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on 15 October 2010
MACROWIKINOMICS is an interesting read and gives a good overview of the ways in which collaboration is changing the social and business landscape. As another reviewer has pointed out, the book tends to be repetitive and is, to a large extent, a "re-make" of the authors' previous book.

The authors are relentlessly optimistic in their view that mass collaboration will have positive social, economic and even environmental impacts. The title of this book could well have been "How Wikinomics will Save the World."

I found the discussion and examples interesting, but in many cases a bit far-fetched. I wasn't very taken by the argument that open collaboration offers viable solutions in areas like financial system innovation and healthcare, for example. It seems to me that this raises obvious issues with security and privacy, and these concerns weren't adequately addressed.

In general, I think the authors' optimism may be appropriate when Wikinomics is viewed as a strategy for a particular business. But when the idea is expanded to the "macro" level a more balanced analysis is required. In a book that runs to 380 pages of text, only about 15 pages are devoted to a section at the very end entitled "The Dark Side of MacroWikinomics."

And there clearly is a "Dark Side." As the authors point out, mass collaboration is most often done on a volunteer basis, and it therefore can destroy paying jobs. The authors seem to think that the Linux story offers a reason to be optimistic; they point out that while contributors are unpaid, they all have day jobs as software developers. I don't think that extends very well to other areas. For example, Wikipedia has clearly diminished the prospects for commercial encyclopedias, even though the quality of the material often falls short of what you would find in a commercial product.

Another implicit assumption is that the primary impact of future progress in technology is going to be increased collaboration between people. I think that Wikinomics generally misses the potential for technology to become increasingly autonomous and start actually doing a great deal of work -- rather than simply enabling groups of people to do it.

For a broader look at the impact of technology on the future economy and job market, I'd also suggest reading this book: The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future (Also has a Kindle Version).

"MacroWikinomics" is certainly worth reading, but the reader should be aware that it offers a limited and one-sided analysis.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 18 October 2010
Those who have read Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2008) already know this about Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams: they favor the "open" organizational model based on three basic principles: transparency, inclusiveness, and collaboration. Refinements of that model can (and often do) reflect the influence of Charles Darwin (e.g. the concept of a process of natural selection) and Joseph Schumpeter (e.g. the concept of creative destruction). Those who wish to learn more about the model itself are urged to check out two books by Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation and pen Business Models.

What differentiates this book from its predecessor? Tapscott and Williams have extended their scope, as indicated in this passage when they observe that "a powerful new form of economic and social innovation" is sweeping across all sectors and, indeed, all continents, "one where people with drive, passion, and expertise take advantage of new Web-based tools to get more involved in making the world more prosperous, just, and sustainable." In a phrase, "global wikinomics." That is to say, Tapscott and Williams have extended the scope and depth of mass collaboration to include any/all social networks that agree to be connected and interactive.

A agree with them that there is indeed an "historic opportunity to marshal human skill, ingenuity, and intelligence on a mass scale to reevaluate and reposition many of our institutions for the coming decades and for future generations." This will require massive and - here's the greatest challenge - simultaneous collaborative transformation of all traditional institutions (e.g. social, political, educational, and financial). I also agree with French president Nicholas Sarkozy's assertion, "This is not just a global financial crisis, it is a crisis of globalization."

Other reviewers criticize the book for providing more "what" than "how" and I think they have a point. That said, I also believe that it would be extremely difficult - if not impossible - for anyone to explain how "global wikinomics" can be institutionalized by collaboration between and among national regimes that include monarchies, tyrannies, democracies, oligarchies, and tribal cultures. My rating is explained by three reasons that I admire this book:

1. It makes a strong case for understanding problems that exist today and will almost certainly become worse.

2. It also makes a strong case for understanding how to solve those problems with resources that did not exist or were insufficient until recently (e.g. technologies that support social networks).

3. It provides the authors' passionate and compelling affirmation of their faith that the "new future" they envision can indeed be forged.

Tapscott and Williams conclude, "Three hundred years ago Martin Luther called the printing press `God's highest act of grace.' With today's communications breakthroughs we have an historic occasion to reboot business and the world using wikinomics principles as our guide. Because each of us can participate in this new renaissance, it is surely an amazing time to be alive. Hopefully we will have the collective wisdom to seize the time."

I include this last passage to indicate that this book is not at operations manual; rather, it is a manifesto. Tapscott and Williams are pilgrims on a mission and they invite their reader to join them.
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Fantastic book! Insights in a broad range of sectors and inovations and a call to 're-boot' our institutions. e.g. the first wave of digital 'e-government' has simply 'paved the cow paths' - 'focussing on automating existing processes and moving existing government services online'. Required reading for any serious disruptive innovators in a world where most people and systems 'don't (or can't), get it'!
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on 5 January 2011
The subtitle of this book, Rebooting busininess and the world doesnt go far enough; Indeed what the book actually talks about is working on a different platform; a different structure; one that allows for harnessing relationships in a way that is far more valuable and changes the paradigm on which we do business.
The book highlights some of the outmoded economic thinking that we still work from, paying it full respect for being the vehicle that helped us build the world we have today and pointing out where it is now getting in the way of progress and is causing many of the problems that we face as a The authors then go on to give examples of where alternative paradigms have created different structures, different platforms on which to operate and which have the capacity to fully respect the earth and to narrow, rather than widen the gap between rich and poor.
Logically argued, written in a lively manner and crammed with information and ideas this book shows how we can transcend and include our old paradigm of economy in order to create a new world order.
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Welcome to your new world, courtesy of the digital revolution. Sorry, but you won't be able to skate by as a passive, disinterested observer. Figuratively, the Internet is forcing you to get involved. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams focus on how the online community's "mass collaboration" is changing political and civic institutions. In this follow-up to their bestseller "Wikinomics", the authors explain why technology and social media may hold the answers to some of the world's most pressing problems. Written in a witty, sharp style, their book covers the Web 2.0 waterfront, describing how groups in industry, education, science, finance, medicine and government are creating value from "networked intelligence." getAbstract recommends this cogent, all-encompassing guide to the digital future but warns readers of "Wikinomics" to brace themselves for some repetition. Start reading soon, because change is accelerating every second.
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on 20 April 2011
In the beginning there was Wikinomics, and now we have Macrowikinomics, or Wikinomics 2.0. Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams have come back with a followup to their global hit, by writing Macrowikinomics. Taking a more practical viewpoint to the topics and themes proposed in their previous book, Tapscott and Williams reinforce the original premise that due to the globalisation that is sweeping the planet, collaboration on an immense scale is the way forwards.

With the same level of engaging detail, Macrowikinomics delves into a collaborative world where fundamental problems are solved and people are at the centre of it all. There are chapters devoted to application of this collaboration, focussing on education, governmental processes, highlighting individuals and companies who are putting this philosophy into practice.

There is the story of Zipcar who rent out vehicles for short periods of time. In the time that they have been operational, users have not bought their own cars because the maths makes it more cost effective. There are limitations to the concept, but the market is redefining the break-even positions with respect to (in this case) ordinary domesic vehicle usage.

Macrowikinomics is a book that re-energises your belief that there are things that can be done to stimulate the economy, and at the heart of it is a simple engine. You, the small business owner can harness the power of the crowd and the community to make life better and easier for those that need your goods or services.

If you liked Wikinomics, then Macrowikinomics will not disappoint you. Tapscott and Williams have created a book for the new world economy that draws on the experiences and skills of the wider community. This engagement in the marketplace will have far reaching effects in the communities that involve themselves - making them feel as though their efforts are rewarded, and that they can say `I made that' or `I solved that'.
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