Heather's Reviews > Free: The Future of a Radical Price

Free by Chris Anderson
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's review
Jul 20, 2009

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bookshelves: first-reads, nonfiction
Read in July, 2009

I got a free advance copy of this book via first reads, and was excited to read it even after reading Virginia Postrel’s review of it in the New York Times, in which she calls Free “a successful business speech between two covers, pleasant, upbeat and full of anecdotes and bullet points.” I’m not such a fan of business speeches, so maybe that description should have sent me walking the other way—but once I have a book in front of me, it’s hard for me not to read it. So I read it, and you know, it wasn’t bad.

Anderson writes about “Free” as a concept, rather than just free as a price. He considers the different ways in which things can be free, and the different ways in which money can be made around things being free. There is lots of interesting stuff in this book about ideas like how economies work in an era of abundance, the different psychologies of “Free,” etc, and Anderson’s writing style is engaging, mostly. (I got annoyed by the repeated use of the phrase “triple play” to describe bandwidth, processors, and storage: he uses that phrase four times in different sections of the book!) The chapters toward the end felt more like jumping from story to story (or, sometimes, tangent to tangent) than like a linear progression—China! Brazil! Different ideas about abundance in science fiction/speculative fiction! The reputation economy!—but it’s all interesting enough that I didn’t too much mind.

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Reading Progress

07/22/2009 page 190

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