Why you should steal Chris Anderson’s $26.99 book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. And what do Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson, and Mark Cuban have in common? They all have opinions.
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As I type this, I’m listening to the free audio book version (285MB, .zip format) of Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Ironically, that second link is to the only text version you can actually own, which costs over $16.00. Sure, he’s made the book available for free on Scribd, but if you’ve ever used Scribd, you know that very few people would read a 288 page book sitting at a computer. My first thought on the book’s online release date was “Hmmm. I wonder how long before a torrent will be available?” To amuse myself, I timed myself as I did a few screen grabs of the book and OCR’d them, and determined it would take me about 70 minutes to have the entire book in a simple text file, which could then be ported to virtually any format. I also figured I could use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to convert the audio book to which I’m listening right now. But you know what? I’ll neither read the whole book, nor buy it. To add additional irony to Anderson’s not-free free book, the rather simple principle of the book is so thoroughly explained by both its critics and supporters – partly because he plagiarized entire passages from Wikipedia (there is indeed free lunch, if you do enough cutting and pasting) – that there’s really nothing left to read. And adding yet one more layer of irony is the fact that Malcolm Gladwell, king of expanding 10-page ideas into 8-chapter books, is one of the harshest critics, suggesting the book is a story woven around an anecdote presenting itself as a fact. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that how Gladwell earns a living? What all the hoopla surrounding this book has highlighted for me is the fact that I should go ahead and pursue my plans to become a media guru. If guys like Chris Anderson, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Mark Cuban are all experts, and none of them agree on a simple marketing concept, then clearly they’re all doing nothing but offering opinion. And that’s something I’m pretty sure I can do.