Clay Shirky's COGNITIVE SURPLUS: how the net lets us share and do more than ever


22 Responses to “Clay Shirky's COGNITIVE SURPLUS: how the net lets us share and do more than ever”

  1. hassenpfeffer says:

    Not that BB has an equal-time policy, but for a semi-opposing viewpoint how ’bout reviewing The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr?

  2. seanpatgallagher says:

    GA!! Another Clay Shirky book and I haven’t even finished “Here Comes Everybody” yet.

    Would that be a cellulosic surplus?

    (sounds dirty)


  3. braininavat says:

    Alvin Toffler predicted the rise of what he termed the `prosumer’ (producer-consumer) in his 1984 book `The Third Wave’ (available at better garage sales everywhere). Prosumers are people who buy mass produced products to manufacture their own products to share with others. I don’t recall if he predicted the collaborative aspect but he seems to have been ahead of the curve on this.

  4. jfrancis says:

    Even if you don’t actively collaborate or share information, just seeing what is possible – what others have done – can inspire you to become better in that area. I see that a lot in art.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Cory, did you see you got a little mention in this week’s New Yawker magazine? The article is about novels for young readers, and they mention Little Brother.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I just got it in the UK via iBooks, but my iTunes store account has a USA address.

    Hmm… Wonder if a person could fake that out on a new registration?

  7. Brian Boyko says:

    I see the link on Amazon, but is there an outfit in New Zealand that sells it? Shipping here is murder…

  8. Brian Boyko says:

    Or a digital copy is fine too… though I don’t have a kindle.

  9. mwiik says:

    Hey, maybe early purchasers could transcribe a paragraph or two, and together create a pirated version.

    • jeremyhogan says:


      You’d pirate from Shirky because of Amazon’s shipping?

      Scratch that… you’d ask non-pirates to pirate on your behalf, because of someone else’s complaint about Amazon’s shipping. All because you’re lazy and/or (vicariously) cheap?

      You kinda suck.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Brian Boyko: is the Aussie/Kiwi’s best friend.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We have for a century had excellent mechanisms for channeling the self-interested part of human nature. Now mechanisms are emerging for efficiently fueling our solidarity, generosity and altruism. The 21st century is the century of socialism.

    • Julien Couvreur says:

      Anon #16
      Do not confuse solidarity, generosity and altruism with socialism.

      The former involve individuals choosing to use their property to help others.
      The latter is saying that individuals don’t control their property, but rather that they are owned by the state.

      • arjenkamphuis says:

        @Julien #18 I think you’re using the Fox-TV/Glenn Beck definition of socialism. Its often called social-democracy on my side of the pond and is very different from totalitarian Stalinism that you seem to refer to.

        Social democracy is about the citizens electing for income redistribution in their society for moral (feel the ‘right’ thing to do) and practical (don’t like beggars on my doorstep) reasons.

        In such societies people still own their property and a large chunk of the government’s budget is allocated to providing a safety-net and things like universal healthcare and free education for it’s citizens.

        Post-scarcity technologies such as e-books and 3D-printing will make all of this easier.

  12. mwiik says:

    Irony is dead

  13. Anonymous says:

    @Julien, as was already pointed out your take on socialism is very limited. Here is a good overview of alternative takes: “Taking the “Social” in Socialism Seriously” (scroll down)

  14. denpras says:

    is there anything that has the ebook Cognitive Surplus? so I can download to your computer, ordered the book on amazon too risky for me who reside in Asia

  15. Julien Couvreur says:

    There is a broader trend behind the Cognitive Surplus, which is Leisure Surplus. As capital was accumulated in the economy, investments raised productivity and people could afford more leisure.

    People can now spend more time on hobbies, and the internet allows them to get together more efficiently. The net is only half of the equation, arguably the lesser one.

    When it comes to the futility or productivity of activities on the web, all activities are productive as far as the people involved. Other people can frown on any hobbies, whether on the internet or off, and always have, but that is not any objective measure.

  16. ragesoss says:

    Here Comes Everybody wasn’t Clay Shirky’s first book! He wrote several before it; Voices from the Net is definitely worth reading, especially for people like me who are too young to have been part of any of the first several waves of online communities before the web was mainstream.

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