The Four
The acclaimed NYU business professor's tour-de-force on the true nature of technology's titans, and what happens next in their struggle to dominate our lives. Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook are in an unprecedented race towards a $1 trillion valuation--and whoever gets there first will exert untold influence over our economy, public policy, and consumer behavior. How did these four become so successful? How high can they continue to rise? Does any other company stand a chance of competing? To these questions and more, acclaimed NYU / Stern professor Scott Galloway brings bracing answers. In his highly provocative first book, he pulls back the curtain on exactly how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google built their massive empires. While the media spins tales about superior products and designs, and the power of technological innovation, Galloway exposes the truth about these -Four Horsemen-: - None of these four are first movers technologically; they've either copied, stolen, or acquired their ideas. - Each company uses evolutionary psychology to appeal to our basest instincts: Amazon, our need to hunt and gather; Apple, our need to procreate; Facebook, our need for love; and Google, our need for a God. - These companies are uniquely successful at leveraging competitive advantage built by digital and then protected by analog moats, from an empire of retail stores (Apple) to the world's most efficient physical distribution network (Amazon.) Through analysis that's both rigorous and entertaining, Galloway outlines the path for the next trillion-dollar company (the Fifth Horseman) and points to which companies are in the running. (Uber, sure; less obvious, Microsoft and Starbucks.) As with Peter Thiel's Zero to One, readers will come away with fresh, game-changing insights about what it takes to win in today's economy.

The Four Details

TitleThe Four
Author
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherPortfolio
ISBN-139780735213654
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Business, Science, Technology, History

The Four Review

  • Quintin Zimmermann
    January 1, 1970
    Scott Galloway equates the Big Four - Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon - to the Four Horseman of god, love, sex and consumption respectively. The author proceeds to examine and deconstruct the strategies that the Four employed in becoming the present giants of industry, the exploitation of their own mythologies and consumer habits as well as their overt and covert anti-competitive techniques to stifle their competition. This is all extremely illuminating, but there isn't much new here that you Scott Galloway equates the Big Four - Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon - to the Four Horseman of god, love, sex and consumption respectively. The author proceeds to examine and deconstruct the strategies that the Four employed in becoming the present giants of industry, the exploitation of their own mythologies and consumer habits as well as their overt and covert anti-competitive techniques to stifle their competition. This is all extremely illuminating, but there isn't much new here that you aren't able to read elsewhere. The prominence of these ubiquitous companies in our daily lives means that they are already subject to extensive research and analysis in many books, publications, research papers and articles. Scott Galloway does make a concerted effort to draw business lessons from the Four, but I find this part unconvincing as you cannot extrapolate success from the unique circumstances and individuals that birthed the Four. Great success requires ingenuity, not imitation. However, it is seldom that you have the convenience of all Four being the subject matter of one singular book. It is further interesting how these four divergent companies are slowly, but inexorably encroaching upon each other's special areas of expertise in the race to become the first trillion dollar company.
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  • John Plowright
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The Four’ considers the enormous power accrued – for good and for (tax-avoiding, job-destroying, fake news-propagating) ill – by the big four technology giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.This examination takes place at a very interesting time for, as author Scott Galloway makes abundantly clear, the only competition the Four face is from each other, and the race is now on between them to become the premier operating system.The first half of the book looks at the history of retail and th ‘The Four’ considers the enormous power accrued – for good and for (tax-avoiding, job-destroying, fake news-propagating) ill – by the big four technology giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.This examination takes place at a very interesting time for, as author Scott Galloway makes abundantly clear, the only competition the Four face is from each other, and the race is now on between them to become the premier operating system.The first half of the book looks at the history of retail and the business strategies of each of the Four (such as the inspired decision to transition Apple from a tech to a luxury brand and to move into retail), whilst the second half chiefly considers the Four’s relations with governments and competitors and suggests future trends. Galloway most definitely knows what he’s talking about. Now Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business, he previously founded or co-founded nine firms, some of which foundered at the hands of the Four. These experiences have not embittered him. On the contrary, he writes not only with great insight but also with considerable humour, not least about the origins of our consumerist cravings.In so doing, Galloway occasionally overstates his case, as when he writes that, “At its core, Apple fills two instinctual needs: to feel closer to God and be more attractive to the opposite sex.” The bald facts are already sufficiently astonishing - Apple has “a cash pile greater than the GDP of Denmark, the Russian stock market, and the market cap of Boeing, Airbus and Nike combined” - for there to be any need for this kind of hyperbole.This book is by turns frightening and funny, depressing (on the demise of quality print journalism) and visionary (on the possibility of a tuition-free university). I cannot recommend it too highly, as it is both a superb eye-opener and an entertaining page-turner.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    This is a nonfiction/science/technology book. The author focuses in on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google and does a nice little analysis and how these monsters have managed to corner the market. My inner geek found this kind of fascinating. It was amusing, and I enjoyed the sarcastic humor. That part was 4 stars.Now this did feel a little long, and towards the end, it unravels a bit....so 3 stars.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Not particularly new information, but a nice clear analysis of how these companies came to be as big and successful as they are. On the one hand Galloway seems to be primarily impressed by their succes, on the other hand, luckily, he's also critical:"The world needs more homes with engaged parents, not a better fucking phone."I was disappointed coming to the end of the book where Galloway gives career advice on how to be as successful as these companies. Apparently it would be worth it to work a Not particularly new information, but a nice clear analysis of how these companies came to be as big and successful as they are. On the one hand Galloway seems to be primarily impressed by their succes, on the other hand, luckily, he's also critical:"The world needs more homes with engaged parents, not a better fucking phone."I was disappointed coming to the end of the book where Galloway gives career advice on how to be as successful as these companies. Apparently it would be worth it to work at least 80 hours a week. I sincerely hope our youth realizes there is more to life. "Only hire A-s, because A-s only hire A-s, while Bs hire Cs. Winners recognize other winners; while also-rans can be threatened by competitors."
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  • stef
    January 1, 1970
    Engaging and interesting but the humor might not be for everyone.
  • Ilinca
    January 1, 1970
    It's such an interesting topic, and he's such a brilliant guy - I'm disappointed this was not a better book. It's worth reading, but it's such a weird jumble of fact and opinion, with advice thrown in for young entrepreneurs or who knows who, that it's hard to pinpoint what it's good for.I loved his recent interviews on how heavy regulation is coming for Google and Facebook, and on Facebook and its ad screening potential. He seems a genuinely smart guy. And yet - I can't even remember what the b It's such an interesting topic, and he's such a brilliant guy - I'm disappointed this was not a better book. It's worth reading, but it's such a weird jumble of fact and opinion, with advice thrown in for young entrepreneurs or who knows who, that it's hard to pinpoint what it's good for.I loved his recent interviews on how heavy regulation is coming for Google and Facebook, and on Facebook and its ad screening potential. He seems a genuinely smart guy. And yet - I can't even remember what the book was about. The chapter on Apple is more or less a rant (and I'm not in the Apple camp, not even with the tip of a toe, but even I thought he was a bit heavy-handed there), and there is very little argument about what Google and Facebook are if they are not platforms, so I don't know, I guess he's better in short form, where he has to be concise and to the point, than book-length, where he gets lost in details and misses the mark.Still an interesting read, just wish it were better.
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  • Dancall
    January 1, 1970
    Scott Galloway is founder of the business intelligence agency L2, and professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. This book is an examination of the role that ‘the four’ tech titans - Amazon, Apple, Google & Facebook - play in our lives, a theme that Galloway also discussed in his excellent ‘Four Horsemen’ presentation in early 2015 (which you can watch on YouTube - highly recommended!). This book looks at the four in more detail, looks at the ‘T Algorithm’ - the ‘DNA’ that makes them so su Scott Galloway is founder of the business intelligence agency L2, and professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. This book is an examination of the role that ‘the four’ tech titans - Amazon, Apple, Google & Facebook - play in our lives, a theme that Galloway also discussed in his excellent ‘Four Horsemen’ presentation in early 2015 (which you can watch on YouTube - highly recommended!). This book looks at the four in more detail, looks at the ‘T Algorithm’ - the ‘DNA’ that makes them so successful - and then looks at which other companies could be ‘the 5th’, including Alibaba, Tesla, and Walmart. Part of a new backlash against Big Tech (see also Tim Wu’s The Attention Merchants) this is an informative and breezy read.
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  • Alex Wittenberg
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting, provocative, extremely sarcastic. Scott has made a name for himself by always saying exactly what's on his mind, and it feels a little grating at points. Still, his wide-lens perspective on these four titans is valuable in an era when it's tough to zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
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  • Antonio Rodriguez
    January 1, 1970
    Quite cleverLiving under these elephants virtually all of my career, it was great to see them from this perspective. There are no amazing insights here but the book puts it together in a coherent story that mirrors Maslow’s pyramid in a helpful way and the writer has a fantastic sense of humor. Quick read too!
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  • Ken Hamner
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely one of the best business books I’ve read.
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