I really wanted to hate this book. A book about the Semantic Web for 'business'. With a pretentious title. I expected misinformation and fluff.
That was the only disappointment about this book. From about the third page, I came to realize that Siegel not only knows Semantic Web technology well, he also knows how to do research. Among other things, this book is a treasure trove of relevant technology trends, all cited and referenced. The notes alone are worth the purchase price.
I expected a hodge-podge of technology promises like the ones we usually hear - just like Google, but better. Will make sense of all your documents, so you don't have to. What I got instead was a coherent story of a future information culture - as different from what we know today, as today's world is different from what we knew before the web.
This isn't written as a business book, but as a futurist book. In many ways, the apparently pretentious title is actually conservative - in the Future Siegel paints, a lot more things are transformed than just your business. But I have to say, had he called it "The Semantic Web will Change your Life," I might not have picked it up.
This book goes into sophisticated detail on a lot of points I have made at various points in my own blog, but it does it in more depth and more courage than I have done. You'll find out why the Semantic Web vision doesn't fit into Google's current business model. Why Natural Language Processing is interesting, but tangential. Why IBM is still around, and will be for a while. And a whole lot more. I have recommended this book to just about everyone I know.
If you read this book, and you don't have a few ideas about start-ups you might try, then you know you really don't have an entrepreneurial bone in your body. This is what the Semantic Web can really be.