Summer book recommendations II

Back at the end of June I posted about three books I had bought to read on my holidays. The three books were:

  1. David Weinberger’s Everything Is Miscellaneous
  2. Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur and
  3. Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

In my naivety I brought another couple of books along as well, just in case I managed to finish the three above! I’d obviously forgotten what it is like to be on a beach holiday with young kids. You have to be watching them the whole time, if not playing with them, and after the beach you are wrecked. Bottom line, I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I had hoped.

In fact of the three books above, I only managed to read Wikinomics. I have started Everything is Miscellaneous (and it looks to be really good too) but having briefly skimmed Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur, I decided it wasn’t worthwhile reading. On the upside, the Cult of the Amateur proved to be a fantastic book for killing mosquitoes – the weight of a hardback and the flexibility of a softback.

As for Wikinomics, I can’t recommend it highly enough. For me, it is the business book of 2007. It is a fascinating walk through incredible changes which are happening as a result of the new openness in the web today. Some examples from the book include:

  • MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, whereby anyone can access the university’s entire curriculum online, free
  • how Procter and Gamble CEO AG Lafley has stated that Proctor and Gamble aims to source 50% of its innovations externally by 2010 and
  • how IBM spends about $100m annually on Linux development but that it gets about $500m worth of development from that investment

If you haven’t read it, go out and get it now. Seriously. Do.

6 thoughts on “Summer book recommendations II”

  1. Re Wikinomics – it starts strong and has some good case studies, but IMO much of the content is repetitive and some sections read like breathless propaganda ‘do this now or your business is toast’.

    Good book, but it could have benefitted from either tighter editing or more quantitative research-based content to back up statements – it’s no ‘Good to Great’.

  2. “Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur, I decided it wasn’t worthwhile reading”

    Can you expand on that a little?
    Is it because its an anathema to all you believe in? Or is it because its badly written, typical of the type of book which takes a good idea worthy of an essay and makes a lousy book out of it?
    mm

  3. I’ve just started into the cult of the amature myself and after a few pages he’s yet to make one point that I agree with. How can he defend mainsteam media over blogging while fox news is on the air?

  4. I too had high hope for The Cult of the Amateur. There are good points to be made but he’s shallow and silly.

    Keen’s problem is that he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying – so why should I? This is a bigger problem than his inability to distinguish symptoms from causes (as several reviews point out.)

    He’s much more interested in dropping his trousers and asking, “Who’s a naughty boy?”

    As he confessed recently –

    “I am not interested in abstract forms of justice, I am interested in building my brand as an author and a polemicist”

    http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=192

  5. I too am having difficulty finishing Andrew Keen’s book. His central argument, that Huxley’s monkey scenario has come true, is so incredibly flawed that I wondered if at first he was joking. The monkey/typewriter image implies random output, but user’s aren’t random. Users have taste, judgment, talents and goals. Mr. Keen can thumb his nose at the lower aspects of our culture all he likes, but he should remember that people are flocking to youtube because his “cultural gatekeepers” are increasing irrelevant and disconnected from reality. CNN has fact checkers, but they buy into corporate and political spin. We know spin when we hear it – whether it’s in a magazine or in a blog.

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