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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but limited analysis of this cultural and economic trend, 18 Feb 2011
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This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
Hats off to Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers for writing this. They've synthesized and evangelized some disparate trends to show that there is something in common underlying them - a rejection of stuff in favour of services on the one hand, and relationships on the other. They've linked this to the sustainability agenda (because the production, consumption and disposal of stuff is wrecking the planet), and to the happiness agenda (because having more stuff doesn't make you happy, any more than eating more stuff does).

They distinguish between three different kinds of collaborative consumption - Product Service Systems (buying a service - like a rental car instead of a product); Redistribution Markets (like Ebay, but also Freecycle - to move stuff between people instead of making or trashing stuff); and Collaborative Lifestyles (the exchange of intangible assets like skills and time in moneyless contexts).

The book has a long introduction on how we got to here - the genesis of advertising and the creation of wants, planned obsolescence, and so on. The downside of this is it feels a bit padded - as with a lot of books about the new economy, what could have been a tight magazine article or series of blog posts has been blown out to make a book. Although it contains some fairly contemporary stuff, it's already out of date - no mention of Cameron's "Big Society", for example. It's very anglo-american too; does nothing like this happen in Europe? Don't they do this sort of thing all the time in the developing world?

It's also a bit boosterish. There are times when it admits that a phenomenon doesn't really fit with their argument - a lot of what is sold on Ebay now is new stuff, so that it's become primarily a distribution market rather than a redistribution market - part of the problem rather than part of the solution. But it trips over this lightly, as if it doesn't really matter. It doesn't look at the antecedents of the product service system - after all, renting is hardly new. In the 1970s most people rented their color TV's because they were expensive and tended to go wrong. And businesses of all kinds are really keen to turn their product lines into service lines, because it makes for a continuing revenue stream - look at all the rubbish warranties that they are so keen to sell us, and the pay-as-you-go models that are becoming so common for IT equipment.

It also ignores the environmental impact of services, which can be at least as damaging as stuff; consider the airline industry, or the hotel industry. Just because it doesn't fill your house doesn't mean it's not trashing the planet. Not to mention the way that so many product service systems seem to make for such rotten jobs; at least manufacturing provided some skills and some dignity. Try working in a call centre, or a materials separation facility.

And it doesn't acknowledge the consequences of its own arguments. It trumpets that it's not anti-business, or anti-capitalist. But in the absence of a philosophy that takes in production for need, not exchange and accumulation, we really do need to keep making stuff and buying it and throwing it away. Our jobs, which allow us to pay the taxes which enable the welfare state, are premised on economic activity, which is mainly the circulation of stuff. We could have another kind of economic system, but if we don't, then stopping the flow of stuff throws us all out of work.

Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable read, and I'm glad it's been written and published. I think the book will help to spread the idea and make it seem more cool and attractive - even if Botsman and her consultancy are busy helping big business to work out how to take advantage of the trend. It's down to us to make sure that collaborative consumption becomes an element in the construction of a new genuinely human economy, rather than a cosmetic layer on the old one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Culture changing, 9 May 2011
This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
Excellent book with a story to tell that will encompass everyone's lives in future. A must-read and a geart investment in time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and highly readable, 18 Mar 2011
I've just finished reading this book: it's thought-provoking and highly readable. Many of its peers are the former, but rarely the latter, and for this reason I'll admit that I was putting off reading it, even though it's a must read for me. So I was pleasantly surprised when I read it cover to cover in a day: couldn't put it down.

First of all it lays out the context for the need for change: why we're in this un-sustainable mess and why it doesn't need to be this way. Then it leads you through the major ways we can reduce consumption: product service systems (new services like car clubs and ride sharing), redistribution markets (ebay, freecycle, swapping) and collaborative lifestyles (co-working, landsharing). What distinguishes it from so many earnest tomes telling us to reduce waste, reduce consumption, be good and wear a hairshirt, is that it understands that this revolution has to be lead by consumer demand and great design, and that excellent profits are there to be made by companies who understand this. Given the enormity of the issues facing our planet, it is also hugely optimistic.

I found the sections on trust particularly useful and I'm waiting to see the first reputation platform emerge, bringing together our reputations on ebay, zopa, couchsurfing, relayrides etc. For me the only area of sharing that wasn't really covered was the creation of private syndicates and sharing of large assets between small groups of private individuals.

There must be two editions of the book as the one I read did cover many UK/European websites.

If you want to do your bit for the planet, understand the role of the internet plays in this, or find out where your company should be heading, I strongly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars information junkies paradise!, 17 July 2014
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Considering the book is encouraging us to live as a community it doesn't ever force you to believe in their views, it simply offers the facts and reasons why it is considered the future. I would recommend the boom to anyone who is wanting to expand their world and view on design, in particular a budding designer. There were some sections which I felt were repeated over but never fully explained, which allows the user to then g on and expand their own reading but for me I like it all in one place. An easy read for those info junkies out there! Would recommend!
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4.0 out of 5 stars great insight, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
really interesting read on how to create a more sustainable world with extensive case studies on various shared economy businesses
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing read, 11 Jan 2014
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amazing book that really made me think about how i use things and how i can reduce my impact on the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Collaborative Consumption, 7 Sep 2013
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This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
A new trend that has been gathering pace for some time now. Botsman gives an excellent overview and in depth look at the growing trend. I see it as having a huge impact as it grows. If you're interesting in this subject, or just new business ideas and trends check this book out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting, 11 Jun 2013
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Very interesting indeed! I guess collaborative sharing will include a myriad of other influences that will inform the choices we make in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sharing is business, 9 Jun 2013
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This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers gives us a glimpse of the new digital markets emerging paralell with the technological development. This is a must read for every person that wants an insight in how the digital sharing change our consumer behaviour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars well done, 29 Mar 2013
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This review is from: What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Paperback)
Very plesant to read and very smart too.
Reccomended also for those of you that read english as second language like myself
thanks
alessandro
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