MacroWikinomics: A Book I Had To Put Down

by Kevin Jones on February 7, 2011

There are bad books, good books and great books.  Bad books I don’t want to finish.  Good books I read right through and finish.  Great books I never finish or it takes a long time to do so.  Why?  Because I become inspired by an idea I must put the book down and go off on my own ideas that have flooded my brain or do more research.

MacroWikinomicsSuch is MacroWikinomics by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams.

Not, “such was” but “is” because I still have not been able to finish the book. Within the pages of the book is nothing short of world changing should the ideas be implemented.  It tackles the big issues of today: health care, academics, transportation, and government as a whole (and more) and applies the principles of wikinomics to large scale, world-wide problems.

Here are a couple of examples that inspired me.

“Rethinking the University” Being very interested in education, I had to read this section first.   I had taken my son to piano lessons and stayed in the car for a good read.  But instead of reading, I only made it past the first few pages when I had to put it down.  An idea of how to revamp the whole university system flooded my mind.  My iPad came out and I started typing.  I read a little more, and then continued typing in a fast-paced frenzy.

By the time my son had finished and come to the car I had outlined the structure around a new higher educational model.  I eventually finished that chapter and, not to my surprise, it fit right along with my model.  It was so exciting to me that it consumed my thoughts for the next few days as I refined it.  So, all is great on paper, but will it really work?  I really think it would.  But it will take much more than my efforts alone – but that is outside of the scope of the post.

“Inside the Future of Music” A love of mine, music, was the topic of another chapter.  My first understanding of what MacroWikinomic could do for music was when I saw this video.  What an incredible task!  (And the music was beautiful to boot!)  This was just the tip of the iceberg.

Don & Anthony gave some wonderful examples of how the principles of MacroWikinomics is up-heaving the music industry.  And this is one aspect I loved about the book.  They not only showed how change MIGHT happen, but how it IS happening.  They then talk about what it might take for there to be a bigger change which effects more of the mainstream, in whatever topic they discussed.  Their ideas are nothing short of radical, yet they are not so far out there that the reader can’t visualize how it might be.

Reading the chapter on music made me want to start something on my own.  (That darn sleep that gets in the way!)

I believe this paragraph sums up the book.  It, in one form or another, is repeated in each section and shows us why we are not moving along as quickly as we could.

“The problem is that media incumbents are moving too slowly.  They’re getting mired in the thick underbrush of thorny contractual agreements and outdated and costly infrastructures.  What’s worse is that the economic foundation of the industry is based on a business model suited for the era of analog publishing, not for a world of user-driven digital creation and distribution.  These institutions are powerful and deeply ingrained in the industry’s social and economic contract.  It’s hard for senior executives to imagine a world where their companies could lose control of the very resources that they have monopolized for so long” (p. 240).

After reading the book the only question is, what are YOU going to do about it?  It would be difficult to read this book and not be inspired with ideas of what to do and how to do it.  To do so would require that we move out of the “mire” that holds us in our outdated place.  Using the principles of MacroWikinomics, we just might be able to do it.

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  • Brian Driggs

    Orlly? I seldom come across such impassioned book reviews. You’ve piqued my curiosity with mention of re-thinking the university. This is something I think absolutely *must* happen – and soon.

    I’ve got some ideas in mind, but all of them would require a small army to realize. Hope you’ll be sharing some of these ideas with us. These are the ideas which must be shared far and wide so as to inspire others to join us in the movement.

    Off to browse posts here tagged ‘social learning.’


  • Kevin D. Jones

    Yes, rlly. I, too, think this must change and only wish I had the time to devote more to it. A small army? Definitely, but it CAN be done. I will share more later. Honestly I hesitate to do so because the plan in writing (at least the stage I have it in) is not nearly as great as a conversation would be about it. But I will do my best.

  • Brian Driggs

    Excellent! I’m looking forward to it, sir!

    I believe there needs to be a shift away from piling the same standardized building blocks on the backs of students, from the reliance upon rote memorization of information, to an environment – nay – culture of collaboration, where conversations are had around the ways core concepts like reading, writing, math, science, geography, and social studies support skills of a higher order such as search, critical/creative thinking, analysis, networking and logic.

    It’s a very exciting topic to consider. Thank you.

  • James M Manson

    @KEVIN JONES Just reading the book now, amazing stuff. I know exactly what you mean by “a book you have to put down”. When i’m reading I have an idea every few pages that i just have to Google.

    I was really intrigued by your mention of an idea for a new University System. I would love to hear more! You can contact me through twitter @jamesmanson

  • Kevin D. Jones

    Thank, James. I plan to do a follow up on the educational part, but not for another month yet. It will take some time to put together – out of my head and in a computer to it makes sense to others.

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