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Castells ideas are indeed presented in a very readable manner, most of the times complemented with figures and data. In my "academic" tradition (communication/media sciences meets IT, in continental Europe), Castells is essentially a mandatory reference (even more than McLuhan).

Thinking about it, from a practical perspective, I'd eventually suggest "The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society" instead of the trilogy. It should be more readable, definitely smaller, while still addressing most important concepts (for me, it was the spatial configuration in the information society: the space of flows).

A piggy-back on "Gutenberg Galaxy"? I just ordered it just for the heck of it -- I'll admit to a prejudice of "not high hopes" for this, but it's worth a look.

This prejudice is part of a larger one (which is partly a generalization) that it is rare when commentators -- whether philosophers of science or other -- come close to having a good view. Of course, so many in fields are also quite blind to what is going on. Still, most of the good commentaries I know on science are by scientists, and most of the good commentaries on computing are by computerists. And music ... etc.

After reading the trilogy, particularly the first book, I don't think "The Internet Galaxy" will add much. Even the following "big" one from Castells, "Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective", won't add much from a conceptual standpoint (although an amusing read, I think).

My perspective on Castells is biased because it was essentially the backbone of my academic training. I had teachers telling us explicitly that Castells' notion of information society was the framework (in the Kuhnian sense) on which we'd build upon. Having that in mind, I see Castells as a sociologist and his work (sociological) as a view on a society defined by information flows (not exactly computing, although computing and telecommunications are key enablers). Still, he keeps technological determinism at bay by considering the impact of geography, territory, matter - the physical (tangible?) dimension.

What I like quite much about his work is exactly this aspect: he presents a vision of a society dominated by the intangible, while still dedicating rather extensive chapters on the geographical asymmetries of the world. This avoidance of technological determinism, the "information is key but place and physicality still matter a lot, as evidenced by real-world data" notion is why I see Castells as a great reference.

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