Hank Green’s A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is the sequel to <a href=”https://www.jonathansimeone.com/2021/05/09/reviewing-an-absolutely-remarkable-thing/”An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.”> As with An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, I enjoyed reading A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor.
If you’re going to read An Absolutely Remarkable thing, stop reading now.
At the outset of A Beautifully Foolish endeavor, Andy, Miranda, Robin, and most importantly Myah are still trying to find themselves. In one way or another, April is casting a shadow over all of their lives. They can’t figure out how to best move on without her, or if they should let her go.
Early in the book, Andy and Myah both receive mysterious books with specific instructions regarding things they should do. Surprised by the books but needing guidance, they each begin following their individual instructions. Without their knowledge, dozens of others are getting books with their individual instructions. Carl, an entity from another planet, is working to save humanity through humans it believes can play specific roles.
While Carl is working to save humanity, his brother considers Carl a failure and is working to control humanity. With the help of Peter and others who are more interested in wealth and power than the good of society or its future, Carl’s brother invents and begins selling the public on a revolutionary mind-altering experience that promises to change the world. As with all revolutionary technologies, this one could be used to make a positive difference. In the wrong hands, though, it begins destroying much of what is good in the world in exchange for corporate profits.
Watching the world fall apart, Carl, April, and the gang must defeat Carl’s brother and stop the new technology.
Reading these books in an era where big tech is allowing a few people to take ever more control over many aspects of our lives did, as Green intended, encourage me to consider big tech’s place in our society. While none of the tech companies of today has the power imagined by the company in A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, there is no question the largest tech companies have way too much power, there power is growing too fast, they are each gaining a foothold in too many aspects of our lives, and we are doing nothing to stop or limit the threat they pose.
The old expression absolute power absolutely corrupts is very true. Big tech, while it has made our lives easier in many ways, is a rot on society. It concentrates way too much power in the hands of way too few people. It encourages those few powerful people to get as rich as they can at the expense of us as individuals and our society as a whole. If government doesn’t seriously regulate big tech and ensure that no company has too much power in too many sectors of the economy, many of the problems plaguing society will be made much worse. Instead of confronting the challenges caused by big tech, politicians seem more interested in figuring out how the power of big tech can be used to censor public debate and promote propaganda politicians can use to more easily control the people.
If people can’t figure out how to limit the role big tech plays in our individual lives, big tech with the support of their bribed politicians will someday make the dreams of a more equitable society based around principals of honesty, integrity, and fairness truly impossible.
I understand that sounds alarmist, but read how the Biden administration and basically every Democrat is more interested in censoring us than limiting the ways big tech controls our data and limits our options.