Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FREE - Book #79

Title Free: The Future of a Radical Price
Author Chris Anderson
Genre Business Nonfiction
Pages 254
Publisher Hyperion
Copyright 2009

PLEASE NOTE: True to the concepts presented in this book you can get most if not all of the content online for free. Just click on the author's name above and it will take you to his web-site. Frome there you can easily access various means of getting the book.

Synopsis (from web-site)
We all know free--it's a trick that marketers use. But free is changing. When you think about it, there are two economies, one of atoms and one of bits. In the atoms economy, which is to say most of the stuff around us, things tend to get more expensive over time. But in the bits economy, which is the online world, things get cheaper. The atoms economy is inflationary, while the bits economy is deflationary.

The 20th Century was primarily an atoms economy. The 21st Century will be equally a bits economy. This book is about the differences between 20th Century free and 21st Century free--free moving from a marketing trick to a new economic model.

Anything free in the atoms economy must be paid for by something else, which is why so much traditional free feels like bait and switch--it's you paying, one way or another. But free in the bits economy can be really free, with money often taken out of the equation altogether. People are rightly suspicious of free in the atoms economy, and rightly trusting of free in the bits economy. Intuitively, they understand the difference between the two, and why free works so well online.

Today the online world is a country-sized economy built of free. The most interesting business models are in finding ways to make money around free. Sooner or later every company is going to have to figure out how to use free or compete with free, one way or another. My book is about how to do that.

Why I read It
I read Anderson's previous book The Long Tail and liked it, plus the cover stood out. I am always checking the new shelf for business type books - we are what we do. Plus he has 5 kids - so I am not the only one.

The Good
Anderson lays out his theory in a straight forward easy to unstand manner. Also he uses a ton of examples to make his point, insomuch you cannot not get his meaning.

The Bad
Very radical that it might be a bit extreme to be believed. And as with anything radical everyone can always think of an exception to the rule exmple, whether they are helpful or not.

The Ugly (my opinion)
Fun thought provoking book. It got my creative mind flowing about free business models. I like the way he expressed prices have a ground floor (typically free) and whatever you do to keep them up from that is fighting gravity. Remember this rule, gravity will always win. I also like the illustration of those who are among the world's richest who have made their fortunes from a free business model.

The Truth? (other reviews)
The New Yorker
The New York Times
Washington Post

Mormon Mentions

Author Biography

I'm the editor of Wired Magazine and the author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More and FREE: The Future of a Radical Price.

I live in Berkeley, CA, with my wife and five children.

I'm also the co-founder of BookTour, which is responsible for the book tour information you may have noticed on author pages here at Amazon (they're a minority investor in the company).

In my spare time, I have a hobby-gone-wrong in the form of an aerial robotics company called DIY Drones. We develop open source unmannaned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which some people find thrilling and others find worrying. You can make up your own mind:

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