Just worked my way through Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky and have to say, Seth Godin was right.  Shirky’s on to a key insight and does a great job explaining it.

The cognitive surplus Sharky is talking about is wrapped up in the idea that “the buildup of well over a trillion hours of free time each year on the part of the world’s educated population, and the invention and spread of public media that enable ordinary citizens to pool that free time in pursuit of activities they like or care about (p. 27, Cognitive Surplus)” makes possible an entirely different world; a world where media isn’t consumed…but created.

Delivered in the style of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point or Outliers, Cognitive Surplus is packed with stories that make the point.  Examining the means by which we are aggregating our free time (i.e., contributing to Wikipedia), our motivations in taking advantage of this new resource (to make a difference), and the nature of the opportunities that are being created, Shirky provides an eye-opening resource that is both inspiring and informative.  I found myself re-reading whole sections to be sure and catch key ideas.  Bet you will too.

Review: Cognitive Surplus