Book Review of Brad Smith’s “Tools and Weapons”

Brad Smith has been president of Microsoft since 2015. He wrote the book “Tools and weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age” in 2019, in collaboration with Carol Ann Browne, a Microsoft communication executive. They reviewed and updated the text in 2021, and this is the edition that got to my hands.

I approached “Tools and weapons” expecting a kind of boring, corporate, whitewashing book about the long-time unpopular Microsoft. To my surprise, it was an interesting account of what is the current strategy of Microsoft (very different to what I knew and thought) and, overall, a study of the relationship between tech companies, politics and social issues.

I do not believe that Brad Smith wrote himself this 400-page book. I would not believe it even I had seen him typing the text, letter after letter, in front of me. I guess that the book agent has made an index of mandatory topics, and then the long list of back team members mentioned in the acknowledgment worked the text based on feedback and anecdotes provided by the author.

In any case, it was useful for me to understand the latest movements of Microsoft, for example why it is suddenly embracing open-source and open-data projects like .NET Core and OpenAI. It is also a heuristic and global view of IT and latest tech trends, taking advantage of the privilege experience of Brad Smith, who has much of the international forums and global interlocutors available to him.

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