We-Think by Charles Leadbeater. A review

About the time I start writing this a bunch of people will be gathering in London to launch We-Think (Amazon link), the book written by Charles Leadbeater and 237 others. I was sent a review copy, partly because I left a single comment on the wiki, which was used to turn his solo first draft into a collaborative 2nd(!) draft. I also mentioned it in this blog. So send me a free book and I’ll read it:

For those new to the ideas of a world of collaborative and networked creation this is a very measured and well illustrated survey of where the world is taking you. For those already familiar, it’s a clearly written and well seasoned refresher course. For those who wonder why their business model is shot full of holes this might help explain.


For all groups it comes with that most useful of commodities – caveats. Lots of them. Charles has sought to explore the pros and cons. You can read the first three chapters without buying the book (and for those new to the ideas chapter three on how it works is very helpful), but the most valuable is probably Chapter 6. “For Better or Worse” is the writers’ survey pros and cons of the changes coming. Of particular interest to me is the review of the effect on democracy, how the web is enabling We-Act(ors) rather than We-Think(ers). On balance though the book clearly approves of the long term benefits of the disruption of we-think.

Reading this helps me structure my understanding of the work I’m doing and some of the work I’m likely to do. If you fly to SXSW this week, buy a copy for the plane. If you work in government get your department to buy you a copy and then next year fly you to SXSW.
Meanwhile the launch has been twittered:

Dominic Campbell twittering the launch of we-think

A few other reviews/mentions:

Nesta – organisers
Ed Mitchell – “uplifting”
Charlie Mansell – “how collaboration operates”
David Wilcox – “quote”
Computer Weekly – “will not transform every business”
gnovis – “somewhat controversial”
Sicamp – encouraged by Charles
Andrew Keen – it’s individuals who innovate – stoopid.
The Spectator – “a riveting guide to a new world”
Freshnetworks community managers rock.
Shane Richmond at the RSA: Polariser

Also read:

The Long Tail Wikinomics The Starfish and the Spider.


  1. Thanks Nick. Glad you enjoyed it. The twitter stream was amusing and I’d like to find a constructive way of incorporating these comments into events like this in future. I commented on the wiki too but didn’t get a freebie of the book. I’m curious how much impact that really had on the thesis. I think it made the arguments stronger but also more subtle and less headline grabbing.

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