Your Survival Guide to Life on the Information Superhighway

By Danny Goodman

Random House 244pp $21

Unless you've been asleep for the past few years, you're aware mf something coming called the Information Superhighway. It's sort of an Apollo space program for the '90s--a giant technology spectacle that everyone will get a chance to watch. And like the moon mission, the data network is somehow supposed to change practically every aspect of human activity--for the better, of course.

If you're wondering what to make of all the hype, you might want to check out Living at Light Speed, a book that tries to help average people make sense of the digital-technology revolution. That's no easy task, given that products, strategies, and companies in the computer and communications industries appear, mutate, and disappear every day. By the time any book about information technology hits the stores, it's sure to be obsolete in one way or another. The fact is, nobody really knows what the I-way will be or how it might change society.

Still, Danny Goodman succeeds in dissipating some fog. He explains much of what's going on from technical and business perspectives. And he delves into many of the issues that face people as consumers of new electronic gadgets and services and as citizens living in a democracy. "All of us," he advises, "must play a role in molding the highway and its content into an empowering technology."

Best of all, Goodman gets his points across in plain English. Sure, he relies too heavily on the highway metaphor, but who of us hasn't? Anyway, there's hardly an acronym to be found, and a lucid glossary handles what few buzzwords are used. Not bad for such retro technology as a hardcover book.

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