Please Free Me from Reading More About “Free”
July 12, 2009 by Thad McIlroy
If, like me, you check in frequently for the “hot” topics floating around the Internet, you’ll have run into a near-nauseating avalanche of articles, reviews, blog postings, interviews and tweets about Chis Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price.” (Curiously the publisher lists the title as “Free: The Past and (emphasis mine) Future of a Radical Price,” while the past has been dropped from the published title). The book was officially published on July 7th, and is #82 on Amazon’s bestseller list.
The book originated as an article in Wired magazine (where Anderson is Editor-in-Chief) in February, 2008.
The theory of “Free” has been attacked by the bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. (The link is still live today, but may not be for free tomorrow!). This has been rebutted by Anderson on ad-supported Wired.com, and defended by Seth Godin in a blog entry called “Malcolm is Wrong.”
The book itself may be read for free on Scribd.com, but only for a few more weeks. As econsultancy.com notes, Anderson:
“is offering the full text of the book online at Scribd until August 10. But if readers want to download the contents or hold it in their hands, they’ll have to shell out for the ($27) hardcover. Anderson has also recorded two audio versions of “Free.” The full-length, six-hour version is free. But listeners will have to pay for the three-hour abridged recording.
“‘If I can give you 90% of the book in half the time, I’m giving you back three hours of your life,’ says Anderson. ‘Time is money.’”
Enough! Basta! Finito!
The point of this blog entry was to draw you to Virgina Postrel’s excellent, concise and non-inflammatory review of the book in the July 10th New York Times.
After all the bafflegab I’ve encountered in the last few weeks, Postrel’s review is an oasis of non-rhetorical and balanced calm, and reveals all you need to know about this small flash-in-the-pan.