The Internet is loosening the corset strings of business—pretty much sloughing off the whole cruel garment—suggest computer-folk Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger; and businesses that don't get natural soon won't have any customers.
At once atavistic and nimble, Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger ring the changes brought by the Internet, which for them have one particular, radiant element—the humanity of it all: human language, the human love of fabulous stories, the human joy in mingling aesthetics with all aspects of life. The Internet and intranet workstations encourage open, unaffected, uncontrived talk, giving back to business the banter of the bazaar, where laughter and personality were the spices and a person's word the lubrication. The book pokes its finger, repeatedly and deeply, in the eye of corporate business practice, sweeping before it such self-destructive constructs as management pyramids, corporate firewalls, the culture of secrecy and hierarchy, flacks and hucksters, and advertising's jargon and eye candy. Although the Internet may not make people "smarter," it certainly exposes them to more information—if they can wade through all the material and winnow the good from the bad—and allows in many cases unfettered access to the makers of the goods, which is why it is the godsend for the artisan and a boon for the buyer who still likes the maker's mark upon the product. There are no wall-to-wall answers here, so cherished by quick-fix business books, for all producers must express themselves individually. That unpredictability is also one of the charms of Levine and Co. Playful and leveling in their anti-bureaucratic and non-hierarchical tone, they love plain talk about substance and values. Their manifesto is as demanding as a Bill of Rights, yet so broadly applicable it rubs shoulders with Brownian motion.
A different brand of business book, thank goodness: saucy, heartfelt, and warmly appealing in its faith in the commonwealth.