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If you cut off a spiders head, it dies; if you cut off a starfishs leg it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world.

Whats the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and womens rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths?

Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders and reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the U.S. government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success.
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About the Author

Ori Brafman is a lifelong entrepreneur. His adventures include a wireless startup, health food advocacy group, and a network of CEOs working on public benefit projects, which he co-founded with Rod Beckstrom. He holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford Business School.Rod A. Beckstrom is a serial start-up entrepreneur. He founded CATS Software Inc, which he took public and has helped start and build other high tech firms. Rod has served on various private and nonprofit boards. He holds a BA and MBA from Stanford and is a Fulbright Scholar.

Reviews

Brafman and Beckstrom, a pair of Stanford M.B.A.s who have applied their business know-how to promoting peace and economic development through decentralized networking, offer a breezy and entertaining look at how decentralization is changing many organizations. The title metaphor conveys the core concept: though a starfish and a spider have similar shapes, their internal structure is dramatically different-a decapitated spider inevitably dies, while a starfish can regenerate itself from a single amputated leg. In the same way, decentralized organizations, like the Internet, the Apache Indian tribe and Alcoholics Anonymous, are made up of many smaller units capable of operating, growing and multiplying independently of each other, making it very difficult for a rival force to control or defeat them. Despite familiar examples-eBay, Napster and the Toyota assembly line, for example-there are fresh insights, such as the authors' three techniques for combating a decentralized competitor (drive change in your competitors' ideology, force them to become centralized or decentralize yourself). The authors also analyze one of today's most worrisome "starfish" organizations-al-Qaeda-though that group undermines the authors' point that the power of leaderless groups helps to demonstrate the essential goodness and trustworthiness of human beings. (Oct. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

-The Starfish and the Spider is a compelling and important book.- --Pierre Omidyar, CEO, Omidyar Network and Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc.-The Starfish and the Spider, like Blink, The Tipping Point, and The Wisdom of Crowds before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. It'salso fun to read!- --Robin Wolaner, founder, Parenting Magazine and author, Naked in the Boardroom-A fantastic read. Constantly weaving stories and connections. You'll never see the world the same way again.- --Nicholas J. Nicholas Jr., former Co-CEO, Time Warner-A must-read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling.- --David Martin, CEO, Young Presidents' Organization-The Starfish and the Spider provides a powerful prism for understanding the patterns and potential of self-organizing systems.- --Steve Jurvetson, Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson-The Starfish and the Spider lifts the lid on a massive revolution in the making, a revolution certain to reshape every organization on the planet from bridge clubs to global governments. Brafman and Beckstrom elegantly describe what is afoot and offer a wealth of insights that will be invaluable to anyone starting something new--or rescuing something old--amidst this vast shift.- --Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future -The Starfish and the Spider is great reading. [It has] not only stimulated my thinking, but as a result of the reading, I proposed ten action points for my own organization.---Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum "The Starfish and the Spider is a compelling and important book." --Pierre Omidyar, CEO, Omidyar Network and Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc."The Starfish and the Spider, like Blink, The Tipping Point, and The Wisdom of Crowds before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. It'salso fun to read!" --Robin Wolaner, founder, Parenting Magazine and author, Naked in the Boardroom"A fantastic read. Constantly weaving stories and connections. You'll never see the world the same way again." --Nicholas J. Nicholas Jr., former Co-CEO, Time Warner"A must-read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling." --David Martin, CEO, Young Presidents' Organization"The Starfish and the Spider provides a powerful prism for understanding the patterns and potential of self-organizing systems." --Steve Jurvetson, Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson"The Starfish and the Spider lifts the lid on a massive revolution in the making, a revolution certain to reshape every organization on the planet from bridge clubs to global governments. Brafman and Beckstrom elegantly describe what is afoot and offer a wealth of insights that will be invaluable to anyone starting something new--or rescuing something old--amidst this vast shift." --Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future "The Starfish and the Spider is great reading. [It has] not only stimulated my thinking, but as a result of the reading, I proposed ten action points for my own organization."--Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum The Starfish and the Spider is a compelling and important book. Pierre Omidyar, CEO, Omidyar Network and Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc. The Starfish and the Spider, like Blink, The Tipping Point, and The Wisdom of Crowds before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. It'salso fun to read! Robin Wolaner, founder, Parenting Magazine and author, Naked in the Boardroom A fantastic read. Constantly weaving stories and connections. You'll never see the world the same way again. Nicholas J. Nicholas Jr., former Co-CEO, Time Warner A must-read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling. David Martin, CEO, Young Presidents' Organization The Starfish and the Spider provides a powerful prism for understanding the patterns and potential of self-organizing systems. Steve Jurvetson, Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson The Starfish and the Spider lifts the lid on a massive revolution in the making, a revolution certain to reshape every organization on the planet from bridge clubs to global governments. Brafman and Beckstrom elegantly describe what is afoot and offer a wealth of insights that will be invaluable to anyone starting something new or rescuing something old amidst this vast shift. Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future The Starfish and the Spider is great reading. [It has] not only stimulated my thinking, but as a result of the reading, I proposed ten action points for my own organization." Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum" ?One of those delightful business books that transcend the genre? ?"Boston Globe" ?"The Starfish and the Spider", like "Blink, The Tipping Point", and "The Wisdom of Crowds" before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. It's also fun to read!? ?Robin Wolaner, author of "Naked in the Boardroom" ?A must read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling.? ?J. David Martin, CEO of YPO International aOne of those delightful business books that transcend the genrea a"Boston Globe" a"The Starfish and the Spider," like "Blink, The Tipping Point," and "The Wisdom of Crowds" before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. Itas also fun to read!a aRobin Wolaner, author of "Naked in the Boardroom" aA must read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling.a aJ. David Martin, CEO of YPO International One of those delightful business books that transcend the genre "Boston Globe" "The Starfish and the Spider," like "Blink, The Tipping Point," and "The Wisdom of Crowds" before it, showed me a provocative new way to look at the world and at business. Its also fun to read! Robin Wolaner, author of "Naked in the Boardroom" A must read. Starfish are changing the face of business and society. This page-turner is provocative and compelling. J. David Martin, CEO of YPO International

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