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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,847 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
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 emerg ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2008)
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May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I am very ambivalent about crowdsourcing. At first, I rated this book very low (1-2 stars) because of the rah-rah boosterism extolling the virtues and home run success stories in crowdsourcing. Some of it sounds downright exploitive.

If brought in $386,000 in ad revenue for Gannett in its first six months, then why were the 10 'discussion leaders' paid a paltry $25 per week? They were required to start 10 new discussions per week, write 20 posts to the discussions of their co-leade
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-non-fiction
I made it to page 100 in this book. Honestly, it was actually pretty good, however, it could have (and should have) been an essay. The introductory chapters give you exactly what you need to know and provide some great insight. The rest of the book seems to just be example piled upon example of the same darn thing... we get the idea. Now time to move on.
Tin Wee
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
The book argues that the Internet, coupled with the rise of online communities, ever decreasing costs of multimedia production (re vid editing software/ cams/ vid cams),have blurred the line between producers and consumers. Case studies examine the variants of crowdsourcing employed by companies like Threadless, iStockphoto, and Innocentive, and the technologies that allow the wisdom of the crowd be tapped, whether in content creation (Threadless, Youtube, modding Half Life), capturing crowd pre ...more
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
The blithe attitude of this book gave me the chills.
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a really interesting book and spot on with some of its predictions.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am very ambivalent about crowdsourcing. At first, I rated this book very low (1-2 stars) because of the rah-rah boosterism extolling the virtues and home run success stories in crowdsourcing. Some of it sounds downright exploitive.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Journalistic (not a business book) about how online communities are besting large corporations, including iStockPhoto beating out Getty Images, Wikipedia beating out all the encyclopedias that came before it, and Linux, beating out Sun Microsystems and in many ways, Microsoft. That's quite an amazing feat when you actually stop to think about it, and has long term implications for politics, economics and business. Meanwhile, InnoCentive is successfully solving some of the Fortune 500's toughest ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a technogeek is kind of a relative thing. I have many friends who are far more tech savvy than I am, but in my world, I'm considered a computer whiz. I read (or listen to) books like this because I'm interested in what's going on in the world. I believe that technology is not just adding convenience (or complicating things, depending on your perspective), but that is fundamentally changing how we live, work, and relate to one another.

The industrial revolution changed the economy in that it
Mike Lepley
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Jeff Howe was one of the first journalists to coin the term the coin Crowdsourcing in Wired Magazine. It is only fitting that he would come out with a book about the same source. Originally crowdsourcing was described as the process by which the power of many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of the specialized few. The transformative power of today’s social media, cheap technology has been able to liberate the potential within the common person. In a world using c ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a good time spending half of my Sunday on reading this book and get to know so many internet crowd-sourcing history and information.
On the contrary of my previous 2 books The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture and The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Howe actually gave us mostly positive opinions about how internet crowd wisdom actually contribute to the whole younger generations.
From Linux, istockphoto, Threadless, P&G, SETI@home, eBird,
Rod Hilton
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Crowdsourcing is an informative book about the growing popularity of using large crowds to solve interesting problems or provide content. The term "crowdsourcing" was actually coined by Jeff Howe, so this is a pretty authoritative book on the subject.

The book covers all sorts of things which fall under the very wide umbrella of crowdsourcing, such as Linux, Threadless, Myspace, Wikipedia, TopCoder, American Idol, iStockPhoto, and quite a great deal more.

The book is interesting, but never quite i
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This book a very good primer to all things "social" online. It helped flesh out some of the history and scope of many of the group efforts out there. But it seemed a tad too long in the depth department. True, the details and longer narratives do add context, proof and support, but a book on this rapidly changing subject really needs to be more focused and intense. At times it felt more like a history book of efforts and systems, than current strategies and "looking forward".

I also would have li
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
If this book was to be written as short as 3 years ago, it could be a truly revolutionary idea of a book. But alas, what i do find written is just a mere rehash of some ideas that has already been around, and in fact is a model for most online businesses that is driven by netizen-driven initiatives. But though its basic premise is the idea that the wisdom of the many far supercedes the intelligence of the few, what this book does highlight well is the various sub-aspects and classifications of h ...more
Garrett Burnett
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Crowdsourcing is another of the millions of pop business/technology books out there (a la The World Is Flat and The Long Tail). The gist of it is that the Internet enables large numbers of people to work together, and that these crowds can collectively outperform experts when organized correctly. Howe insists that crowdsourcing is changing the way stuff happens--how research and development is being conducted at major companies; how photographs and movies are generated, shared, and sold; how (of ...more
Jeff Pesek
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
According to Howe, crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call. In a simpler sense, it's the application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

"If this book could be reduced to a single theme, it would be that the erosion of the boundary between producer and consumer has begun to exercise a considerable effect on our ec
Alfred Timothy Lotho
The book contained more text on "ideas that were born outside the office environment (plus an introduction to Big Data)" rather than the "crowdsourcing". While using appropriate examples such as Wikipedia, Etsy and Innocentive was a good decision, most parts of the book felt, if not irrelevant, "trying hard" (such as saying that as cameras get cheaper, more photos can be produced and marketed even by amateurs). There were a few redeeming topics such as the concept of "pro-amateurs", the governme ...more
Sep 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: notgoingtofinish
In the introduction Jeff Howe defines a person who is not a "digital native" as "anyone who still gets their news from a newspaper." It's probably petty, but I stopped right there and I don't intend to finish. I enjoy the format of the newspaper, and it's worth $5 a month to have the news edited and delivered to my driveway in a tangible format that reminds me to take the time to read it before I recycle it. Plus I love the comics. Yes I also get news from the internet, but I don't take the time ...more
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I have been interested in the concept of crowdsourcing, which essentially uses the power of the Internet and social networking to further business prospects, ever since I read the fabulous title "What Would Google Do"? by Jeff Jarvis. I thought that this appropriately titled book would shed further light on this, but I was sadly mistaken.

The first 50 pages were a good lead-in, but after that point it started to sound very subjective and elitist. The author pretty much gave facts that he expecte
Jim Geovedi
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I began to see connections between how one aspect of crowdsourcing could be combined with other aspects to make more progress more rapidly. If that's why you want to read the book, borrow the book at the library (or read it standing up at a book store) because you'll finish that section faster than a cup of coffee. If you have been paying close attention to the subject of crowdsourcing, this book will contain few surprises. If you use crowdsourcing to get lots of ideas, you also need to rely a l ...more
Andy Oram
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Working in the publishing industry, where our gatekeeper role is eroding and information itself is slipping out of our hands, I care a lot about the power of people working together. I'd like to see how organizations have helped this movement (also known as peer production) and managed to benefit from it. And I'm happy to say this book gave me some insights and guidelines.

Wired has a negative reputation for being trendy, breezy, and cute, but I find a lot of good journalism in it, and Wired cont
Abdurrahman Turk
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teknoloji mi insana yoksa insan mı teknolojiye yön verir? Günümüzde henüz çok tartışılmasa da gelecek dönemde üzerine çokça makalenin yazılacağı bir alan. İnternetin hayatımıza girmesiyle kalabalığın gücü yeni iş alanları ve fırsatlar yaratmakta, kitle kaynak (crowdsourcing) ise bu akıma verilen ad. Kalabalığın doğru yönlendirilirse ne kadar güçlü olduğunu örneklerle anlatan bu kitabı herkesin okumasını öneririm. Şimdilik bir avuç firmanın iş stratejilerine konu olan ve faydalandığı bu yöntem, g ...more
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
I think Howe is a few years behind on the trend. I think I've read all of this, in multiple forms, in many different ways, throughout the last two years. I'll add the writing isn't even that good nor is it at all insightful.

And on a particularly irritating note, he dwells for a long time on Putnam's "Bowling Alone" book, but then assumes everyone knows what the third place is and that everyone has read Oldenburg's "Great Good Place." It should have been the other way around for his argument, ac
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although a bit dated now (what book addressing social media/networking isn't out of date long before the reader ever gets it these days?), I really enjoyed looking more at the roots of crowdsourcing and where the idea first came from and where it was going at the end of 2008 when the book was published. As it is a principle we are trying to use where I work for cataloging archival documents, looking at past crowdsourcing projects and models helped me understand better how we should be shaping ou ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't often read books like Crowdsourcing, but I found Jeff Howe to be an engaging writer who knows how to tell engaging stories to explain his theories on how to use the crowd in business. There are a few places that feel a little repetitious and dull, but Howe mostly delivers a solid message in an way that I found entertaining. My recommendation: Don't read this book word for word. Skim it, browse it, read it like a manual of sorts and you'll pick up the message without getting bogged down i ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I find crowdsourcing very interesting especially with a generation that is growing up not really having boundaries on what they can do as technology is easy and accessible. This has also directly impacted their value to the product itself with downloading music and movies quickly and easily. How will the market and society adapt to a new business model, and will crowdsourcing matter?

I am very interested in this topic so the book was an easy win for me.
Adriano Ariganello
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maybe it's that I've been reading a lot of books about large corporations about or by CEOs, but I found this book to be extremely hopeful. I'm not even sure that was the intent of the author. The examples given are entertaining and just in depth enough to show how the crowd has shifted the models of their given industries.

It's not all positive and Howe acknowledges that, but it's an overwhelmingly positive look at the future.
Ko Matsuo
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited to read this book by the person who coined the word "crowdsourcing" back in 2006. However, the book is challenged in differentiating crowdsourcing from the simple economies of scale that come from the internet. There are glimpses of something new and great here, but nowhere near the potential of where it is headed today. It's more of a testimony to how quick innovation and ideas have happened in the 8 months since the book was published.
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A great book that explains how crowdsourcing is being used in the marketplace and to what ends. I read this book right after "The Wisdom of Crowds," and found that a great order to put them in. "The Wisdom of Crowds" explains the science of crowdsourcing, while "Crowdsourcing" explains its practical application. I was inspired enough by these books to propose we do a "crowdsourced" issue of the magazine I help run, and we are, in fact, doing that in the spring of 2010. Should be interesting!
Dan Graham
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Definitely a worthwhile read. Written in 2008, not a novel concept for sure, but it was interesting to read an in depth look at many businesses succeeding off crowdsourcing and to have them all put together in one place. I for one would like to read more about AssignmentZero, what the goal of the experiment was, and why they gave up on it and allowed it to end — seemed like something worth pursuing in more depth.
Alvaro Berrios
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who has not familiarized themselves with crowdsourcing. Once you're done reading it you realize what a powerful movement it is. The author does a good job of providing tons of real-world examples as well as the "dos and don'ts" of crowdsourcing.

The only knock I give it is that it starts to get really repetitive after a while. The author reiterates the same messages over and over again. But overall, I definitely recommend this book.
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Jeff Howe is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covers the media and entertainment industry, among other subjects. In June of 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. He has continued to cover the phenomenon in his blog,, and published a book on the subject for Crown Books in September 2008.

Before coming to Wired he was a senior editor at
More about Jeff Howe