Thanks to an early copy (full disclosure: provided by Alexis — thanks!) I just had the pleasure of reading Alexis Ohanian's “Without Their Permission" on my flight back from SF to New York. The book will come out on October 1st, but you can pre-order it now and I highly recommend that you do. It is really a three for one deal: first, a brief and entertaining history of both Reddit and Hipmunk; second, a wonderful two chapter Startup MBA that contains advice that I wholeheartedly endorse; and third, a guide to using the Internet for good and keeping it open for innovation.
The book is written in a casual and easily accessible style with some wry humor mixed in. Throughout you can sense Alexis is one of the genuinely nice people you will ever meet. He is the kind of person where the expression “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy” really fits the bill.
The essential message throughout the book is that you don’t need anybody’s permission to do things on the Internet. This is a critical message for everyone to hear over and over again. Because it is so different from anything that has come before which always involved gate keepers. Alexis does a mighty great job using the impressive things he has done to illustrate this message and make it tangible all the while remaining understated.
Basically “Without Their Permission" should be mandatory reading for everyone in High School and in College. It’s of course also great for anyone already past those in particular if you feel trapped in your current job! Now the great trick for me will be to get our three kids to read it which of course means I can’t be the one recommending it (so I hope they don’t read this review).