Book review: We are smarter than me: Community written book

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Aaron gave me a pre-release copy of the book “ We are smarter than me” a couple of weeks ago at the Office 2.0 conference. Its a quick read and filled with many examples.

The most unique part of this book:

The entire book was community written – by members of the community. In their own words:

In
a time where community and social networks are starting to infiltrate
every aspect of our personal and professional lives, WE decided to test
the notion that a book of business best practices could be written by
“the crowd,” and we are excited to have participated in this
groundbreaking experiment.”

With strong backing from MIT, SharedInsights (Barry Libert), Prentice Hall and Wharton, this book was written in wiki style with hundreds of contributors.

Here’s what I really liked about the book:
1. Lots of examples. From P&G to Brewtopia, this book has a lot of “real world” examples of how companies have been able to successfully tap into the power of the community to create value.

2. Tangible case studies: Since there are many examples, you can get practical tips on how to start a community, grow and let your community thrive.

Who’s this book for?
1. If you are in  marketing, customer service, or product development in any large organization and are looking to present a case to your management team about the value of building a community, this book is a must read. It will give you a great set of case studies to present.

2. If you are interested in learning more about crowdsourcing and themes around community driven businesses this book is a good read.

3. If you are looking to write a book about social networks and communities and social media or the User generated content theme / metaphor, pick up a copy of this book as a reference or citation.

What I thought the book missed the mark on:
1. The main points were lost because of so many examples. It was not easy at all to connect the main points, key assumptions and supporting facts. Since there were many examples how customers use communities it tends to be just a lot of case studies but leaves the reader to connect the dots. Maybe there’s a sense of discovery you might get from this as a counterpoint.

2. The value of editing. I am always amazed when I see final copies of a book especially after I saw the author’s pre-release copy. Editors rock. This book would have benefited from a stronger editorial influence.

3. There’s a place for online connection, and this book missed that. I prefer books that are “living” to ones that are written once and done with. What I mean by that is when book authors continue the conversation and provide relevant links on a website that makes the book a living project. I think the website wearesmarter makes an attempt at that, but the examples could be brought to live with interviews, podcasts and updates from the companies that were featured in the examples.

Overall a very quick (2 hour or less) read. Recommend you get a copy.

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