Book review: What’s mine is yours

What’s mine is yours: How collaborative consumption is changing the way we live By Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

At the heart of this book are two simple ideas.

The first is that access matters more than ownership.  We don’t need to own a drill.  But we may need to make a hole.  So quick, easy access to a drill is the thing that matters.

The second idea is network-based sharing.  The book makes a compelling case for us using our social networks (in particular online networks) to make sharing stuff as easy as, if not easier than, owning stuff.

I’ve started doing this myself.  I occasionally need a data projector for work.  Instead of buying one, at considerable expense and with the associated environmental costs, I now ask my Twitter followers each time I need a projector.  They haven’t let me down once.  I’ve shared things that
I can own in similar ways.

The book highlights lots of exciting businesses tapping into this emerging trend – peer-to-peer lenders like Zopa, car-sharing sites like Whipcar, and neighbourhood based sharing sites like Ecomodo.  At a time when inflation and cuts are eating into our spending power, collaborative consumption can offer us access to goods whilst also building relationships with those around us.

Sharing isn’t a new idea.  But using our social networks to make sharing as easy as owning feels like an idea whose time has come.


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