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New Rules for the New Economy Paperback – October 1, 1999


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New Rules for the New Economy + What Technology Wants + Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; English Language edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014028060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140280609
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's hype and then there's the Internet. The widespread emergence of the World Wide Web and the idea of a network economy have set new records for excess in overheated marketing campaigns, breathless newspaper and magazine articles, and topsy-turvy financial markets. From his perch as founding editor of Wired magazine, Kevin Kelly has long been one of the new economy's chief hypesters. In New Rules for the New Economy, Kelly tries to encapsulate the characteristics of this emerging economic order by laying out 10 rules for how the wired world operates. The result is a dizzying, sometimes confusing, but always thought-provoking look at the behavior of networks and their effect on our economic lives. At the root of this network revolution is communication. As Kelly writes:
Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems. This is why networks are such a big deal. Communication is so close to culture and society itself that the effects of technologizing it are beyond the scale of a mere industrial-sector cycle. Communication, and its ally computers, is a special case in economic history. Not because it happens to be the fashionable leading business sector of our day, but because its cultural, technological, and conceptual impacts reverberate at the root of our lives.
Kelly's genius lies in synthesizing large amounts of information in unique and interesting ways. His ability to turn a phrase is reflected in the names he gives to his 10 rules, and it makes this book a pleasure to read. Some, for example, are: "Embrace the Swarm: The Power of Decentralization" (Rule 1); "No Harmony, All Flux: Seeking Sustainable Disequilibrium" (Rule 8); and "Let Go at the Top: After Success, Devolution" (Rule 6). A few of his ideas have a kind of Teflon quality that makes them elusive and difficult to evaluate. But that's OK. Like other prognosticators of the future--Alvin Toffler and John Naisbitt come to mind--Kelly's job is to imagine a new world. Far from hype, New Rules for the New Economy is required reading for anyone pondering business in the not-too-distant future. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The "new economy," posits Wired executive editor Kelly in his smart but confusing book, "has three distinguishing characteristics: It is global. It favors intangible thingsAideas, information, and relationships. And it is intensely interlinked." Kelly uses this system of fluid networks to replace traditional linear models of business interrelationships. In one "rule," Kelly unexpectedly suggests that a company's goods become more valuable as their price moves closer "to free"; in another he urges companies to abandon the pursuit of proven successes. If these claims at first appear dubious, closer examination shows that they're not without credibility. In a network economy, he argues, selling technologies cheaply increases supply and spurs demand for valuable services that use these technologies. Relying on proven successes, Kelly says, discourages companies from developing new technologiesAthe linchpin of a rapidly changing network economy. Unfortunately, Kelly builds his case in a haphazard, often overheated way, complete with empty jargon like "re-intermediation." Even when offering the more concrete observation that a network economy means that customersAnot vendorsAoften drive transactions, Kelly can't resist straying into a discussion of privacy on the Net. Perhaps the author intended his jumble to serve as a metaphor for the often overwhelming interconnectivity he describes, but readers will have a hard time working through the muddle and hype. B&w illustrations throughout. Author tour. (Oct.) FYI: Cornell/ILR's book of the same title on the changing demcgraphics of the American workforce was reviewed in the August 10 issue.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor from its inception until 1999. He has just completed a book for Viking/Penguin publishers called "What Technology Wants," due out in the Fall 2010. He is also editor and publisher of the Cool Tools website, which gets half a million unique visitors per month. From 1984-1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers' Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. He authored the best-selling New Rules for the New Economy and the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, Out of Control.

Customer Reviews

This book remains a good read even after the dot-com implosion.
Carlos A. Leyva
Interesting from first to last page, without the boring redundances and long void explanations present in other books about the same matter.
Aquerreta Juan C
Kelly's book is a great overview of how the internet will and is now affecting the world and especially the economy.
Scott Snyder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just finished Kevin Kelly's book, New Rules for the New Economy; it is provocative--"trenchant," as it says on the book jacket. I should preface my next remarks by saying that I'm glad I read the book and will recommend it to certain of you. Some of what Kelly says is compellingly true, and of that part, some of it was relatively new when the book was first written. At the same time,...
I guess it is hard to show what you know in relatively few pages. As a writer, Kelly is clearly his own worst enemy. He uses cryptic graphics that sometimes convey a lot, sometimes convey nearly nothing. He writes oddly--his language is often imprecise, and since he is sort of terse, that occasional vagueness is pretty deadly. Often, too, he reduces what he has to say to sound bites. I'm wary of people who do that. They might be smart, they might be covering up dumb. They oversimplify, and usually end up sounding partly goofy. In this case, some of what Kelly says is sufficiently goofy that I don't know whether he is unaware of what has been written, doesn't understand what he has read, or doesn't believe what he has read.
If you know what you are talking about, you are likely to be interesting. I think Kelly might be an interesting guy. He's no academic, but he's an educational omnivore. He shows evidence of having read some serious work in technological forecasting--but evidence, too, of not having read deeply on the subject. For example, he appears to be unaware of much of econometric and psychometric--that is, measurement--literature, and some of his statements make it appear that he is unaware of fairly well-known literature pertaining to diffusion and substitution in high-technology markets.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Charles Boyd (cwpmb@yahoo.com) on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Why do alliances among firms kindle increased innovation? Why does the law of diminishing returns not work the way it used to? Why are so many firms giving away their products? Why should some firms abandon their most successful product at its zenith? Why is the value chain becoming less important than the value web? What is the value web?
These are but a few intriguing questions that New Rules answers for business strategists. This tightly written tome offers a lucid explanation of the radical changes in the economy wrought by connected, networked communication systems. Kelly explains how and why the economic rules of the industrial age are being turned on their heads and elaborates 10 rules for the new information-based economy. He explains and offers familiar examples of each rule in action.
This is a must-read for anyone who would understand the changes taking place in post-industrial economies fueled by information technologies.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
overall a very fascinating and provocative view of things to come, and understandably need not be very accurate. However I was very disappointed when it starts into the rights and wrongs of a net economy. It makes blanket statements like: "In the new order, innovation is more important than price" and "monovation ... is intolerable" This to me reflects only one view as commonly seen in silicon valley esp with regards to microsoft, and the author merely parrots these views as facts...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Bachman on December 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fortunately I read the book before I read the "official" reviews. I know people from a Presbyterian pastor in Baltimore to a union offical in Tallahassee who operate as if these rules are already in effect. This book is about the real world. Its challenge is to dare readers to measure the potency of their decisions against the "new rules." These are the the rules that business can use to validate its decisions. Violate these rules, and you put your profits at risk.
Kelly's rules are a network (central theme of the book) of guiding principles. Each principle functions to serve each of the other rules in the network. Therefore, in contrast to the pop-press hodge-podge of futuristic notions, "New Rules" serves the reader by forging clearly stated relationships between the guiding principles of our increasingly technologically driven economy. This book will trigger ideas whether you are in a smokestack industry, financial services, or hi tech.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Aslýhan Çetinkaya on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book adresses almost all of the questions that one can wonder about the concept of "new economy". It not only addresses the questions, but also gives strategies for success in this new economy. As you go further in the book, you understand that the concept is not actually new but it is another stage of the continuously changing/improving economic and business world. The most important lesson that I have derived is, understanding the external environment and its dynamics is vital for designing the corporate strategy. Moreover the businessmen must learn that adoption to the new business world is not enough, but being able to adopt to the world that is in a continuous flux is also important. After you read and understand the logic behind this book, you become a good analyst of other different models that are proposed by others.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carlos A. Leyva on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I tend to give a book **** stars when it should be read and ***** when it must be read. This book remains a good read even after the dot-com implosion. Perhaps even a better read afterward since the hype and frenzy are long since gone and the work can better live and die on its own.
Kevin Kelly, as founding editor of Wired magazine, has long been one of the new economy's chief advocates. In New Rules for the New Economy, Kelly tries to encapsulate the characteristics of this emerging economic order by laying out 10 rules for how the wired world operates. It is very well thought out and well written. A superb synthesis of new economy thinking. Right or wrong, it does a phenomenal job of putting forth the premises and substantive arguments that make the new economy such a provocative topic. Kelly manages to do this while maintaining a fluid and natural story telling style. Here is a representative sample excerpt:
"Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems. This is why networks are such a big deal. Communication is so close to culture and society itself that the effects of technologizing it are beyond the scale of a mere industrial-sector cycle. Communication, and its ally computers, is a special case in economic history. Not because it happens to be the fashionable leading business sector of our day, but because its cultural, technological, and conceptual impacts reverberate at the root of our lives."
This book both informs and, more importantly, inspires. Its powerful message has no doubt launched careers and changed lives. It will remain an important read for many, many years to come.
Kevin, like all good pioneers, has taken more than his fair share of "arrows in the back", but don't be mis-led by the naysayers, this one is the real deal.
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