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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2010
One Saturday a friend who lives on Nob Hill in S.F. drove a zipcar over to visit me in Sausalito. He was eager to tell me about his trip to Istanbul, paid for by renting out his spare bedroom. Earlier that morning, via a freecycle posting, a stranger picked up some clay pots I'd set out by my garage so he could make a deck garden. Our apparently different actions are, in fact, part of a trend that Roos Rogers and Rachel Botsman dub collaborative consumption in their book, What's Mine is Yours.

Feeling pinched for money? Hate waste? Want to get to know more of your neighbors? These are just some of the reasons that might motivate you to discover fresh methods to save and to share that can also enrich your life - with others.

From bartering to exchanging, fixing, giving away, renting or more efficiently using what you have, this book is the most complete (and lively) resource I've found. You'll not only read about the better-known businesses and organizations that are tapping into "collaborative consumption" like zipcar and Meetup but many lesser-known groups and methods that you might join or reinvent to adapt to your situation or interest.

They write, "The collaboration at the heart of Collaborative Consumption may be local and face-to-face, or it may use the Internet to connect, combine, form groups, and find something or someone to create "many to many" peer-to-peer interactions. Simply put, people are sharing again with their community - be it an office, a neighborhood, an apartment building, a school, or a Facebook network. But the sharing and collaboration are happening in ways and at a scale never before possible, creating a culture and economy of What's Mine is Yours."

Collaborative Consumption appears in three "systems" suggest the authors, product service systems, redistribution markets and collaborative lifestyles. The underlying principles that enable them are idling capacity, critical mass, belief in the commons and trust between strangers.

In keeping with a book on collaboration the authors seemingly productively co-wrote this book. You can read about the factors in our relatively recent history that caused Americans to shop as a hobby, often beyond our mean or needs and throw away or store our extra stuff (Americans average more than four credit cards per person while Europeans get by with 0.23 per person)- or you can jump to the many interesting characters, services, methods and stories in the rise of our collaborative consumption.

Some of my favorite stories are about business people who made dramatic changes on how they operated their business such as Ray Anderson who had a "conversion experience" after reading my friend Paul Hawken's book, The Ecology of Commerce The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, and transformed his firm, "the world's largest commercial carpet company" into "the first fully sustainable industrial enterprise." There are many fascinating back stories on how company founders backed into starting their business after personally seeing a need to reduce waste or save money - or others desire to share.

As someone who has had a long interest in collaboration I was delighted to learn how many more clever methods people are inventing to get along well on less, often through the use of collaborative technology. For example, I've been a longtime fan and user of freecyle, Zipcar, Netflix and Zilok (and was building up the nerve to try CouchSurfing or Airbnb) yet I'd not heard of many of the others including Snapgoods, SwapTree, SmartBike, TechShop, HearPlanet, iLetYou, SolarCity, UsedCardboardBoxes or OurGoods.

Perhaps like me, you'll finish this book convinced that sharing in all its forms is a major trend - and not just for the frugal or the greenies. Further you'll have specific ideas about why and how to share, exchange, rent, swap or ensure that the things you no longer want get into the hands of those who do. After you've read this book visit Shareable and see more stories to inspire you about how we are becoming more inventive about sharing the more we connect with each other about it. Relatedly, see Clay Shirky's Cognitive SurplusCognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, Kevin Kelly's What Technology WantsWhat Technology Wants, Peter Block's The Abundant CommunityThe Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods and Delivering Happiness Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
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on September 16, 2010
Ever now and then - not often - a book comes along that captures nascent trends that are going to effect us all before we know it, and lays those trends out with clarity and insight. 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' was such a book, as was 'Convergence Culture'. This year it appears we are blessed with two such reads - Clay Shirky's 'Cognitive Surplus', and this wonderful exploration of new (or re-emerging) forms of collaborative living.

The book is nicely structured and reads well, with an anecdotal style which clearly shows the huge amount of research that went into the project, drawing on an impressive range of case studies to make a powerful argument.

If the book has one failing it may be that, like so many 'business books', some people may overlook it as not for them. This would be a great pity, as the issues it deals with are critical for all of us - whether as inspiration for a collaborative dot com start up, or to help us navigated the increasing array of traded, swapped and shared products and services around us.

Buy it. Read it. Pass it on.
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on November 21, 2010
This book provides a glimpse of the unevenly distributed future that already exists today. In other words, collaborative consumption is a phenomenon that will change the way we all live and work. This isn't just a technology-driven trend, although the Internet and ubiquitous computing are part of the picture. We're also in the early stages of a social transformation with respect to what people want. What's Mine Is Yours is filled with great examples, and the authors do a nice job of tying them together into an uplifting and important story. I highly recommend this book!
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on February 29, 2012
We're approaching a point with collaboration technologies where users can opt out of traditional consumer models and use alternatives to acquire, borrow, trade, and give away just about anything. Need a car? Instead of buying or renting, you can use Zipcar or RelayRides. Want to buy or sell old possessions? Try Ebay or Craigslist. Need a loan but want an alternative to a bank? Try Zopa. Staying overnight in another city? Sure, you can rent a hotel, but now you can also use Airbnb or Couchsurfing.

What's Mine is Yours sums up the new universe of what authors Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers term "collaborative consumption". The book, like the movement it describes, is a game changer, as the authors connect the dots and show how key systems (like redistribution markets and collaborative lifestyles), principles (like critical mass and belief in the commons), and drivers (like environmental and cost concerns) have all matured to the point where collaborative consumption is not only viable but may soon supplant traditional buy, use and discard consumption altogether.

I would suggest that you go buy the book, but in the spirit of its message, I implore you to barter or swap for the book through one of the many exchange markets available today.
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on December 7, 2010
A new age of sharing and collaboration is upon us. Are you ready?

If not, you may find yourself left behind.

"What's Mine is Yours. The Rise of Collaborative Consumption" is an important new book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. It explains how the extraordinary disruption caused by the communications revolution is spawning an explosion in sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting and swapping.

Sites like Couchsurfing.com, which co-ordinates swaps of 'couch' accommodation for visitors and travelers has become the third most visited travel site in the world.

Car-sharing services like Zipcar saw their membership triple in 2009, and it is estimated that by 2015, 4.4 million people in North America and 5.5 million in Europe will belong to similar services.

People are realising that they don't have to own everything themselves, and that reaching out to others and sharing saves them money, makes them feel good and makes them new friends.

It meets a fundamental human need for connection and sharing.

Even mega consumer brands like Nike are shifting their brand focus and advertising away from products and towards building collaborative communities, investing in nonmedia social hubs like NikePlus, where runners around the world post runnning routes, map their runs, offer advice and encourage one another. It is estimated that Nike is spending 55 per cent less on traditional advertising and celebrity endorsements than it did ten years ago.

So why is this change occurring? Botsman and Roo cite a number of reasons, one of which is that it
feeds what sociologist Marilynn Brewer calls our 'social self', the part of us that seeks connection and belonging.

People have a need to connect. We are essentially social beings. And after 60 years of what author Clay Shirky terms one-way media communication (television to us) the internet has given back some choice to consumers - and they're taking it.

Botsman and Roo posit that in 10 years people won't be judging each other by their credit rating but by their 'reputation rating' - what they give to, what they share and in what they participate. This will be a radical departure from the era of defining ourselves by the brands we display and the houses we live in.

There exists a huge desire for more meaning and connection in life.

Now is the time.

This is the most important book since "What would Google do?" and Clay Shirky's "Cognitive Surplus". Read it or miss out on the next big thing.
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on September 27, 2011
The book makes some good points about collective intelligence, crowd sourcing and sharing, but the problem is if you are techie and have been following consumer market, you know it already..
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on November 1, 2010
Every now and then a book comes along that enables us to change the way we see life. What's Mine is Yours" is a book that is hard to categorize. - it does not fit into "the read this and you will be happier" or "20 ways to improve the way you do business' or even "how to move from Mr Angry letter writing to getting yourself heard and actioned with your local council. It is a book that addresses a whole range of issues, from the impact of hyper-consumerism on the individual and the society and how they are joined at the hip, to how we can use old practices like bartering, trading and swopping to create a new economy and manage the world's resources better. It analyses the challenges and then offers food for thought for solutions

Intelligently written, accessible, insightful and without being 'touchy feely psychobabble,' the authors genuinely reach out to the parts of ourselves that sense that there is a better way to live together and show us how the power of collective behaviour through technology and social networking are actually creating online and face to face communities.

If you, like me have traded on ebay, do your bit for recycling and maybe even subscribe to Freecycle.com, pat myself on the back, but still have a sense that there is so much more I can do, but don't know where to start then this is a must read. And if you are not, then I challenge you to read this book and not feel optimistic about life again.
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on January 13, 2012
A great book and a sign of our times, and times to come, but ironically it's not Kindle Lending enabled. Go figure...
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on May 25, 2014
This book has a very comprelling premise. It really captures and explains some recent phenomena in our culture. I also enjoy the recommended sites as I learned about many places I would not have known about otherwise.
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on November 10, 2014
It's a good entrance point to collaborative economy.
It lacks of the downside of it. Why isn't exploding? Which are the main reasons which some innitiatives rises and then falls?
Anyways, it is a first good overview of this theme.
Maybe a new version after 5 more years would be even better.
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