Marginal. Most readers will find something interesting or useful in Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Expanded from a February 2008 article in Wired, Free explores the various ways in which success can come from offering something at a price of zero. For a limited time, Anderson made this book available online for free (where I read most of it before reading the rest for free from a library copy). Anderson got into some trouble when this book was released and some parts of it were identified as being lifted intact from Wikipedia. Part of Anderson’s explanation of this attribution error was the challenge of attribution to something that changes form regularly, and he and his publisher having different views on noting hyperlinks. This sloppiness may distract some readers, but I found the book to be a breezy exploration of trends, and had no expectation that this was a work of scholarship. Coined words like “freemium” may cause some readers to wince and others to smile. Anderson comes across as confident and arrogant at times with his views. Underneath these distractions, there’s a message worth hearing, and reading Free will encourage readers to think about this issue.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)