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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2010
Using the power of each of us to solve problems that challenge all of us is the central premise of Macrowikinomics. Tapscott has always been good at spotting, shaping and branding trends and this book is no exception. However, this book repeats and restates earlier ideas rather then moving forward to the next logical question of how we do this.

I am sorry to provide a less than enthusiastic review, as I am sure others will find this book revolutionary. However, I am reviewing the book as someone who wants to learn how to make the changes that Tapscott and Williams advocate in my company and industry.

The authors do cover different industries and mention emerging companies giving the impression that the book breaks new ground. However, readers familiar with Tapscott's other works will find that this book repeats and restates Wikinomics more than it covers new ground. It is clear that Tapscott and Williams are looking at this issue from the macro economic rather than business perspective. Is there microwikinomics in the wings?

The book's structure reinforces this observation as it starts by revisiting the basics of the Wikinomics and the five principles of networked intelligence: Collaboration, Openess, Sharing, Integrity and Interdependence. The authors next concentrate on discussing the complex challenges and industries under threat. These include: Green energy, Transportation, Education, Health Care, Media and Government.

The middle section repeats the same pattern of describing their issue, the inability of modern approaches to address the issue and examples of companies using wikinomics to address the issue which that authors report are too early to be reshaping the world we live in.

The last part of the book concentrates on the challenges posed by wikinomics. In my opinion these last two chapters are the more valuable parts of the book, particularly for someone who has already read Wikinomics. But these chapters, like the rest of the book, raises more issues than it resolves.

Recommendations

If you are a wikinomics fan, then you will probably buy the book no matter what anyone says. As a reader familiar with Wikinomics I found more examples but little in the ways of new ideas or applications. The examples are interesting but they lack specifics of how you apply wikinomic principles.

This is a four star book, if you are new to Wikinomics. Macrowikinomics has more examples of than the original book. I would suggest reading Chapters 1-4, then the chapters related to your industry and finish with chapters 18 and 19. This should make the book about 150 - 200 pages which is an appropriate length.

This is a three star book for those who enjoyed Wikinomics and wanted to learn more about how leaders are applying these ideas rather than where the ideas could be applied. I had hoped for more than an expanded restatement of the earlier book.

Strengths

Comprehensive in tackling a diverse set of global issues and industries. The breadth of Tapscott and William's discussion illustrates the broad ability of social media and mass collaboration to change the way the world works.

Company specific examples are interesting and they do illustrate that people are applying these ideas in each of these areas, but the examples are general marketing level descriptions rather than providing actionable advice.

The beginning and the end of the book are quite clear and provide a good overview of the ideas in the book. These include chapters 2, 4, 18 and 19.

Challenges

The authors have had more than three years since the introduction of Wikinomics to understand how these forces work in companies. Unfortunately there is little of this understanding in the book. It does not discuss how to address significant issues such as assigning responsibility, accountability, management, measurement and rewards. These are issues that people running companies need to face and ones that people studying rather than living the problem can overlook.

The authors are at times strident in their dismissal of current governments, companies, industries and individuals. Throughout the book the authors are clear that they believe that believe that wikinomics is the only way to solve these issues. This may be a good way to energize people around social issues, but it does little to help people apply these ideas to evolve from where they are to where they need to be.

Americans appear to be the primary audience for the book. While Tapscott and Williams mention India and China, their intended audience is people in the U.S. This is surprising given the author's calls for a coordinated global response to economic and environmental issues.

The book is long at over 400 pages; in large part because of the middle chapters follow a similar structure, which makes the book seem repetitive and reinforces the impression that the authors believe that the same solution applies to every situation.

The notion of 'rebooting business and the world' is an interesting premise and an inaccurate description of what the authors intend since rebooting is used most often as a way of solving problems by resetting the system to its original configuration. This is not what the authors intend but it's the analogy they have chosen.
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on November 29, 2010
when i read wikinomics (by the same authors) some time ago, it sparked my imagination in multiple ways and had me laying down the book multiple times to write up little ideas that were bursting forth from my brain. and i was hoping for the same with this sequel. that first book was about how a collaborative culture (wiki culture) is reshaping business and other fields. this sequel widens the implications to broader cultural and societal categories. chapters include everything from wiki-government to re-dreaming the publishing industry (and a dozen macro-categories in between). the first two or three chapters had me charged up -- but it was probably more from expectation than reality. problem is: the book is too long and too repetitive. in the end, i was just reading to finish it, and felt the authors showed arrogance in both approach and overstatement.
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on October 31, 2010
Like so many new media tomes, this text argues that something shocking and catastrophic is happening. While I'm certain the socioeconomic landscape is changing, I'd prefer a description and be let to make my own mind or give a brief commentary at the conclusion.

Instead, I get a nice intro about wiki-style Haiti rescues followed by a pulpit style pounding that I must accept "the times they are a changing."

The author bemoans the financial state of newspaper companies and the loss of print. Yes, paper, like the 8-track and cassette is history. Why cry? It destroyed trees and was limited to one text per book. I can now access hundreds of thousands of the greatest works in human history in a broad range of languages on my laptop. And, the carbon footprint is considerably smaller than the 100s of books I had in my home as a child or a young adult. The new books are searchable, take up no space or weight in my suitcase.

He then moves on to complain about fresh water. What does this have to do with wikis? And didn't STRATFOR id this problem ... a decade ago?

I liked the first book, wikinomics, so I'm really disappointed this one is so preachy. Give me research, not lectures, please.
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on January 8, 2011
This read to me as an extended magazine article meant for browsing but not consumption. I now know that there is macro-wikinomics activity out there, but I still don't really know what it is or how it works. There are few nuts and bolts in this book.
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on November 11, 2010
A great source of information for the continuing trend (soon to become norm) of collaborative management and the impact it has on modern business. Unfortunately the majority of the book seems to be primarily concerned with validating their previous forecast by making Wikinomics comparisons and analysis to as many main stream industries/sectors as possible.

For me, the best parts of the book (tangible information and something I can immediately apply) can be condensed into about 12 pages.
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on January 28, 2011
Firstly, let me say that I loved Wikinomics and was eagerly looking forward to this book, so perhaps I'm a victim of my high expectations.

However, he spends most of the book lecturing about Global warming and saying things like "The US fought two wars in Iraq to maintain control of Middle Eastern Oil." If you believe crap like that, and have a leftist bent, you'll love this book.

He has some good examples, but it's not really new.

He is right about the need to create new models to govern the world, but just don't preach to me so much, Sheesh!

Also the audio for the audio book is SOOO.SLOW. . . .I'm listening to it on double speed and only sounds slightly speeded up.
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on March 24, 2011
Book not that great. The overriding message is good, but very repetitive and hard to stay engaged.
I bought two--one for myself and another as a door prize. But it's a bit boring for a door prize.
I bought this in audio because I find little time for reading & listen to these business books during commute. Could not get thru it---simply too much talking--like an academic paper presented by a professor. Monitone and boring, hard to get the main points, they are so fine--not sharp. Shrinking it down and covering key points is less miopic detail would make it better.

Service from Amazon to purchase and receive--exceptional and 5star. Not the book or the reader.
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on July 9, 2016
Really disappointed. I was expecting a lot of actionable examples for businessmen to use in terms of how to get people outside of your organization involved. In the examples mentioned in the book, like Linux for example, it doesn't say how you motivate people to get volunteers. It just says that volunteers happened. People seem to just show up, out of the goodness of their heart, and help on a project. Procter and Gamble, another company who's cited as working with people outside their organization in order to help on research and development. Cool. What exactly did they do to make that happen? I don't know, it's a mystery.
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on October 8, 2010
My initial take is that Macrowikinomics is a reference book for the future. Tapscott and Williams provide five principles of wikinomics: collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity, and interdependence (a slight edit from 2006: openness, peering, sharing, and acting globally). They use these principles to rethink possibilities from education and healthcare to government, banking, media, and the environment. They highlight early movers in each of these realms and so give foundation to the reality of their claims. I had seen some of these examples before, but many were new. Perhaps more helpful than the examples themselves were the discussions of the complexities involved in revolutionizing each of the topics. Tapscott and Williams may be visionaries, but they are also realists.

For example, one of their early examples is how Novartis published its raw research data for any research team to use. This data cost Novartis millions of dollars and years of research. The reported thinking is that translation of these results into new medicines will require a global effort. We all benefit as the huge number of leads are reduced by a larger group of participants. Norvartis still has a lead as they saw the data first and didn't include all their notes with the data. They stand to benefit, according to Tapscott & Williams, through increased demand, partnerships, and progress in other areas.

My more reflective take is that organizational leaders will do well to consider Tapscott and Williams' collection of examples and empower their organizations to take part. The question isn't whether or not organizations will take part. All organizations are part of this environment, whether actively or passively. With active leaders who understand the need to weave together technology tools, organizational practices, and their people (employees, customers, partners) -- great things can follow. Without active leaders great things may still follow, they just may not be what the formal leaders expect.

The concluding section of Macrowikinomics speaks to the active form of leadership. Whether in the executive suite or a small department, we can all consider their six rules (paraphrased):

Turn your good or service into a platform that others can use to create new value.
Thoughtfully assess what should be shared versus kept in-house.
Embrace self-organization and empower innovation.
Support the vanguard of enthusiasts.
Use a meritocracy to support collaboration versus hierarchy.
Leverage the Net Generation (building on ideas from Tapscott's Grown Up Digital).
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on December 28, 2010
I find this book thought-provoking and stimulating, but it lacks the balanced view. It offers many questions without providing practical answers. The argument is derived from current Internet collaboration examples, however it fails to support the argument with in-depth analysis of real life challenges.
It is also very long and includes lots of repetition. I still find it intersting and it's worth reading.
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