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Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by [Shirky, Clay]
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Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Shirky is an original thinker, a compelling stylist ... a sage with a remarkable record of accuracy. Cognitive Surplus is a manifesto for what's next - or what ought to be (Independent )

Lucid and assured ... the most amazing fact about Shirky's incisive manual for building a better world is this: it's just possible that everything he promises may be true (Guardian )

Shirky is the best chronicler we have of the unfolding cultural revolution brought on by the web (New Statesman )

Review

Lucid and assured ... the most amazing fact about Shirky's incisive manual for building a better world is this: it's just possible that everything he promises may be true Guardian Shirky is the best chronicler we have of the unfolding cultural revolution brought on by the web New Statesman

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 709 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XVYESW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #293,524 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shirky's theme is that many of the social and even private behaviours which we take for granted as 'human nature' are in fact adaptations to information restrictions or costs. And those restrictions are now gone! His conclusion is that we now have the opportunity to restructure our society, our conception of the state, and actually, our conception of our own potentialities. A rare argument for rational optimism, and a call to action. Bravo!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I decided to read this book as it was recommended by a fellow web professional as a must read for people in our field. He was right on as there are so many books available on the subject, it can get confusing.

It's not a how to guide to social media - more of a philosophy about the digital age. I gained loads of insights and so will you, hence me writing this review so that I am social networking the good word!

It also made me stop and think about my 'free time' and how I choose to use it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Was good, but got repetative after about 150 pages - could have stopped there and still learned as much. Worth a read otherwise tho.
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Format: Hardcover
From the beginning this book presents everyday knowledge about old and new media. And to present in a "fresh" way C. Shirky spices it up with a LOT of real life examples like we know it from "The Tipping Point" etc. but this time more boring than ever. I was enjoying his last book, but don't expect any individual new thoughts in this book. It smells of money and I guess that's why it was printed.
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Format: Hardcover
I read Here Comes Everybody, read the Amazon crits and looked forward to Cognitive Surplus which I've just read. This is a review and comment on this second book.
Here Comes Everybody was a bit heavy going, but set up the fact that Prof S has an understanding of how our society is changing, particularly the way in which the internet has enabled Wikipedia footsoldiers (shorthand for the reasonably educated silent majority) to make a more useful contribution to society than merely editing our international free encyclopaedia.

That is what they are doing and that, I believe, is the essential message of Cognitive Surplus: we have brainpower to spare and we want to make our world a better place. Clay Shirky describes in great detail what is happening out there. There are some wonderful (my choice of adjective) developments as vested interests, record companies, cabals, software and hardware moguls, restrictive groups (include any authoritarian church you care to mention) and monopolies are forced to bow to the will of the Majority, the people who throughout history have had to accept the will of the various oligarchies that control them.

Things are still like that, but in Shirky's neck of the woods and mine, the winds of change are running fast. I'd love to tell you about how in Britain right now (November 2010) TV audiences have discovered they have the power to disrupt the voting systems that are supposed to deliver safe and satisfying public participation TV programmes. This is really grist to Clay Shirky's mill and maybe he'll tell us what this is all about in his next book. Keep writing, sir.
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Format: Paperback
Like the equally excellent "Here Comes Everybody" (HCE) by the same author, this is about social media. In HCE he concentrated on how social media is empowering people in ways that are both challenging to corporate and government power, and liberating the forward thinking companies who are ready and able to embrace this.

Cognitive Surplus picks up from where HCE left off, and discusses how we can use the power to "do good" that has been released due to have more leisure time in modern culture. Just like social media has empowered people to challenge centralised authority (HCE) so it has freed us to be more effective in our altruism. The sub title says it all "creativity and generosity in a connected age".

The book surveys the enabling factors (means, motive and opportunity), showing how social media powerfully adds in each of these areas, and also looks at culture, community and individualism (and the tensions therein). Finally Shirky deals with how this has come to pervade modern life and culture and how it's changing us.

Perhaps one omission is that he doesn't deal very much with the negative side - social media can be an equally pwerful tool in the hands of those less altruistic: cyber-bullying, paedophilia, etc., being at the darker end of the spectrum.

As ever Shirky is always readable, well researched and challenging. This is a "must read" for anyone interested in social media.
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Format: Hardcover
Shirky grasps evidence from anywhere to reinforce his conviction that the Internet is truly a force for good, encompassing the virtues of creativity, morality and community when the reality is often far from this. Whilst he sometimes succeeds in being convincing, he doesn't seem to notice that his examples are exceptional rather than the rule, or that lolcat and other activities like them give the impression of creativity whilst being the height of banality. Some dire logic, and too often he makes impossibly attenuated arguments from scant evidence. Shirky thinks he knows why some things fail and some succeed on the Web, and his sanguine view of how the Internet will improve us is, in the end, superficial and partial. Time for a critical discussion about what we trade away in the online space when we talk about communities and communication, methinks.
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