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We-Think: Mass innovation, not mass production: Mass Innovation Not Mass Production [Kindle Edition]

Charles Leadbeater
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Society is no longer based on mass consumption but on mass participation. New forms of collaboration - such as Wikipedia and YouTube - are paving the way for an age in which people want to be players, rather than mere spectators, in the production process. In the 1980s, Charles Leadbeater's prescient book, In Search of Work, anticipated the growth of flexible employment. Now We-think explains how the rise of mass collaboration will affect us and the world in which we live.

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I was gripped. The book's theme is as big and bold as it gets ... Leadbeater's book should be compulsory reading for all who seek to understand the driving force of this century (Management Today)

Likely to be the most controversial book about the internet to be published this year ... I urge you to read it (Andrew Keen The Independent)

a riveting guide to a new world in which a whole series of core assumptions are being overturned by innovations on the web (Mathew D’Ancona The Spectator)

Expertly fusing philosophy and observation, Leadbeater depicts a world enriched by the creative and innovative possibilities of the internet and a more open, egalitarian and democratic society. (Rory Tevlin Irish Times)

Book Description

The man The Spectator calls 'the new wizard of the web' explores the ways in which mass collaboration is dramatically reshaping our approach to work, play and communication.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong and interesting 21 Aug. 2008
By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 500 REVIEWER
I really enjoyed this book - it's far less bombastic than WikiNomics and raises a number of important 'calming factors' surrounding the areas of collaborative technology. In essence he says it's important, and will be dramatically important for a small number of fields and industries, and less important but still influential in more. However, the book makes a number of fairly bizarre points based on what I feel is a misunderstanding of some of the concepts covered. The biggest example of this is the three-four page treatment he does on World of Wacraft in which he talks about in terms of mass collaboration on content development - in this respect, he may be getting it confused with Second Life, but the argument he makes in favour of this interpretation is entirely in the context of WoW. I feel this is a poorly considered argument for one reason - there is nothing new in Warcraft that hasn't been in all social gaming. They're all about collaborating to have fun, but they do not involve content generation. Warcraft is a large scale content-consumption platform, but it's not a content generator.

On the other hand, there is a thriving 'cottage industry' of add-on development which does involve considerable collaboration, but that's not the argument he makes.

On the whole though, a strong book that would make a good introduction to anyone wondering what all this wiki/collaboration stuff was about and why it mattered.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where did the author go? 1 Jun. 2008
A lot of factual books acknowledge the input of others but then let it be known that the work is in the end totally the author's responsibility. Here the author admits to strong input from outsiders having let it be edited under a wiki format on the web. In the end I don't think you hear Charles Leadbeater's heart or soul in this book but a lot of pussy footing around the subject having tried to accomodate multiple viewpoints.

Contrast Benkler's Wealth of Network's which although available as a wiki the hard copy delivers Benkler's authorship.

Interesting book in the nonetheless in a Cluetrain sort of way!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars We-Ramble 31 Aug. 2008
This book is not a good example of 'collaboration' as it never really gets the reader engaged. The authors ramblings tend to bore and towards the end I just skipped sections when I sensed a 'ramble' coming on. Also on page 155 I can't see how 150 Terrabytes of storage = Billions of Laptops - more like a few hundred and the 'Replicator' was a Star trek piece of kit - not Star Wars... You'd be better off reading Wikinomics as some of the stories mentioned in this book are in Wikinomics and much better described with more depth and useful facts. Avoid!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Been said before 16 Oct. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the very start, re-labelling 'Collaboration' with 'WeThink' is actually annoying. After 200 odd pages of hearing 'We Think' can do this and that, becomes downright offensive. 'We Think' is mentioned probably a hundred times, and WILL drive you mad.
This book is one step above rubbish. It repeats age old examples of well known successes, and tries to convince the reader that it has been rebadged and improved. And by rebadging an old idea, means you can call everything We Think.

So, my honest opinion is that you should not pay for this book. Sure, if a friend gives you a copy, then read it.. You can then laugh at them for paying for it (speaking from experience!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One idea wonder 29 Sept. 2010
By Drew
Along with a slew of other catchy titled books looking into the future of the web and society, Charles Leadbeater beats you over head with the same idea, the same story, over and over again. You kind of get the feeling the author is desperate to get his newly discovered theory adopted into the realms of 'the long tail', 'tipping point' or 'freakonomics'.
This book would have been better off as an 8 page article in Wired than a 200 page book.
The examples of 'successful we-think's were always going to be out of date, irrelvant and non-existant by the time the printing presses ran.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Charlie Leadbeater has written a very well researched and approachable introduction to collaboration and creativity. His illustrations of how successful enterprises can be built by harnessing the "Pro-Am" (the amateur who is as skilled as a professional) are sources of hope. He is undoubtedly right but he has also missed a couple of good points. The first is that in science and engineering like Moore's Law (in respect of computer power) and Sod's law ( in respect of things in general) there is Stigler's Law of Inventions: "No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." No modern scientific or engineering discovery can be laid at the door of one person - the reality is that multiple entirely independent individuals come up with the same thing at the same time. From the lightbulb to the telephone this has always been shown to be true. This is where "We-Think" can gain its power since, thanks to the Internet entirely independent individuals can collaborate to innovate and invent at warp speed

The second point which Charlie misses (or, to be fair, probably choose not to mention since I believe he is is fully aware of the issue) is the inability of the legal system to protect inventions and technologies developed through collaboration. Brainstorming solutions to problems is overrated - it is easy to brainstorm but it is hard to execute the ideas that have come from the brainstorm. "We-Think" collaboration suggests a mechanism to do just that - but the business models to protect the collaborative effort do not yet exist. (I have some possible solutions but a review of this book is not the place to discuss them.)

All in all a fascinating and thought provoking read - hence the five stars.
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