Book Review: Wikinomics

Posted on: October 19, 2009
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By Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

Wikinomics, a blend of the words wiki–an online software that allows the community to edit pages collaboratively–and economics. Wikinomics is a neologism (new term) created by the authors of this book. Wikinomics occurs when there is mass collaboration and cooperation between many people to create a product or software. The result? More innovation. More democracy. And cheaper research and development costs for large companies.

There are two kinds of business books. One offers raw advice and tips. The other gives a lot of strategy and thoughts on a subject with less content focused on how to actually put those theories and advice to work. This books fits the latter. No question about that.

Wikinomics is an exhaustive study of how mass collaboration is changing business, and how online communities—and communities in the real world (or “offline world” as netizens prefer) are working together, sharing information and collaborating on projects to build better and more innovative products and software—for cheaper costs too. This is what a majority of the book’s pages are dedicated to. Near the end, the authors manage to fit in more “actionable” advice. They also discuss topics like creating online contests to encourage user-generated content and virtual microeconomics. Virtual microeconomics is when a company provides a opensource platform where users can create their own virtual content or goods and profit from it. Ring a bell? How about the virtual world SecondLife? Or South Korea’s Cyworld?

The authors have conducted extensive research for the book, but a warning to readers: it can get can dull—even boring—about fifty pages in. Unfortunately, the book contains so much research that the actual advice sometimes gets lost in the rest of the text. In addition, readers may be overwhelmed by the amount of neologism and terms. Every few pages they coin a new term. Check the book’s table of contents. You will see what I mean.

Wikinomics is still a worthwhile read, especially to entrepreneurs, business executives and professionals who prefer theory and research over quick tips and advice. Thought leadership is the best word to describe this book. It certainly is a leader in the newly created concept of wikinomics, no doubt, and offers solid advice for the future of collaboration to companies that are willing to listen and ready to take action.


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