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CNET Book Club: Brad Thor on Backlash and why he'll never trust Alexa

The best-selling spy thriller author on the dangers of deep fakes, disinformation and social media.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Dan Ackerman
Scott Stein
2 min read
Josh Goldman/CNET

Best-selling author Brad Thor has written 19 espionage thrillers. Many of them feature ex-Navy SEAL Secret Service agent Scot Harvath and his run-ins with an international "who's who" of espionage. 

Thor's latest novel, Blacklash, finds Harvath double crossed, abandoned and hunted by his enemies (which probably isn't too out of the ordinary for him). 

Watch this: CNET Book Club: Brad Thor on Backlash and the dangers of social media

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Beyond being great summer reading, Brad Thor's books are packed with meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for the threats posed by emerging technology and powerful surveillance tools. His writing led to a stint consulting with the US Government on potential future threats, something he speaks about only obliquely. 

Thor makes no secret of his concerns with data-heavy apps and social media services, the danger of deep fakes and why he's not a fan of in-home digital assistants like Alexa. 

In our wide-ranging conversation, we talk about that, as well as his best practices for writing a hit book on an annual basis. 

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About CNET Book Club

The Book Club is hosted by a pair of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman (author of the nonfiction video game history book The Tetris Effect), and Scott Stein, a playwright and screenwriter. We'll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for updates on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott.

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