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Download Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (503 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeff Howe Narrator: Kirby Heyborne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2008 ISBN: 9780739366592
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“The amount of knowledge and talent dispersed among the human race has always outstripped our capacity to harness it. Crowdsourcing ­corrects that—but in doing so, it also unleashes the forces of creative destruction.”
—From Crowdsourcing

First identified by journalist Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired article, “crowdsourcing” describes the process by which the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of the specialized few. Howe reveals that the crowd is more than wise—it’s talented, creative, and stunningly productive. Crowdsourcing activates the transformative power of today’s technology, liberating the latent potential within us all. It’s a perfect meritocracy, where age, gender, race, education, and job history no longer matter; the quality of work is all that counts; and every field is open to people of every imaginable background. If you can perform the service, design the product, or solve the problem, you’ve got the job.

But crowdsourcing has also triggered a dramatic shift in the way work is organized, talent is employed, research is conducted, and products are made and marketed. As the crowd comes to supplant traditional forms of labor, pain and disruption are inevitable.

Jeff Howe delves into both the positive and negative consequences of this intriguing phenomenon. Through extensive reporting from the front lines of this revolution, he employs a brilliant array of stories to look at the economic, cultural, business, and political implications of crowdsourcing. How were a bunch of part-time dabblers in finance able to help an investment company consistently beat the market? Why does Procter & Gamble repeatedly call on enthusiastic amateurs to solve scientific and technical challenges? How can companies as diverse as iStockphoto and Threadless employ just a handful of people, yet generate millions of dollars in revenue every year? The answers lie within these pages.

The blueprint for crowdsourcing originated from a handful of computer programmers who showed that a community of like-minded peers could create better products than a corporate behemoth like Microsoft. Jeff Howe tracks the amazing migration of this new model of production, showing the potential of the Internet to create human networks that can divvy up and make quick work of otherwise overwhelming tasks. One of the most intriguing ideas of Crowdsourcing is that the knowledge to solve intractable problems—a cure for cancer, for instance—may already exist within the warp and weave of this infinite and, as yet, largely untapped resource. But first, Howe proposes, we need to banish preconceived notions of how such problems are solved.

The very concept of crowdsourcing stands at odds with centuries of practice. Yet, for the digital natives soon to enter the workforce, the technologies and principles behind crowdsourcing are perfectly intuitive. This generation collaborates, shares, remixes, and creates with a fluency and ease the rest of us can hardly understand. Crowdsourcing, just now starting to emerge, will in a short time simply be the way things are done.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • An informed and enthusiastic guide to the new collaborative creativity. Times (London)
  • A welcome and well-written corporate playbook for confusing times. BusinessWeek
  • An engaging mix of business, sociology, organizational theory, and technology writing and fits the mold of Malcolm Gladwell’s perennial bestseller, The Tipping Point. Newsweek
  • While small groups have often been the foundation of great performance—think SWAT teams and Skunk Works—Jeff Howe has made the compelling case for the power of far larger communities of interest. He shows in Crowdsourcing—with rich illustrations from Google and InnoCentive to Threadless and Wikipedia—that the right community with the right incentives can often invent, write, and run research and business initiatives more effectively and less expensively than traditional enterprise. Michael Useem, professor of management and director of the Leadership Center at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide and The Leadership Moment
  • Beyond the wisdom of crowds is the work of crowds, a powerful and transformative source of creativity and an economic engine that defies traditional rules. Jeff Howe’s guide to crowdsourcing—to use his perfect coinage—is insightful, fun, and indispensable to those who want to understand, or participate in, this amazing phenomenon. Steven Levy, author of Hackers and The Perfect Thing
  • Jeff Howe has captured a complex and vital change in the business landscape: in the next few years, your customers could become your collaborators, or your competitors. His ability to weave story and strategy together makes Crowdsourcing a readable and indispensable guide to this new world. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott Childers | 2/1/2014

    " I think this book was good, but is already showing some age. The concepts are interesting, but some of the examples are showing their age at this point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Connor | 1/25/2014

    " If you are thinking about reading this, go read Here Comes Everybody instead. It's much better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Missy | 1/20/2014

    " Picked this up to read for work, but oh, hello, my online life, so nice to see you in print. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam Berner | 1/12/2014

    " Made lots of sense. In actual fact, it also gave me ideas on how to change how I work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kenji | 12/11/2013

    " Very well written and insightful, if not a 'page-turner'. The idea that open source methodology can be applied across so many different industries or used to solve a diverse array of problems from scientific to creative was the most valuable revelation for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mako78gma | 12/6/2013

    " Explains the phenomena of letting "everyperson" contribute to the development of you online idea. He gives examples of how the amateurs outperformed the experts in business. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salvatore Palmisano | 11/26/2013

    " As with most corporate books, this one is dry. The idea of crowdsourcing is an interesting one, and the cases the author uses are interesting, but chapter after chapter of the same examples makes for a boring read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 10/8/2013

    " While this book is now almost four years old, I believe that many businesses are still not in tune with the lessons it has to give. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miguel | 7/10/2013

    " Fluffy. Fluffy. Very fluffy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas.harrop | 12/5/2012

    " This book is pretty good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 9/6/2012

    " I thought this was a really interesting book and spot on with some of its predictions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karl | 7/24/2012

    " Howe is an excellent writer. I was effortlessly pulled in to his fervor for the subject matter with poignant examples seemingly far flung from one another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wm | 5/9/2012

    " Much better than I had expected because Howe is careful to not overhype, he presents the narratives well and frames them even better, and he's got some really great case studies to work with here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 4/8/2012

    " Business has changed and so must the ways that we interact as a business. Great book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 11/23/2011

    " An important business read-- here's the future. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Justine | 6/23/2011

    " This reads like a semi-doctoral thesis. Would appeal to the academically inclined, though for the practically inclined, nuggets were far and few in between. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 8/21/2010

    " The blithe attitude of this book gave me the chills. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy Gagnon | 7/9/2010

    " Well-written, great case studies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Ellis | 4/19/2009

    " This was a very interesting read especially for someone in the marketing industry. Using the power of the crowd effectively one can spread a product, service or an idea. We see this now with social media and with the all the new crowd funding applications like kickstarter. "

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About the Narrator

Kirby Heyborne is a musician, actor, and professional narrator. Noted for his work in teen and juvenile audio, he has garnered twenty-two Earphones Awards. His audiobook credits include Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and George R. R. Martin’s Selections from Dreamsongs.