Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Starfish and the Spider by O. Brafman & A. Beckstrom

Dodie recommended this book to me and I just started reading it. It's fantastic -- everything I could ever want in a business book. Lucid, funny, and well-written. I love reading nonfiction written by people who realize that nonfiction can be engaging and exciting and interesting -- not like those textbooks they used to make me read in school.

The book's main message is that sometimes a decentralized organization is better able to survive than a hierarchical organization -- for example, if a starfish loses a leg (is it called a leg on a starfish? Hmm, I think it might be an arm) then it can adjust and cope while a new arm is being grown.

The discussion in this book reminds me of one of my favorite books, Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon. That book talks about the origins of the Internet and how the people who came up with the idea for the network deliberately chose to build a network whose pathways were distributed -- so that information could travel many different paths to get to a destination, which would make the network much more durable and stable than if there was only one pathway you could travel (and then what happens if a server goes down along the way?)

I really do love it when similar ideas pop up in books that I am reading or have read. It's so interesting to make these connections.

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