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We-Think: Mass innovation, not mass production: The Power of Mass Creativity Paperback – 18 Feb 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Paperback, 18 Feb 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (18 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861978928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861978929
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,145,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Likely to be the most controversial book about the Internet to be published in Britain this year...Leadbeater's We-Think is definitely an important book, even for sceptics like me...I urge you to read it. (Andrew Keen Independent)

...'this is a highly accessible and stimulating introduction to a set of trends that are still very much in their early stages. We should all be thinking a lot harder about where they will lead. (www.charliebeckett.org)

Leadbeater - with the help of his hundreds of online collaborators - has written an excellent intelligent and comprehensive guide to the labyrinth of bewildering ways in which a truly revolutionary era is unfolding.


(Sunday Telegraph)

...brilliantly comprehensive guide to the revolutionary era of IT... this book is unbeatable.... Like the phenomenon it describes, it's a mind-boggling but essential user's manual for modern life.


(Seven)

The new wizard of the web... We-think is a riveting guide to a new world...The seer has spoken.


(Spectator)

I was gripped by Charled Leadbeater's erudition and passion for the subject...Leadbeater's book should be compulsory reading for all who seek to understand the driving force of this century.


(Management Today)

A love letter to the web's emergent culture of sharing.


(Daily Telegraph)

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

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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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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