What to Read for January 2008

What to Read for January 2008

Every month, The Next Web Blog picks three relevant books for you to read. The teasers are short, the pro’s why to read are relevant. This month The Cult of the Amateur from Andrew Keen, Cultivating Communities of Practice by Etienne Wenger and The Search from John Battelle.

The Cult of the Amateur: How today’s Internet is Killing our Culture and Assaulting our Economy

Cult of the Amateur Although I, and perhaps most visitors of this weblog, don’t agree with the arguments Andrew Keen jotted down in his Cult of the Amateur, I do consider this book as a must read because it’s always refreshing to read a deviant vision on the impact of Web 2.0. Keen argues that all web 2.0 services produce nothing but bull and he shows hard facts on how it negatively impacts today’s business and economy by raising serious privacy concerns and invading copyright. This book also shows that many web 2.0 success stories, like Wikipedia, can be interpreted from multiple angles.

Cultivating Communities of Practice

Social Networks and online communities are hot. Hyves just recently reached 5 million users in the Netherlands only and Facebook’s value is marketed around $ 15 billion. Cultivating Communities of Practice by Etienne Wenger is a managerial version of a more academic work written by the same author and describes how communities of practice, which are groups of people who share a certain passion on a specific topic, operate and how they can be cultivated. A must read for people who want to know more about the inner workings and success factors of social communities of practices.

The Search: How Google and its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business

The SearchMany books have been written about Google, but few of them describe the relevance of what Google and its Rivals accomplish so thoroughly as The Search by John Battelle. It not only describes how Google rewrote the rules of business by becoming the sole reason of existence for thousands of online companies, it also describes the potential value of the billions and billions of records of user data. It gives an interesting insight in how this data describes who we are and who we become as a society, something Battelle dubs as “The Database of Intentions”.

Update: after some comments we realized that the visitors of The Next Web Blog expect us to be visionary on new book titles as well. And you know what? You’re absolutely right! But because “older” (yeah time flies, also for books these days) titles are still relevant today, we want to include some “classic” reading as well. So next months we’ll discuss one classic and two more recent books. For now, see the responses for some more recent readings or leave your own tips in the comments!

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