Without Their Permission: Summary Review

Key Things You Should Know About The Book

This is a summary review of Without Their Permission containing key details about the book.

What is Without Their Permission About?

“Without Their Permission” by Alexis Ohanian shares the author’s journey as a startup founder and provides insights on how anyone can use the power of the internet to create opportunities and make a difference. (Full Summary…)

Without Their Permission Summary Review

Alexis Ohanian’s “Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed” stands as a compelling testament to the transformative power of the internet in shaping the landscape of innovation, entrepreneurship, and community building. Ohanian, renowned as a co-founder of the immensely popular platform reddit.com, shares his insights, experiences, and entrepreneurial philosophy in this engaging narrative.

At its core, the book serves as a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those inclined towards harnessing the potential of the web for positive change. Ohanian’s journey, marked by the founding and subsequent multimillion-dollar sale of reddit, coupled with the establishment of other ventures like hipmunk and breadpig, serves as a testament to the ethos of making a mark without seeking permission.

Ohanian, having emerged as a symbol of the tech-savvy young entrepreneur, weaves a narrative that transcends conventional business wisdom. His approach emphasizes a hands-on, proactive mindset, where the internet becomes a tool for individuals to create, innovate, and contribute to society. The book’s subtitle, “How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed,” encapsulates the essence of Ohanian’s perspective – a departure from traditional management norms toward a future where individuals actively shape their destinies.

Structured into three parts, the book first introduces Ohanian’s background, setting the stage for his entrepreneurial journey. The second part delves into the story of reddit and other successful startups, providing valuable insights into the dynamics of creating and nurturing online communities. The final section explores the intersection of the internet and politics, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a free and accessible internet.

Ohanian’s writing style is approachable, infused with humor and a candid tone. The narrative unfolds like a conversation with a knowledgeable friend, making complex concepts and entrepreneurial lessons easily digestible. The inclusion of footnotes and personal anecdotes, such as his humorous doodles, adds a touch of authenticity to the storytelling.

The real strength of “Without Their Permission” lies in its ability to inspire and uplift. Ohanian’s positive and ‘can-do’ attitude, evident in both the book and his public appearances, becomes a guiding principle for readers. The book goes beyond a traditional entrepreneurial guide, offering a philosophy that champions creativity, positivity, and the pursuit of one’s goals without waiting for external validation.

While providing practical advice for startup success, the book also addresses broader issues, including internet freedom, the democratization of information, and the role of technology in shaping society. The inclusion of personal experiences and the stories of other individuals adds depth to the narrative, making it relatable to a diverse audience.

“Without Their Permission” not only serves as a blueprint for those venturing into the entrepreneurial realm but also advocates for a cultural shift towards embracing the opportunities presented by the open internet. Alexis Ohanian’s sincerity, humor, and genuine concern for the well-being of others shine through, making this book a compelling read for anyone seeking inspiration in the digital age.

Who is the author of Without Their Permission?

Alexis Kerry Ohanian is an American internet entrepreneur and investor. He is best known as the co-founder and executive chairman of the social media site Reddit along with Steve Huffman and Aaron Swartz.

How long is Without Their Permission?

  • Print length: 272 pages

What genre is Without Their Permission?

Business, Nonfiction, Technology

What are good quotes from Without Their Permission?

“We don’t even realize something is broken until someone else shows us a better way”

“Find People Who Give a Damn; Hire Them; Repeat”

“When sharing anything you’ve created with the world, you have to assume at the start that no one gives a damn about it.”

“You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.’ [Paul Graham]”

“The ruthless, fickle, and particular users of the World Wide Web have created the most competitive marketplace of ideas the world has ever seen; you either make something people want or people move on.”

“There’s no secret to “going viral,” despite what plenty of self-appointed “social media gurus” may tell you (hint: if they call themselves that, run in the opposite direction).”

“You might be thinking, “But what if someone steals my idea?” Trust me: most of us don’t have the spare time to start a company with your great idea, and even if we did, it’s going to be up to you to outexecute your competitors.”

“We’d either defeat ourselves first or they would defeat themselves for us.”

“Growing up, I had the words LIVES REMAINING: 0 written on the wall of my room. If life were a video game, that’s how it’d indicate this is the only chance left.”

“The advantage of leading is that you’re not following anyone,”

“The most pivotal product decision we made seemed much less important at the time but was our first big fight. I really wanted “tags” as a way to categorize content, and Steve insisted we let users launch their own reddits within our network (we’d call them subreddits). Just like WordPress was a blogging platform for online publishing, reddit would be a platform for online communities. It didn’t seem important at the time, but Steve was absolutely right and it’s a damn good thing he won because that decision would ultimately drive reddit’s success where all of our then competitors failed. We combined this simple point system with the ability for anyone to create a forum for an online community to share and discuss links—from NFL fans (/r/NFL) to corgi lovers (/r/corgi).”

“Don’t be afraid to show your users that you give a damn. It should shine in everything you do, from the design of your website to the way you respond to feedback e-mails.”

― Alexis Ohanian, Without Their Permission


Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an impact-driven entrepreneur, author, and investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has led him to found Elevate Society.