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Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything Hardcover – Apr 22 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; Expanded edition (April 22 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841937
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #396,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The word "wiki" means "quick" in Hawaiian, and here author and think tank CEO Tapscott (The Naked Corporation), along with research director Williams, paint in vibrant colors the quickly changing world of Internet togetherness, also known as mass or global collaboration, and what those changes mean for business and technology. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia written, compiled, edited and re-edited by "ordinary people" is the most ubiquitous example, and its history makes remarkable reading. But also considered are lesser-known success stories of global collaboration that star Procter & Gamble, BMW, Lego and a host of software and niche companies. Problems arise when the authors indulge an outsized sense of scope-"this may be the birth of a new era, perhaps even a golden one, on par with the Italian renaissance, or the rise of Athenian democracy"-while acknowledging only reluctantly the caveats of weighty sources like Microsoft's Bill Gates. Methods for exploiting the power of collaborative production are outlined throughout, an alluring compendium of ways to throw open previously guarded intellectual property and to invite in previously unavailable ideas that hide within the populace at large. This clear and meticulously researched primer gives business leaders big leg up on mass collaboration possibilities; as such, it makes a fine next-step companion piece to James Surowiecki's 2004 bestseller The Wisdom of Crowds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Anyone who has done even a modest amount of browsing on the Internet has probably run across Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia that now dwarfs the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica. This is the prime example of what is called the new Web, or Web 2.0, where sites such as MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, and even the Human Genome Project allow mass collaboration from participants in the online community. These open systems can produce faster and more powerful results than the traditional closed proprietary systems that have been the norm for private industry and educational institutions. Detractors claim that authentic voices are being overrun by "an anonymous tide of mass mediocrity," and private industry laments that competition from the free goods and services created by the masses compete with proprietary marketplace offerings. The most obvious example of this is Linux, the open-source operating system that has killed Microsoft in the server environment. But is this a bad thing? Tapscott thinks not; and as a proponent of peering, sharing, and open-source thinking, he has presented a clear and exciting preview of how peer innovation will change everything. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 6 2007
Format: Hardcover
Think of this book more as reporting of where the world was in 2005 than analysis and direction for the future. But Wikinomics is a helpful resource to have, for most people are unaware of the extent to which self-organization through mass communication is being developed. Some of the successes are spectacular like the Goldcorp contest to locate more gold (which I described in The Ultimate Competitive Advantage in 2003) and Procter & Gamble's astonishing efforts to acquire technology from outside the organization (which I describe in The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution).

The strength of the book is that several different aspects of on-line mass collaborations are developed including:

1. Open collaborations to produce collective results not owned by anyone including Wikipedia and Linux.

2. Accessing more expert knowledge through idea markets (such as Goldcorp and P&G have done).

3. Customers being able to participate in detailed customization past what the vendor facilitates (basically a blurring of company-customer boundaries).

4. Knowledge transfer among the scientific community.

5. Methods of opening access to partners, especially for complementary software development.

6. Global production methods.

7. New ways of facilitating work in combination with those outside the organization.

If you are like me, you'll learn about some examples that you didn't before and find yourself feeling better informed.

The book has two annoying qualities that you should be aware of. First, the authors are very generous with each other in giving credit for ideas generated in the nondigital world by others.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nenadov on May 28 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book intends to show how new collaborative technologies are changing the way things work in business. It stresses the point that people and corporations need to adapt or be left behind. It speaks about things like the Open Source movement and how Web 2.0 requires some new perspectives on business and success. It contrasts archaic ways of doing business with the new "open" ways that are powering current developments in the market. It covers many case studies about businesses that have shown remarkable ability to adopt and embrace this new collaboration.

I found myself part way through this book with very negative feelings about it. It all seemed rather hype-driven to me. The authors talk very optimistically about the new "Golden Era" of Wikinomics and collaboration. It is loaded with platitudes and strange usage of words such as "huckstering", "ecosystems", "consultantese", "successism", etc. It seemed to be a large pile of "purple prose". I also found some technically inaccurate statements, such as the part about XML and tagging. There is also some questionable usage of the term "open source", even to the point where the book at one point states that Microsoft is adopting open source. I don't remember the exact words, but that is basically what they implied. That is not true. Microsoft is, in reality, trying to appear more transparent about what they are doing and are releasing some source code. From what I understand, the Windows source code has always been available to whoever is willing to sign a draconian contractual agreement. But that is not open source. Open source involves releasing source code on some very specific terms, which mere distribution of sources doesn't necessarily satisfy. Even Microsoft marketing moguls know enough to distinguish between this and "open source".
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By David Brett on Feb. 6 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don Tapscott has done it again. He has beheld what we see happening all around us on the Internet and made sense of it from a business perspective. And he's again displayed his rare ability to distill a huge concept into a single word. (Buzzwords are with us for a reason: we need them as shorthand for new and complex ideas.)

Wikinomics is mainly about innovation and how web-based collaboration is driving it. Also, the book speaks to organizational dynamics and how the web is eating away at traditional hierarchies. This book should be a warning to companies that still think instant messaging is a nuisance and a threat to security. That's wrongheaded, according to the authors.

As the founder of the world's first eBay for knowledge, Knexa, I have a keen interest in what Tapscott calls "idea agoras," web-based exchange systems that facilitate the transfer of knowledge and/or intellectual property for financial consideration. Although such business models have been around for several years (Knexa launched in 1999), the space is still in its infancy and will continue to evolve.

Also, as an executive in the mining industry, I was pleased to see the example of Gold Corp used as an example of cutting edge innovation through web-based collaboration. Mining is typically seen as a knowledge economy Neanderthal, the quintessential "old economy" industry. But people in the business know better. It's extremely knowledge centric.

But when it comes to sharing knowledge to gain competitive advantage, the mining business is no different than the rest of the business world, where most would rather take their IP to the grave than "collaborate" with a competitor. But as Wikinomics points out, some companies are realizing that there's opportunity where others fear to tread.

David H Brett, CEO, Knexa, CEO, Cusac Gold Mines Ltd.
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