Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly

Out of Control, The Illustrated Edition

My first book, Out of Control, still in print from Amazon and available online in full text since 1995, was always imperfect in my eyes. I had wanted to fill it with illustrations. But it was so large (230,000 words) and so overdue (by years), that illustrating it in detail was never feasible. Among the illustrations I had hope to include were photographs of the folks I interviewed, of which I had captured many.

Reading a book on a website is not ideal, so I am happy to announce that I am releasing a PDF version of Out of Control. This is a free PDF which also has the option of displaying contextual ads if you want to see them. See my earlier experiment with this Adobe/Yahoo program for full details on how it works, but briefly it goes like this: if you have Acrobat Reader 9 you can opt in to allow context appropriate ads delivered by Yahoo to appear adjacent to the pages of the book. If readers click on the ads, I share some small fractional revenue, just as I do on my website ads. You won’t see these small text ads off to the side unless you opt in via the dialog boxes on opening the file.


The PDF version of Out of Control is the full book, with the full annotated bibliography, redesigned with new subheads not present in the book, new Table of Contents, and lots of color photos of the scientists I spoke to. Some like Rod Brooks, Marvin Minsky, Danny Hillis, and Ted Nelson are more well known now than back then. They all look so young!  I wish I could have added all the other graphic material I had on hand then but that is a job too big to redo now.


In many ways, this version is better than the book. It is searchable, it has color illustrations, it has better navigation, it is free, and it has surprising contextual ads, which I find interesting.

It is still not perfect. To be an ideal book, it should have tons of charts and diagrams, and the text should be massively hyperlinked, and the bibliography linked to Amazon. The former will probably never happen (at least by me), but the latter might happen in the next edition of the PDF, depending on the response to this version. Also, currently PDFs are not readable on the Kindle. So I am working on a Kindle version as well.

Free downloads of the Out of Control: The Illustrated Edition PDF are available from these two free file-hosting sites, here and here.  (Beats me how these sites, Driveway and MediaFire earn enough income; let me know if you have any trouble downloading.)

And remember, I can mail you a crisp print out of the entire book, if you want one, for $16. Click here.

Out of Control is selling better now than it was when first published 14 years ago. People “get it” now. The importance of decentralized systems, peer production, emergent behaviors, hive minds, and evolutionary systems are now obvious in a Web 2.0 world. Back then it seemed too wildeye, woo-woo, esoteric, and geeky. To my delight, it still contains relevance and news for most readers.  And it is getting better reviews now than it did back then. Here’s a recent rave from Chris “Long Tail” Anderson who calls it “among the most important books of its decade… and  may be the smartest book of the past decade.”

If you have not read it, click above for a free copy!


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