This may be somewhat controversial, but I can’t bring myself to finish Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody.
It may be this year’s bestseller, but I am struggling to find anything new or ground-breaking between the covers. Admittedly, there are a couple of anecdotes or examples I find interesting enough to dog-ear the page, but the number of dog-eared pages is low.
As I’ve read the book some ideas I can’t help but feel I’ve read before. The chapter ‘Sharing Anchors Community’ has some dog-earring but both David Weinberger and Yochai Benkler have covered off the Internet’s challenges to institutional ecology from a more social and economic perspective.
Likewise, in the chapter Publish, then Filter, Shirky explores the idea that with massively decreased production and storage costs (specifically, the cost of publishing content via blogs) the Internet changes the media model whereby barriers to creating content disappear giving everybody (from the book’s title?) a chance to compete with hitherto professional creators/publishers etc.
I admit I’m simplifying here, but the idea the Internet is re-shaping human knowledge and the ways in which we interpret the world around us based on the growing digital (dis)order is explored in much more depth in Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous. See my review for a bit more about this.
A colleague suggested that idea to me independently when he remarked that “like all business books, it could have pruned to about five pages.”
I have to agree. There’s a lot of homely anecdotes which frankly I just find are filler. And that’s why I’ve given up two-thirds of the way through.
What do others think? Am I being too unforgiving?