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The Penguin and the Leviathan: The Triumph of Cooperation Over Self-Interestby Yochai Benkler
Synopses & Reviews
What do Wikipedia, Zip Car’s business model, Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and a small group of lobster fishermen have in common? They all show the power and promise of human cooperation in transforming our businesses, our government, and our society at large. Because today, when the costs of collaborating are lower than ever before, there are no limits to what we can achieve by working together.
For centuries, we as a society have operated according to a very unflattering view of human nature: that, humans are universally and inherently selfish creatures. As a result, our most deeply entrenched social structures – our top-down business models, our punitive legal systems, our market-based approaches to everything from education reform to environmental regulation - have been built on the premise that humans are driven only by self interest, programmed to respond only to the invisible hand of the free markets or the iron fist of a controlling government.
In the last decade, however, this fallacy has finally begun to unravel, as hundreds of studies conducted across dozens of cultures have found that most people will act far more cooperatively than previously believed. Here, Harvard University Professor Yochai Benkler draws on cutting-edge findings from neuroscience, economics, sociology, evolutionary biology, political science, and a wealth of real world examples to debunk this long-held myth and reveal how we can harness the power of human cooperation to improve business processes, design smarter technology, reform our economic systems, maximize volunteer contributions to science, reduce crime, improve the efficacy of civic movements, and more.
For example, he describes how:
• By building on countless voluntary contributions, open-source software communities have developed some of the most important infrastructure on which the World Wide Web runs
• Experiments with pay-as-you-wish pricing in the music industry reveal that fans will voluntarily pay far more for their favorite music than economic models would ever predic
• Many self-regulating communities, from the lobster fishermen of Maine to farmers in Spain, live within self-regulating system for sharing and allocating communal resources
• Despite recent setbacks, Toyota’s collaborative shop-floor, supply chain, and management structure contributed to its meteoric rise above its American counterparts for over a quarter century.
• Police precincts across the nation have managed to reduce crime in tough neighborhoods through collaborative, trust-based, community partnerships.
A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of cooperation in 21st century life, The Penguin and the Leviathan not only challenges so many of the ways in which we live and work, it forces us to rethink our entire view of human nature.
Work is changing. Speed and flexibility are more in demand than ever before thanks to an accelerating knowledge economy and sophisticated communication networks. These changes have forced a mass rethinking of the way we coordinate, collaborate, and communicate. Instead of projects coming to established teams, teams are increasingly converging around projects. These and#147;all-edge adhocraciesand#8221; are highly collaborative and mostly temporary, their edge coming from the ability to form links both inside and outside an organization. These nimble groups come together around a specific task, recruiting personnel, assigning roles, and establishing objectives. When the work is done they disband their members and take their skills to the next project.
Spinuzzi offers for the first time a comprehensive framework for understanding how these new groups function and thrive. His rigorous analysis tackles both the pros and cons of this evolving workflow and is based in case studies of real all-edge adhocracies at work. His provocative results will challenge our long-held assumptions about how we should be doing work.
About the Author
Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard University. Since the 1990s, he has been a leading scholar in the role of collaboration in information technology, business, society, and culture, and his work has been featured in The Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Time Magazine. His previous book, The Wealth of Networks, was named best business book about the future by Strategy + Business Magazine.
Table of Contents
1and#160;and#160;and#160; Becoming All Edge
2and#160;and#160;and#160; What Are All-Edge Adhocracies?
3and#160;and#160;and#160; Stage Management: The Case of Nonemployer Firms
4and#160;and#160;and#160; The Foundation of All-Edge Adhocracies: Organizational Networks
5and#160;and#160;and#160; Working Alone, Together: The Case of Coworking
6and#160;and#160;and#160; The Dynamic Structure of All-Edge Adhocracies: Activities
7and#160;and#160;and#160; Lone Wolves: The Case of Search Engine Optimization
8and#160;and#160;and#160; The Configurations of All-Edge Adhocracies: Hierarchies, Markets, Clans, and Networks
9and#160;and#160;and#160; The Work of All-Edge Adhocracies: The Three Integrations
10and#160; The Future of All-Edge Adhocracies
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