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  Necessary Reading:
New Rules for the New Economy
by Kevin Kelly

When it comes to insights into the Information Age, Kevin Kelly, Executive Editor of Wired magazine, is a visionary's visionary. He is also the author of many of that journal's best pieces.

Kevin has now expanded and rewritten my favorite of all his Wired articles, "New Rules for the New Economy" (September 1997) into a remarkable new book that fully lives up to its subtitle: "10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World."

I had to stop reading this book several dozen times to take in the full impact of the points he was making. Many of Kevin's principles can be applied directly to health care. His observations will trigger your thinking about online health in some extremely useful ways. The annotated bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

Like the onine world it describes, New Rules for the New Economy is a richly-packed Pandora's box of tools and insights for understanding and working with the network economy. It fully deserves the label that may be the Internet visionary's supreme tribute: McLuhenesque.

When we worked together at the old Whole Earth Catalog, Keven and his colleagues advised those of us who reviewed books for that august journal to do our best to "gut" each book by selecting the essential quotations, making it unnecessary for the reader t o actually read the book. With Kevin's book, that is simply not possible. The insights are packed too densely. But here are some of my favorites. -TF

Communication--which in the end is what the digital technology and media are all about--is not just a sector of the economy. Communication is the economy.

Selected Quotes from New Rules for the New Economy

[In the Industrial Age, value comes from scarcity, but] in the network economy, the more plentiful things become, the more valuable they become.

The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.

[When your customers are smarter than you are] releasing an incomplete "buggy" product is the shrewdest way to complete [that] product.

An organization can cheer itself silly on its way to becoming the world's expert on a dead-end technology.

There can be no expertise in innovation unless there is also expertise in demolishing the enconsed... Of all the lessons that biology has to offer us as we begin to assemble a network economy, the necessity of abandoning our successes will be the hardest to practice.

Published in The Ferguson Report, Number 1, March 1999


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Copyright © 1999-2003 Tom Ferguson, M.D. The Ferguson Report is a free e-mail newsletter published at unpredictable intervals for the friends and associates of Tom Ferguson. ISSN 1520-5487