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Debating FREE July 3, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Odds and Ends, Technology.

Chris Anderson has a new book coming out called FREE. As a follow-up to The Long Tail you know it’ll be quite the read, especially when even its post-publication hiccups (however inexcusable) make for an interesting case study by itself.

That and I’m hoping to score a free copy. But that’s another story.

Anyway, while reading through my RSS feeds it was interesting to note that the interweb is abuzz about the book, after a fashion. First, it appears that Malcolm Gladwell found some arguments in the book polemical in his review. Clarifying, Anderson offered a response to his esteemed contemporary in a good-natured “intellectual exchange between corporate cousins.” Apparently, that “family” has extended relations, as now Seth Godin has also joined the discussion, with the surprising declaration that “Malcolm is wrong(!)”.

It’s awesome to see this high-caliber back-and-forth between three of the leading observers of new media. In particular it’s the underlying respect that each has for the other that makes their frank exchange ideas really stand out. On its own, it’s a good example of what quality, civilized debate and discussion should be like — what in the age of internet trolling, flaming and such — and just goes to show why these three are among the best in the business.

As an aside, it’s equally awesome how RSS feeds now allow anyone to assemble their own “newspapers” (for lack of a better term) from sources around the world. Generally, a good variety of local and foreign sources makes for an interesting read. But when OPED columnists (and I consider Chris Anderson, Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin as such in my self-styled RSS “newspaper”) all gravitate towards the same topic, it gives the thing a local feel, just like a paper newspaper’s OPED section would focus on the burning issues of the day. So with news, the world has truly become smaller.

Ain’t techology great?

But enough about that. Chris Anderson. Seth Godin. Malcolm Gladwell. Three good reasons to read through this particular exchange of opinions.

[Malcolm Gladwell: Priced to Sell (The New Yorker)]

[Chris Anderson: Dear Malcolm: Why so Threatened? (The Long Tail)]

[Seth Godin: Malcolm is wrong (Seth’s Blog)]



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