The Age of Speed, by Vince Poscente


By Stephen Northcutt

I notice that most of the reviews of Vince Poscente's book are positive and am surprised that I have such a different view. Based on the strong reviews on Amazon and blogs such as this one, "Take time to read Vince Poscente's THE AGE OF SPEED, especially if you don't think you could possibly find time to read one more thing. Vince writes for us, the have it all, do it all, stay connected to it all, generation. Since he knows his audience well, the book is a quick read".[1] I picked this as my latest airplane read coming back from teaching Management 512, SANS Security Leadership Essentials at Network Security 2007 in Las Vegas. The book is divided into 36 short essays that are usually about two pages long. A lot of the material is redundant. The author has a fairly anti-blackberry bias, which is becomming common.[3,4] I can certainly understand that, though my iPhone has been a real advantage to me in achieving speed.[5]

Poscente creates an easy to memorize taxonomy of people and businesses: Zeppelins that can't achieve speed; balloons that don't have to; bottle rockets, fast, but misguided; and jets, which is what we want to be. It was a good start, but should have been developed more.

The book does preach against multi-tasking, something we are starting to see more of, and those are valuable thoughts to consider. I am personally not planning to give up multitasking up at this point, everything in moderation seems to be the key.[6,7]

My favorite essay was from the author's personal experience, racing across a tightrope, I would have loved to have seen that. He talks about a ski team that uses a tightrope as part of their training; at first they all look down and then fall off the rope, but then they learn to pick a distant point and start racing across the tightrope.

The bottom line, mildly entertaining, the author has lead an interesting life; but, the book will not help you go faster or do more, and the time spent reading it is better invested trying a different book.

All URLs accessed October 1, 2007
1. http://msspnexus.blogs.com/mspblog/2007/08/the-age-of-spee.html
2. http://www.sans.org/training/description.php?mid=62
3. http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2006/10/18/blackberrys-are-anti-social-menaces
4. http://www.boston.com/jobs/news/articles/2007/06/03/keeping_work_where_it_belongs/
5. http://gdgrifflaw.typepad.com/home_office_lawyer/2007/09/posting-with-ip.html
6. http://lifehacker.com/software/multitasking/does-multitasking-make-you-more-productive-248603.php
7. http://www.inc.com/magazine/20070201/column-freedman.html