Penguin Group, 2006.

Review posted March 2007.

Wikinomics is a fascinating look at the current state of the internet revolution. The authors consider phenomena such as Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube, Linux, SecondLife, InnoCentive and more, to show that thousands of people are sharing and collaborating over the Internet. The growth of open source software, from operating systems to applications, provides exciting software alternatives for companies as well as individuals. Reference tools such as Wikipedia, created and maintained by many thousands of volunteers, offers easy access to information on many subjects, plus the ability to contribute, edit and correct material already there (at the same time making it vulnerable to misinformation -- caveat lector).

Many large employers have found it desirable to allow their employees to contribute their efforts and talents to collaborative efforts. Companies have allowed access to formerly proprietary processes and data and have been able to harness creative efforts from non-employees in a variety of ways. Businesses which adapt to the new paradigm may survive and even thrive; those that cling to older concepts of tightly held intellectual property will probably fail.

We've found the internet changing enormously rapidly during our short seven years on the road; now we can do our most productive family history work using the internet. A personal visit to the city or town where a relative lived just adds icing to the cake.

We recommend this new book most highly; it seems likely that the technological changes caused by the internet will lead to highly significant changes in the world's social structure. People, mostly young, who feel at home communicating and working with collaborators in many other countries, are virtually unaware of national boundaries. Their creations may surprise traditional governments.