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Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything Hardcover – December 28, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The word "wiki" means "quick" in Hawaiian, and here author and think tank CEO Tapscott (The Naked Corporation), along with research director Williams, paint in vibrant colors the quickly changing world of Internet togetherness, also known as mass or global collaboration, and what those changes mean for business and technology. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia written, compiled, edited and re-edited by "ordinary people" is the most ubiquitous example, and its history makes remarkable reading. But also considered are lesser-known success stories of global collaboration that star Procter & Gamble, BMW, Lego and a host of software and niche companies. Problems arise when the authors indulge an outsized sense of scope-"this may be the birth of a new era, perhaps even a golden one, on par with the Italian renaissance, or the rise of Athenian democracy"-while acknowledging only reluctantly the caveats of weighty sources like Microsoft's Bill Gates. Methods for exploiting the power of collaborative production are outlined throughout, an alluring compendium of ways to throw open previously guarded intellectual property and to invite in previously unavailable ideas that hide within the populace at large. This clear and meticulously researched primer gives business leaders big leg up on mass collaboration possibilities; as such, it makes a fine next-step companion piece to James Surowiecki's 2004 bestseller The Wisdom of Crowds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Anyone who has done even a modest amount of browsing on the Internet has probably run across Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia that now dwarfs the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica. This is the prime example of what is called the new Web, or Web 2.0, where sites such as MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, and even the Human Genome Project allow mass collaboration from participants in the online community. These open systems can produce faster and more powerful results than the traditional closed proprietary systems that have been the norm for private industry and educational institutions. Detractors claim that authentic voices are being overrun by "an anonymous tide of mass mediocrity," and private industry laments that competition from the free goods and services created by the masses compete with proprietary marketplace offerings. The most obvious example of this is Linux, the open-source operating system that has killed Microsoft in the server environment. But is this a bad thing? Tapscott thinks not; and as a proponent of peering, sharing, and open-source thinking, he has presented a clear and exciting preview of how peer innovation will change everything. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (December 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841388
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, this book is just frustrating to read.
Timothy Haugh
Tapscott does a great job of illustrating the very real possibilities associated with the new social and collaborative capabilities provided by the web.
Mark P. McDonald
In addition the book is very balanced in its presentation, acknowledging the potential pitfalls and unresolved problems of collaboration.
Brad Shorr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Gessler on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don Tapscott's book, Wikinomics, discussed many excellent and interesting high-level collaboration concepts but was somewhat of a disappointment because of Tapscott's "I invented the question mark" writing style. For example, Tapscott makes an attempt to label specialized networks, like Napster, as "Business Networks" and even proceeds to call them "b-webs":

"By 2000, when the music industry finally noticed it, the MP3 b-web had reached critical mass-tens of thousands of music files had become available for downloading over the Net-and Napster alone, record companies said, had cost them $300 million in lost sales."

You mean a "peer-to-peer music network?" As a management consultant by day, I even found myself rolling my eyes at some of Don's painful attempts to coin new jargon. I felt that Tapscott lost a lot of creditability by going down this path. The title alone, "Wikinomics", and the tagline, "How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything," should have given away that the consultantese was going to be thick.

Some sections of the book, like the "tagging" reference below, were just downright funny underlining that Tapscott doesn't have a very in-depth understanding of the technologies that are powering this collaboration phenomena. This suggests that Wikinomics was not edited by a broader audience:

"Tagging harnesses a technology called XML to allow users to affix descriptive labels or keyword to content (techies call it "metadata", or data about data). Wired cofounder Kevin Kelly aptly describes a tag as a public annotation-like a keyword or category name that you hang on a file, web page, or picture.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on February 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams have written an intriguing, necessary and, in some ways, groundbreaking book, which we recommend to everyone...with some caveats. The authors examine the possibilities of mass collaboration, open-source software and evolutionary business practices. They integrate examples from the arts ("mashups"), scholarship (Wikipedia) and even heavy industry (gold mining) to argue that new forces are reshaping human societies. Some of their examples will be familiar, but others will surprise and educate you. However, the authors are so deeply part of the world they discuss that they may inflate it at times - for instance, making the actions of a few enthusiasts sound as if they already have transformed the Internet - and they sometimes fail to provide definitions or supporting data. Is the "blogosphere," for example, really making members of the younger generation into more critical thinkers? Tapscott and Williams repeatedly dismiss criticisms of their claims or positions without answering them. The result is that the book reads at times like a guidebook, at times like a manifesto and at times like a cheerleading effort for the world the authors desire. It reads, in short, like the Wikipedia they so admire: a valuable, exciting experiment that still contains a few flaws.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a typical "new big thing" business book. Read this and you're on your way to a billion dollar fortune. In reality, the authors pretty much make it clear that they've already made their bucks huckstering this idea. On pages 2 and 3, they describe several "studies" they've already done on these concepts, raking in by their own admission $9 million. Not bad. Sell a study, collect a fee; write a book about the studies, earn royalties. If you're a fan of the early "South Park" you may recognize the business model of the underwear gnomes.

On page 3, the authors also present the bottom-line: "Billions of connected individuals cn now actively participate in innovation, wealth creation and social development in ways we once only dreamed of. And when these masses of people collaborate they effectively can advance the arts, culture, science, education, government and the economy in surprising but ultimately profitable ways." Step right up, ladies and gentlemen: it's the next big, new thing. Hitch your wagon to it and make billions!

There's page after page of success stories of companies using wikis, blogs and other forms of interactivity to achieve unparalleled successes. But there's a notable absence of tales of failure.

There's also the requisite introduction of new terms because English, the language of Shakespeare, is simply inadequate to describe Tapscott's concepts. "Ideagoras", anyone?

The endless boosterism in these pages is mind-numbing. By the way, if you need help in joining this revolution, Tapscott will consult. Hint. Hint. Hint.

Oh this mass collaboration idea is big.
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Don Tapscott helped found the new economics associated with the Web with Digital Economy and Digital Capital. Wikinomics seeks the same goal using the features and functions of Web 2.0 as a basis for new forms of business collaboration and opportunity.

Tapscott takes numerous examples of next generation collaboration and social networks to point to the potential of the next generation of the web where customization, tailoring, self-publishing are viable business activities. The examples which range from assaying gold deposits to creating new rap albums are compelling. They lay the foundation for the principles of wikinomics that include:

BEING OPEN to allow customers, peers and others more access to your content, intellectual capital to collaborate and create something new.

PEERING to recognize that people form their own communities to create value, such as open source, and prefer these communities to traditional hierarchies that concentrate on control.

SHARING to overturn the economics of scarcity in favor of wide distribution and tailoring. In this regard, value comes not form distribution but from application of your products and services.

From these principles Tapscott discusses the following actors that will bring this world to the forefront of business:

1. Peer pioneers who will create the new business models based on wikinomics and found the companies that will displace both traditional companies and first generation web companies.

2. Ideagoras the creation of open forums where ideas are freely shared and developed based on attracting world class talent from around the connected world.

3. Prosumers who are a rising group of customers who will both produce and consume new products and services.
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