Customer Review

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's It All About, January 8, 2010
This review is from: Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World (Hardcover)
This was somewhat of an odd book for a couple of reasons: first, based on the title, I was expecting something on the order of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich or The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition; in other words, a book that gave advice on how to exploit the new economy (create your own economy) to prosper (the path to prosperity in a disordered world). The book is not about either of these. What the book is actually about is hard to pin down, however.

If I understand Cowen, creating your own economy is what you can now do in the world of the internet and new technology, where the number, diversity and accesibility of goods and services has sky-rocketed, particularly those goods and services related to the production of information. You can today decide to listen to very select songs on your I-Pod; read only blogs and receive feeds that suit your very unique tastes; and participate in online groups and activities that also satisfy your own individualized, quirky and even eccentric tastes, all at a fantastically reduced cost and ease of access. At the same time you can contribute to this hyper-personal economy by adding goods and services to it via your own input and participation, like by writing book reviews on Amazon.com, I suppose. As far as I understand it, that's what creating your own economy is about.

Second, Cowen envelops his economic point in a broader discussion of autism and its cognitive strengths, suggesting that these strengths are particularly important in this model of economy creation, and advocating for more use and acknowledgement of these strengths, particularly ordering and sequencing of specialized information, as well as a bias toward objectivity over emotionalism. Cowen also states the case that autism is not a separate condition out there from which a few suffer, but rather one point on the scale of what he calls neurodiversity, a scale on which all of us obviously must fall, some finding themselves closer to the autism point, others further.

In the end, you are left with an ambigous feeling about the subject and purpose of the book: should I identify my autistic side and apply it? should I create my own economy more consciously? I admire Mr. Cowen, as I am a fan of his blog. I particularly envy his ability to read so much. I just wish he had goven his work some more structure and tied it all together in a better way. Nevertheless, I gave the book four stars because, despite the detours and jumps, the material is still interesting and Cowen has an easy writing style that makes it quick reading.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2011 4:23:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2011 5:08:56 PM PST
Taylor Rand says:
A very kind and useful review of a meandering book that lacked focus from its useless title to its stultifying accumulation of pointless details and examples. The author wrote as if he'd just discovered the Internet and it reminded him of autism. So he just accumulated all sorts of loosely related points hoping eventually it would all mean something.

I finished the book but I kept thinking the author was babbling and stretching an essay's worth of material - maybe an extra long blog post or two - trying to convince us there was a book's worth of value here. Five or ten years ago maybe, this book might have been prescient but now explaining Twitter or Ipod music selection or Facebook or email is just sad. There's virtually nothing in this book that isn't relatively common knowledge or useful in creating one's own economy or prospering in a disordered world.
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