The Waki World of Macrowikinomics

Macrowikinomics is the new book from Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, authors of 2007’s “best-selling management book in the United States” Wikinomics. It proclaims the end of the industrial mode of production, that “centralized, one-way, one-size-fits-all mass model controlled by the powerful owners of production and society”. The authors tell us that “The world is broken and the industrial economy and many of its industries and organizations have finally run out of gas”.

But “don’t look to big government or big corporations to supply the answers.” The way forward is Internet-driven mass collaboration, for example “ordinary people everywhere are connecting to create a mass movement that is bringing greater awareness and sense of community to the process of making household and business decisions that can reduce our carbon footprints.”

It’s all relentlessly populist and anti-establishment, so there is something wackily wonderful about this list of endorsers on the book’s web site.

  • CEO of Dell Inc
  • President and CEO of Transparency International-USA
  • Professor at the University of Michigan
  • Chairman and CEO of ONEX
  • CEO of Intergroup Financial Services Corporation, Peru
  • Chief Scientist, BT Group PLC
  • Executive Vice President, Scotia Capital
  • Executive Vice President, Best Buy
  • CIO, Procter & Gamble
  • CEO, Celestica
  • Co-CEO, SAP (and now my boss)
  • Vice President, Yale University
  • Chairman, Spencer Trask & Company
  • CEO, Juniper Networks
  • President EMEA, Dupont,
  • CEO, SAS Institute
  • Chairman and CEO, OgilvyOne
  • President and CEO, Business for Social Responsibility
  • CEO, Swift
  • CEO, Google
  • CEO, Heidrick & Struggles
  • Chairman and CEO, Manpower
  • Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
  • CEO, Best Buy
  • Chairman and CEO, Accenture
  • CEO, Nike

Now if there’s one thing that pisses me off, it’s people who don the mantle of rebellion and anti-corporate populism while promoting the commercialization of our public sphere and the commodification of our private lives, and I suspect that’s exactly what is going on here.

MacroWikinomics has received a lot of publicity, so I’m off to the local bookshop to get a copy tomorrow, and if it lives down to my expectations then watch this space for a page-by-page Macrocritical Reader’s Companion to Macrowikinomics, the long-delayed
sequel to my Critical Reader’s Companion to the Long Tail from a couple of years ago.

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  1. We’ll bring this book in for you as quick as we can, and look forward to your review. šŸ™‚

  2. Can’t wait to read your Macrocritical Reader’s … its going to me a more better read than the original.

  3. So here I am, obviously expecting to be intensely critical of the book, and you’re going to be polite about it? Now I’ll look ungenerous, rude, and abrasive if I do disagree. Unless… that’s your plan? Aha! Very cunning.
    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Iā€™m not being devious or ironic; I really do hope you enjoy the book.
    BTW, Anthony and I welcome open debate about our ideas. In Macrowikinomics, we challenge a lot of institutions and long-held beliefs. We fully expect criticism from the status quo as well as those who disagree with our core beliefs (such as those who think that climate change is a myth). Our book is based on years of primary research and we interviewed hundreds of the smartest people in the world. Personally I’ve been writing books about this topic for 30 years and this is my most important work.
    We welcome a review from you. All we ask is that you approach the task with an open mind, though rather than going into the exercise predisposed to being cynical.
    If you want to set up a personal interview with me to discuss the book, please do so through Jody Stevens (she can be reached through

  5. Thanks for the response. I wasn’t really accusing you of being cunning – just a bad joke on my part. I will definitely approach it with an open mind – although with opinions too of course. As the author of a book (which few people reviewed or discussed, sadly) I appreciate how much effort goes into it.

  6. I’ve had a few books like that myself…going back 1981. People said to me that I was wrong that computers would be used my normal people as a communications tool because “only secretaries will learn to type..”

  7. Don,
    I guess that tomslee had got the message and will review the book fairly, let aside any cynicism.
    Whatever he could agree or disagree on, you’ve already launch the ball.
    One can get it and pass it on, one can look the other way. This is a natural and it doesn’t downplay the core message that there are massive shifts in the ways people feel, sense, can act, do things, and … spread the word.
    I’ve come across reviews on Amazon, and beside some little remarks pointing that you did not provide the ‘How-to’ (what I found astounding from seemingly highly educated reviewers), the general tone is that ‘Makrowikinomics’ has done the job as what I would describe as an ‘identifier’.
    To those remarks, I would kindly point out that the intrinseque role of such a book is to serve as a catalyser, precisely allowing to readers of all levels to just take a break and consider how they could contribute.
    As writting could be a painful exercice (and women giving birth could easily agree), critics and reviews could be a lot easier depending on what may be the motives.
    I’ve seen so much of that on the web, sometimes partly justified but how much ‘hors de propos’ to some extend. Anyway,….
    The very fact that the endorsement list is by some of the smartest if not most influencal folks could bother someone doesn’t mean that their temoignage are worthless.
    These folks have been raised to achieve in particular and highly competitive settings, and they’ve done their parts at what was asked to them: succeed. There is nothing wrong at that.
    Should they therefore agree to the beliefs and vision Makrowikinomics is trying to set up and spread (not to mention the core underlying fact that mankind should have a meaning) is to my humble opinion akind of step forward.
    For the benefit of all, we the people šŸ™‚ need them too.
    Just one thought borrowed from my readings and that makes sense following your exchange with tomslee:
    ‘At the heart of every illusion is the misplaced conception that reality is a master.’
    Greetings Tomslee for this website and thanks alot Don for the books I just found lately, and expect a personal letter from me soon.

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