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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful primer on the new economics of the information age
This book is a very strong and accessible primer on the underlying economics of the information and network economy. It is NOT a bunch of speculative conjectures on the next new hyped up techno-babble concept and/or technology that will soon revolutionize the world. If you're looking for spin, whether to guide you in business choices or co-op for you own marketing,...
Published on 28 Dec 1998

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Particularly Insightful
This book says nothing new that has not been said before - such as increasing returns by Brian Arthur. The book looks at the problem of selling digital goods from the perspective of economic theory such as theory of complements and network externalities. The book is useful as a primer on economic theory with examples from the Internet space. However, there is...
Published on 16 Nov 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful primer on the new economics of the information age, 28 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
This book is a very strong and accessible primer on the underlying economics of the information and network economy. It is NOT a bunch of speculative conjectures on the next new hyped up techno-babble concept and/or technology that will soon revolutionize the world. If you're looking for spin, whether to guide you in business choices or co-op for you own marketing, you won't find it here. The point of the book is to clearly communicate economic theories that can help one make sense of the economic of the computer/internet/information economy. As such, it may seem a bit academic (though I found the real world examples provided very grounding).
I would heartily recommend it -- if you are interested in learning some concepts to help you make sense of the *NEW* economy. The authors do a great job of avoiding the typical economic jargon that makes these sorts of ideas opaque. However, like any academic book, it requires that you take the concepts you learn from it and apply them YOURSELF to the business world around us. Unlike a lot of HYPE TECHNO books, these concepts will not go OUT OF STYLE. They are basic, fundamental and informative, if you're willing to think a little bit about them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Particularly Insightful, 16 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
This book says nothing new that has not been said before - such as increasing returns by Brian Arthur. The book looks at the problem of selling digital goods from the perspective of economic theory such as theory of complements and network externalities. The book is useful as a primer on economic theory with examples from the Internet space. However, there is little insight for a budding entrepreneur about how to create new value or how to create differentiation in the web marketspace. From the marketing hype that has enveloped this book, I definitely expected more. The book was quite dry and could have used more contemporary examples.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Retrospective of Key Milestones in the Evolution of IT, 11 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
The authors provide a very interesting retrospect of some of the key milestones in the evolution of Information Technology and, more interestingly, they do it from several complementary perspectives: historical, political, social, legal, as well as technical.
If only for the number, the variety, and the significance of its examples, the Book is well worth reading. The Book is a reminder that the "breadth" of Information Technology is more than just conventional computer systems, as many of us have come to think of, and that the "depth" of Information Technology is more than just the last 50 years or less. The authors remind us that Information Technology existed well before the advent of computer systems and the age of digital recording of information in general.
The authors refer to companies and products that most of us have already heard of but they go one step beyond the mere presentation of these examples, they do analyze them and they propose explanations of the underlying principles behind the successes and the failures of the former as well as of the battles that took place.
The Book is well-written, has a good flow, shows objectivity, and provides useful backward references as well as summaries of lessons learned throughout. The authors successfully translate the lingo of Economics into layman's terms. Reading the Book is like taking a refresher class in Economics applied to Information Technology.
The one lesson learned, after reading the Book, could well be: "look back in history and look around in the various areas of Information Technology if you want to better understand what the future might hold in one specific area of Information Technology".
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5.0 out of 5 stars valuable insights, 29 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
Here are some excerpts of a review I wrote based on aprepublication copy.
Varian and Shapiro (henceforth VS) argue that economics is applicable to the Information Age, even though information has characteristics that differ from those of ordinary goods. As they put it,
"Even though technology advances breathlessly, the economic principles we rely on are durable. The examples may change, but the ideas will not go out of date." (preface, p. viii)
"markets for information will not, and cannot, look like textbook-perfect competitive markets..." (p. 22-23)
In other words, the asylum of economic analysis is still sturdy, even though it may resemble the movie "King of Hearts," in which the inmates are in charge. In this case, the inmates are phenomena that formerly were regarded as theoretical curiosities: zero marginal cost, significant complementarity, etc.
Mass-market business books instead tend to focus on providing affirmation, not information. ("You can be great, too! Here is the recipe for success!"). Many authors use jargon and metaphors to try to make their ideas sound more radical and important than they really are. VS offer neither chicken soup nor cyberbabble. They provide business executives with advice that is unconventional from a traditional vantage point and yet is well-grounded in economic reasoning.
As someone who finds pure intellectual curiosity sufficient motivation to read about this subject, I found "Information Rules" to be very worthwhile. The book is rich with substance, which can be conveyed only superficially in a brief review. It gave me fresh insights that helped to clarify my thinking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MICROECONOMICS OVERCOMES DISBELIEF STALLS ABOUT INFORMATION, 29 May 2004
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This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
New technologies always suffer in their development because people overestimate them in the near term and underestimate them in the long term.
INFORMATION RULES is a valuable guide to thinking through your decisions about information-based businesses.
By using microeconomics, it makes the points clearer to those who are quantitative thinkers, and more familiar to those who already know about this tool. The case histories are well done, and are varied in a way that is helpful.
Do buy, read, enjoy, and apply the valuable information in this excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Combination of Relevance and Rigor, 18 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
This book fills a critical need for rigorous analysis of the issues facing managers in the emerging information economy.
Information technologies have advanced rapidly but business knowledge has not kept up. That's why I am glad that Shapiro and Varian have taken the time to make the insights from economics more broadly accessible and relevant with this book.
This book should be required reading for business managers working with the Internet or related information technologies. I am including it on the reading lists for my MBA classes MIT.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Road map for the information economy, 19 Nov 2007
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
I first read Information Rules in 1999-2000, enjoyed it, and kept it on shelf. 8 years later, I am reading it again, it is as fresh as it was then, because it is grounded in solid theory and firm foundations, using historical examples, the authors put the new economy in perspective (i.e. it isn't that new actually!) in a very accessible and interesting manner.
As an entrepreneur, I have benefited enormously from the understanding developed due to concepts discussed, resulting in potential multi-million pounds deals, where we have managed to keep lucrative future repeat revenue generators with us, and be able to create lock-in.
Bottom line: Better understanding of information business landscape is a strategic advantage. Ability to understand the rules of Information management is crucial if one wants to succeed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Information Rules Is Good If You are A PhD Economics Student, 17 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
My best advice for anyone even thinking about buying this book is .... click on and delete the wasteful and useless business concepts this book presents. Shapiro and Varian have some good "economics classroom" ideas and if that's where you do business the book is ok. But, if you are doing business in the "real world classroom", as most of us are, this book is far from having pragmatic business reality in it. To sum it up, just another ivory tower "academic lesson" book which some Masters or Doctoral Business student can cite in their thesis. This is certainly not a book that a Warren Buffet would come within a mile of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A no-nonsense guide to the information economy, 19 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
I have to admit that I am a biased reviewer, I used Hal Varian's economics textbooks and found them to be complete and interesting guides to economic theory. Like those books, "Information Rules" takes the mystery out of recent economic developments by stripping away the jargon and obfuscation that is common in so many popular business textbooks. The authors expect the reader to participate in the learning process, but with a little patience and effort the reader is rewarded with a rather deep understanding of the opportunities and pitfalls of the "new" economy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MICROECONOMICS OVERCOMES DISBELIEF STALLS ABOUT INFORMATION, 30 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Hardcover)
New technologies always suffer in their development because people overestimate them in the near term and underestimate them in the long term. INFORMATION RULES is a valuable guide to thinking through your decisions about information-based businesses. By using microeconomics, it makes the points clearer to those who are quantitative thinkers, and more familiar to those who already know about this tool. The case histories are well done, and are varied in a way that is helpful.
Do buy, read, enjoy, and apply the valuable information in this excellent book.
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Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy by Hal R Varian (Hardcover - 1 Dec 1998)
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