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Book Review - "Wikinomics"

"Wikinomics" by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.

Yesterday I blogged a little about web tools and sites that might be of interest to readers. Wikinomics is a book that explores how companies today can tap into the collective wisdom of large numbers of people through the power of the internet.

Wikipedia is probably the best known wiki, and it is an online dictionary that is created collaboratively by a large number of people. Part of its power is that as language changes, so too can the explanations in the dictionary. A wiki is one tool that allows many people to share ideas and concepts towards a common goal.

Wikinomics explains all the forces at play that make this phenomena timely, and talks about the collaboration tools, "weapons of mass collaboration", that are available.

The book explores the ways in which collaboration can be harnessed to help companies grow and prosper. Some obvious recent examples of collaborative efforts that have led to corporate success include MySpace, Flickr and Second Life. YouTube might be the ultimate example having recently been bought by Google for $1.65 Billion. It too was developed through a collaborative user community over the course of about 2 years.

Obviously the book is designed to promote this concept and takes pains to explain why traditional companies will be replaced by sharing and peer production. My life experiences would suggest that somewhere in the middle lies the answer ... the internet has supposed to be the death knell to many industries, but has become an alternate source of solutions rather than a replacement.

All in all, this is a must read book if you want to keep abreast of forces that have the ability to be disruptive to industries. It should also give some pause for thought to those strategic thinkers who are looking for ways to differentiate. I also think that Tapscott is always worth a read because he has focused on the IT industry and our ability to affect the world.