The one-sentence summary

You are what you share, so start with a core idea and get others to contribute, collaborate and create.


  • The future is us, via mass collaboration, not mass production.
  • The rallying call of the web is for shared power that makes society more open and egalitarian.
  • There has been an unparalleled wave of democratic, productive and creative participation online. This book is itself an example.
  • The generation growing up with the web will not be content to remain spectators. They want to be players and their slogan is “we think therefore we are.”
  • Self-determination is a powerful thing. In 1998, BT had failed to get its field engineers to work harder so set up a Freedom to Choose scheme whereby they scheduled their own work. After three years they were working two hours a week less and earning more. Productivity was up 5% and quality 8%.


  • You are what you share is the new mantra, and the author works through numerous examples of how this works in the modern world, all facilitated by the web.
  • The roots of we-think reside in a strange mixture of online contributors:

~ The academic brings a belief that knowledge develops through sharing ideas and testing them through peer review

~ The hippie brings a deep scepticism about all sources of authority

~ The peasant favours shared use of communal facilities and resources

~ The geek offers to realise their dreams by networking them together

  • When you put all this together, you have a powerful blend.
  • The way it works is to start with the core, then other people contribute to it, they connect over it, they collaborate, and they create. These are the 5 Cs


It is not set out in any particular sections. It is more like a very long essay. As such it is not easy to dip in and out, or to refer back to something in particular. So it is best to treat it as a thought-provoking whole, rather than anything specific you can take action on.