Monday, August 24, 2009

Art of Community Now Available

Jono Bacon's new book The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice) is now available. I first heard about this book in January and I have tracked the progress and discussion on and off since then. As you would expect from a book about community, the development of The Art of Community was a very open process. I must say that I was a little underwhelmed by the activity around the book given the interest in the topic. Number 1 on the list of top 10 commenters had 29 comments. Number 10 had 7. Maybe most of the discussion happened over Twitter where Jono has over 2,400 followers.

I have no doubt that the book will sell well. Doesn't everyone want to start a community? I just ordered my copy and will post a review here when I get through it. The incumbent for my favorite book in this category is The Success of Open Source by Steven Weber. Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations is also quite good. Both of these books effectively describe the community phenomenon. What may set The Art of Community apart is a set of instructions for creating your own successful community (Jono draws from his experience with Ubuntu and KDE). But if the techniques work so well, why hasn't the community around the book thrived? Did Jono (who also works as community manager for Ubuntu and is a musician) not have adequate time to write the book implement his techniques?