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

Free by Chris Anderson
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's review
May 07, 2011

really liked it
Read in May, 2011

This book examines the free economy, focusing on the changes to business and society caused by the ease and availability of free digital services and products. For a topic that might seem like it might be dry, it's explored in a very interesting way in this book.

The book starts by discussing free products and services that have been around for a long time, such as "buy one get one free" deals at stores. The author discusses the psychology of receiving things for free -- a topic that is fascinating in its own right, and has been covered well in other books (some of which are cited here) -- and how our brains treat "free" and "non-free" in dramatically different ways, even when the absolute difference in price is negligible (as with a free product versus something that can be bought for a few cents).

The heart of the book talks about the concurrent rise of free products and services, and digital products and services. Anderson presents many examples of business built around a free model, and uses them to explore different facets of the free economy. A significant part of the discussion focuses on pirated media, and that's some of the most interesting parts of the book.

A good chunk of the book seems to target people who are considering how a free model may affect their business, but this book should be read by anyone who is interested in the way that computers have affected, and continue to affect, all of our lives.
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