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Book Report: The Cluetrain Manifesto
The end of business as usual
by Cliff Notez


A brief summary for those too lazy to read the book
More than just another preachy business book, The Cluetrain Manifesto examines the Internet’s influence on society. What a natural for Anvil readers…

Before it was cool to have a site, four very intelligent technogeeks joined forces to create The site quickly became a forum for discussion and conversation about technology, marketing, business and the Internet. A few years later, Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger teamed up to write The Cluetrain Manifesto. Things just haven’t been the same since.

The book is broken into digestible chapters; a chronology and evolutionary discussion of the marketplace. Locke kicks off with a backgrounder on industrialization and the resulting break in human interaction. Weinberger gives perspective connecting the Internet to conversations. Levine talks about lost craft of human voice and various online outlets. Searls outlines how markets are really just conversations. Weinberger illustrates how hyperlinks break down the walls of traditional organizations. Locke and Weinberger ask readers to ignore popular media and listen to their hearts. Lock closes the books with a light-hearted summary.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is the truly revolutionary nature of its theses. While other business books talk about customers as eyeballs and intranets as competitive edges, these enlightened engineers and marketers take a polar stance. The customer is human. You are human. Conversations are human. A business is not human. Press releases are not authentic, nor human and therefore useless.

The lighthearted, often cynical dissertation makes for easy reading and grand enlightenment. The book does an excellent job of giving perspective to the true nature of business, the marketplace. Cluetrain doesn’t offer the usual 5-step solution; in fact, it offers twelve:

The Cluetrain Hit-One-Outta-the-Park Twelve Step Program for Internet Business Success:

  1. Relax
  2. Have a sense of humor
  3. Find your voice and use it
  4. Tell the truth
  5. Don’t panic
  6. Enjoy yourself
  7. Be brave
  8. Be curious
  9. Play more
  10. Dream always
  11. Listen up
  12. Rap on

Always long on advice and short on specifics, Cluetrain is a must read for 2001. Click here to buy the book.

Cliff likes to spend his spare time in the technical section at Powell’s Books reading "Book Reports for Dummies"