We know a lot, and nowadays we know that we know a lot. I read a lot of books. But I read only a teeny-tiny fraction of the books that get published. And books are, in turn, just a teeny-tiny fraction of the worthwhile knowledge that we're discovering and/or making. So what does this mean? Knowledge looks less and less like a book. It looks more and more like a conversation. If you're trying to figure something out and you can narrrrrow the focus of what you're looking for, you can get away with finding the one fact you need, the one expert you need. But as we try to tackle bigger problems, we want panels, think tanks, forums. The right answer is more likely to come from a discussion than from a pronouncement. Folks might not agree on an answer, and the best you can hope for is to hear all sides.
If you spend a bunch of your time trying to help folks make informed decisions about big topics with the aid of tons of facts, none of this is new. But this was still a fun read: it's fun to think about this stuff, and this is a fun pile of thoughts to wallow in. If you don't spend a bunch of your time wrestling with these issues; if you still think the great discoveries are made by lone genius scientists; if you think great design decisions are made by one cranky guy in a turtleneck, this book could bring you up to date.