The Cluetrain Manifesto:
The End of Business as Usual

Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls + David Weinberger

Perseus Books 2000
A book review by Danny Yee © 2000
The Cluetrain Manifesto is a collection of 95 theses that was, as it were, nailed to the Web in 1999. With short, pointed statements the authors tried to hammer home how the Internet is changing the way markets work and how businesses will have to adapt or die. The Cluetrain Manifesto contains seven essays expanding on this, as well as the manifesto itself. It is repetitive, neither deep nor original, and sometimes annoyingly hyped, but it is nevertheless an important work: written by people from "inside" the marketing and public relations industry, it may (especially as a print volume) reach those who are not well connected to online communities.

One theme is the way the Net has brought conversation back into the communications of the market, undoing some of the effects of mass production and mass media. These communications have made markets much smarter, allowing them to spread information about products and businesses in ways that were impossible before. So companies need to stop producing brochureware and doing one-way public relations and to rediscover their human voice. Another theme is the way in which the Net is changing companies internally, breaking down "org charts" and creating hyperlinked organisations in which employees can talk to one another across lines. Not only that, but customers and employees can now communicate directly with one another... The Cluetrain authors illustrate all of this with real stories about online conversations and with analogies to other parts of human life. Following their own advice, they are passionate, funny, and unrestrained — and they also manage a decent line in self-deprecation and reflexivity.

The Cluetrain Manifesto is aimed at businesses, but pretty much everything in it applies to the university where I work (though with increasing corporatisation of universities, that should be no surprise) and a lot of it even to the much smaller aid organisation for whom I do volunteer work. It should be read by anyone involved with marketing and the Net (which means anyone involved with marketing these days) and also by managers interested in restructuring organisations for a changing world.

May 2000

External links:
- buy from or
- information from the authors
Related reviews:
- David Weinberger - Small Pieces Loosely Joined: {a unified theory of the web}
- books about the Internet
- books about business
%T The Cluetrain Manifesto
%S The End of Business as Usual
%A Levine, Rick
%A Locke, Christopher
%A Searls, Doc
%A Weinberger, David
%I Perseus Books
%D 2000
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 0738202444
%P 190pp