Free Agent Nation
Book Review
July 16, 2001
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Free Agent Nation Book Review July 16, 2001

Free Agent NationFree Agent Nation Book Review
by Mike Banks Valentine

Have you ever written a personal note to a respected and successful author? Not that I wish that fate on those precious few who top the best seller lists, but I just wrote to Dan Pink.


Wonderful book! I'm doing a review and will distribute it as widely as my role allows. I'm curious though, why do you quote the reviews from the NY Times, CNN, the "Global Executive Section" of The Economist and when the book is about you and I?

Maybe those reviewers saw themselves in a fantasy painted Pink? Those folks still work for the big dogs of business and I doubt very much that those in the board rooms of global corporations are quite as cheered by your ideas as the reviewers who work for them.

I am impressed and cheered though, by your work and wish you continued success. With regrets that it profits Warner Books more than Pink, Inc.

Mike Banks Valentine
It's my personal belief that Free Agent Nation should be owned by Pink, Inc. I also believe that if Daniel H. Pink were to include a review by Mike Banks Valentine of WebSite101 on his web site , that it would do little for his credibility or his book sales.

I toot a big horn on the front page of my web site too because when visitors see a quote from Entrepreneur Magazine on my home page, they may take a little longer to click away from my site.

Once I've got them though, I rely on the testimonials from small ezine owners to prompt subscriptions to my newsletter, further down the page. And small is what Pink thinks the future holds for the new workplace.

This book is about independent freelancers merrily toiling away in their underwear in a home workspace, as Pink states, in HOHO, or "His Office/Her Office". He seems to delight in creating new terms to define what is increasingly common for self-employed professionals -- independence.

Here're some Pinkisms, emphasized in chapter-end "boxes":

"Nanocorp. A microbusiness that remains "ruthlessly small" -- as both a personal preference and a competitive strategy."

"Digital Marxism. With inexpensive computers, wireless handheld devices, and ubiquitous low-cost connections to the internet, workers can now own the means of production."

"Corporate Yenta. An entity that matches independent workers with firms or projects that need their short term help."

The first few pages introduce the thesis that we're becoming a Free Agent Nation where the old idea of the "Organization Man" is giving way to the concept of "e-lancers" holding meetings at Starbucks coffee houses and home schooling their kids.

He sweeps up the dust of our tired old ideas as he continues to show us how the "industrial economy separated work and family." While ... "The free agent economy is rejoining them." He illustrates change by reporting that "My size fits me" has now replaced "One size fits all" of not only work but education as well.

Pink is well known for his prognostications on the future for Fast Company Magazine and leaps right out there with a few shocking ideas indicating massive changes in the economy by suggesting entrepreneurs will sell shares in themselves to put the "I" back in IPO's with F.A.N. (Free Agent Nation) bonds. Financial instruments that emphasize talent and creativity over the more common mass of corporate safety and financial bulk.

He wraps up by suggesting that women will replace the "Old Boy Network" and rule the landscape of a new economy because they are better suited to community and sharing rather than the old male "conquer and topple" model of business success. Maybe it's the only way men can be seen as equals, when we have to out-think women rather than bully and threaten them.

Now I'm not sure he's got it all right, but damn! The next few years will be nothing if not exciting as they unfold to expose the flower of this budding new world as seen by Pink!

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