As my frequent tweets linking to his analyses demonstrate, Mike Masnick is one of my favourite tech writers. There are two things in particular that I admire about his posts on Techdirt.
First, that he is one of the most perceptive and original thinkers in the area of intellectual monopolies and of economics in the absence of scarcity – indeed, I would go so far as to say he covers these sectors better than anyone else. Secondly, and perhaps less obviously, he has evolved a very personal style – notable for its very moderate tone - that distinguishes him from other more rabid writers in this field (like me).
And believe it or not, my admiration for Masnick's work predates his decision to add my ancient Rebel Code to his new Techdirt Book Reading List 2009. Here's the background:
A couple years ago, after completing my series of posts on the economics of ideas and infinite goods, I wrote up a reading list of books that were useful in thinking about all of this. With our recent launch of a book version of that series, called Approaching Infinity, I updated that list with a bunch of more recent books (basically, the books sitting on my desk again...), and wanted to share them here. For this post, I'm only writing up short reviews, but plan to revisit some of these books with much more detailed reviews, in the future.
I've read most of the other books on the list, and strongly concur that anyone interested in the fields of intellectual monopolies and economics in the absence of scarcity should get them. I'd also urge people to read Masnick's own consolidated thoughts on this area, called – with tongue firmly in cheek - “The Grand Unified Theory On The Economics Of Free”.
Needless to say, all the posts are available for free, but there's also the option of buying a dead tree version, too. Now, if I can just persuade my old publishers to release a free digital version of Rebel Code....