Last Year’s Best P2P Books

I never fully finished and published the selection of best p2p books for 2012 (yes!), but it would be really a shame to miss that selection. So before publishing our best book list of 2013, here is a recap of last year’s choices, just in time to still be able to say ‘last year’.

Find all the source material here.

1: The new forms of generative ownership

    1. Majorie Kelly. Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution. Journeys to a Generative Economy. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012


“”As long as businesses are set up to focus exclusively on maximizing financial income for the few, our economy will be locked into endless growth and widening inequality. But now people across the world are experimenting with new forms of ownership, which Kelly calls generative: aimed at creating the conditions for all of life to thrive for many generations to come. These designs may hold the key to the deep transformation our civilization needs.”

1.b The Resilience Imperative. Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-state Economy. by Michael Lewis & Pat Conaty. New Society, 2012

“For me, the power of the book is how Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty provide a comprehensive blueprint for escaping the trap of unsustainable growth in a world of peak oil, climate change, weakened governance, and failed economics. The holistic approach includes more efficient energy usage, locally produced food, lower cost and available financing, affordable housing and reform of land holding to increase access, and more democratic ownership and sustainability. The authors address each of these concepts with an in depth examination of each idea and its implications.”

2: the wealth of the commons

    2. The Wealth of the Commons. A world beyond market and state. Ed. by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich. Commons Strategies Group. Levellers Press, 2012


“Never before have so many different international voices about the commons been brought together in one volume. The Wealth of the Commons consists of 73 essays by a diverse roster of international activists, academics and project leaders. It consists of descriptions of specific commons innovations, essays on the theory and economics of commons, accounts of different types of enclosures around the world, and much else.”

2.b The Globalization of Communes, Yaacov Oved. Transaction Publishers, 2012.


“How have communes adjusted to a global world? After World War II, membership in communes and cooperative communities became internationally oriented and such communities began networking. Unlike earlier communal organizations, these groups shared openness to international relationships. This became evident both in the groups’ social composition, and in the extension of networks beyond their own countries. Such globalization opened up the possibility of comparative analysis, which has become a trend in research on communal organizations since the 1950s. The dynamism and speed with which communities have spread throughout the world is impressive. In the 1950s there were only a few hundred such societies, but by the end of the last century there were thousands.”

2.c Sharing for Survival: Restoring the Climate, the Commons and Society. Feasta, 2012


a 200-page collection of essays by nine Feasta Climate Group members.

3: Studying p2p communities

    3. Coding Freedom: the ethics and aesthetics of hacking. E. Gabriella Coleman. Princeton University Press. 2013


“an ethnography of Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) hackers working on the Debian Linux Operating System: “Who are computer hackers? What is free software? And what does the emergence of a community dedicated to the production of free and open source software–and to hacking as a technical, aesthetic, and moral project–reveal about the values of contemporary liberalism? Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers’ devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property.”

3.b Internet Success: A Study of Open-Source Software Commons. By Charles M. Schweik and Robert C. English. MIT Press, 2012.

“the first large-scale empirical study to look at the social, technical and institutional aspects of free, libre and open source software”

3.c We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency. Parmy Olson.

“Journalist Parmy Olson spent a year researching Anonymous, the loosely defined hacker collective that’s antagonized everyone from the Church of Scientology to PayPal to the CIA. Her new book, We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency, follows the group from its inception on 4chan’s anarchic /b/ forum, through its feud with Scientology and its informal alliance with WikiLeaks, to the recent arrests of several high-level members. Along the way, she shows Anonymous as a complex organization with multiple motivations, from hacktivism to the simple pursuit of sweet, sweet “lulz.”

4: the maker revolution

    4. Chris Anderson. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. 2012

“What happens when DIY meets Web 2.0? In Makers, New York Times bestselling author Chris Anderson reveals how entrepreneurs use web principles to create and produce companies with the potential to be global in scope as well as how they use significantly less in the way of financial resources, tooling, and infrastructure required by traditional manufacturing. Anderson’s unique perspective is that small manufacturing will be a significant source of future growth; that the days of giant companies like General Motors are in their twilight; that in an age of open source, custom-fabricated, and do-it-yourself product design, the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers will be unleashed on global markets.” [

5: the end of the market

    5. The End of the Market. The rise of the service economy and the death of the market-clearing price. Author?


“The End of the Market argues that the credit crunch crisis of 2008 is not a bump in the road of the liberal era, but its end. But out of the ashes of rational individualism, a new vision is emerging where the community is the defining organisation and obligations, freely accepted and willingly discharged, become the engine of human progress.”

5.b The Shareholder Value Myth. Lynn Stout. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 2012


“Ben Schiller:

“Stout’s book The Shareholder Value Myth looks at the pervasiveness of the “shareholder value” idea, and finds it has more basis in intellectual fashion than the law. She traces it back to an article by the economist Milton Friedman in 1970, which said that the social responsibility of companies is to increase profits, and to a highly influential 1976 paper that says shareholders are owners, and managers merely their agents. In fact, says Stout, U.S. law doesn’t give shareholders any special consideration. And shareholders are not “owners,” in the sense of, say, car or home owners.”

6: building and defending p2p infrastructures

    6 Brett Frischmann. Infrastructure: Social Value of Shared Resources. Oxford University Press, 2012 ;

“devotes much needed attention to understanding how society benefits from infrastructure resources and how management decisions affect a wide variety of interests. The book links infrastructure, a particular set of resources defined in terms of the manner in which they create value, with commons, a resource management principle by which a resource is shared within a community. The infrastructure commons ideas have broad implications for scholarship and public policy across many fields ranging from traditional infrastructure like roads to environmental economics to intellectual property to Internet policy.”

6.b Consent of the NetworkedThe Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom. Rebecca MacKinnon

“Drawing upon two decades of experience as an international journalist, co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices, Chinese Internet censorship expert, and Internet freedom activist, MacKinnon offers a framework for concerned citizens to understand the complex and often hidden power dynamics amongst governments, corporations, and citizens in cyberspace. She warns that a convergence of unchecked government actions and unaccountable company practices threatens the future of democracy and human rights around the world.”

6.c Networked: The New Social Operating System Barry Wellman and Lee Rainie. The MIT Press. 2012.

“in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the “triple revolution” that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.”

7: the new p2p activism

    7. Paolo Gerbaudo. Tweets and the Streets: SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTEMPORARY ACTIVISM.


“Tweets and the Streets analyses the culture of the new protest movements of the 21st century. From the Arab Spring to the ‘indignados’ protests in Spain and the Occupy movement, Paolo Gerbaudo examines the relationship between the rise of social media and the emergence of new forms of protest. Gerbaudo argues that activists’ use of Twitter and Facebook does not fit with the image of a ‘cyberspace’ detached from physical reality. Instead, social media is used as part of a project of re-appropriation of public space, as a means to ‘choreograph’ the physical assembling of participants around ‘occupied’ places such as Cairo’s Tahrir Square or New York’s Zuccotti Park. An exciting and invigorating journey through the new politics of dissent, Tweets and the Streets points both to the creative possibilities and to the risks of political evanescence which new media brings to the contemporary protest experience.” (

7.b Steven Johnson. Future, Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age.;

“Is there a new political philosophy emerging from things like open source software development; massive community sharing hubs like Wikipedia, Kickstarter, and Reddit; peer-to-peer social networking; experiments in “Liquid Democracy,” and the rapid spread of resource sharing tools like ZipCar, AirBnb and Car2go? Is it time to start talking about replacing the “welfare state” with the “partner state”? “Future, Perfect” is must-reading for people who believe in the power of open, collaborative peer-to-peer networking to achieve real social progress.”

7.c No safe harbor: Essays About Pirate Politics. Reykjavik, Iceland: United States Pirate Party; 2012.

Available to download from:

“An anthology of 20 selections about issues central to the concerns of the U.S. Pirate Party, divided into three categories: (1) government and corporate transparency and accountability; (2) privacy; (3) intellectual property. A good resource for seeing how the apparently narrow Pirate Party core issues pertaining to intellectual property tie in pervasively with much broader social and economic factors.”

7.d Paul Mason. Why it’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions. Verso, 2012


“Paul Mason’s remarkable and highly readable book does a great job of putting the uprisings of 2011 in a longer-term historical context, as well as helping to emphasize that they are far from over.”

7.e April Carter. People Power and Political Change. Routledge, 2012

“looks rigorously yet sympathetically at the many examples of people power over the past forty years: from Iran in the 1970s, through Latin America, Asia and east-central Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, to the Arab world in 2010-11. The main focus of the book is society-wide reactions to undemocratic regimes; what makes it particularly valuable is the that this is extended beyond the level of the nation-state to encompass transnational trends – including the use of new media, an approach of increasing resonance and relevance. But April Carter also frankly examines the failures and the multiple problems of translating protest into genuine and transformative social and economic change, an approach that reinforces the authority of her analysis.” (

8: free education or freedom from education ?

    8. Manifesto: Abolishing Education and Liberating Creation. The Beginnings of a Manifesto and Practical Guide. Jeruviel Stardust Earthen-Hornbroth. (Pre-Release September 2012)


“In order to manifest a world free of all oppressions, a world in which many worlds fit, we must simultaneously seek to abolish education—the concept, practice, and all of its institutions—and focus our energies on self-determination in our communities; we must abolish education and grow autonomous learning communities. To say “learning communities,” as I understand the term community and the way people learn, is actually redundant—there is no such thing as a non-learning community.”

8.b Peeragogy Handbook, a Resource for Self-organizing Self-learners. Howard Rheingold and Peeragogy Team.


“This project seeks to empower the worldwide population of self-motivated learners who use digital media to connect with each other, to co-construct knowledge, to co-learn. Co-learning is ancient; the capacity for learning by imitation and more, to teach others what we know, is the essence of human culture. We are human because we learn together. Today, however, the advent of digital production media and distribution/communication networks has raised the power of co-learning to a new level.”

9: the future of money

    9. James Robertson. Future Money. Green Books, 2012


‘Future Money explains in plain language and convincing detail how our money system is propelling us toward the self-destruction of our species – and what we should do about it. Our present money system frustrates the well-meaning efforts of active citizens, NGOs and governments to deal with our present ills and problems – including worldwide poverty, environmental destruction, social injustice, economic inefficiency and political unrest and violence within and between nations. Failure to reform the world’s money system urgently and radically – that is, from its roots up – could bring disaster for human civilisation before the end of this century. Future Money shows clearly how our money system operates and how it could be reformed so that it acts for the benefit of people and society rather than the opposite, and describes the obstacles that currently prevent that reform.”

9.b People Money – the Promise of Regional Currencies. By Margrit Kennedy and Bernard Lietaer with John Rogers. Triarchy Press, 2012


‘People Money’ is the first English edition of Margrit Kennedy’s and Bernard Lietaer’s 2004 German book ‘Regionalwährungen'(also published in French and Spanish); It is a comprehensive guide to the principles and practice of regional currencies showing the diversity of community currencies experiences and exploring the different initiatives around the world.

9.c Michael Shuman. Local Dollars, Local Sense. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012.

a valuable addition to the literature about local investing and community empowerment.

9.d Life Without Money; Building Fair and Sustainable Economies. Co-edited by Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman.


Stefan Meretz: “The ten contributors to Life Without Money argue that we need to dispense with monetary values and relationships — yes, money per se — in order to manage our world on the basis of humane and natural values. The book brings together diverse voices with strong arguments against our money-based system’s ability to improve lives and prevent environmental disaster. It provides a strategy for undercutting capitalism by refusing to deal in money, and offers money-free models of governance and collective sufficiency. Life Without Money is written by high-profile activist scholars, including Harry Cleaver, Ariel Salleh and John O’Neill, and is an inspiring manifesto for those who want to take action. However, the book cannot be obtained »without money«, it has to be purchased in a bookstore. And the website indicates, that strict copyright applies.”

10: sharing economics

    10. Enrico Grazzini. The Good of Everyone. The Sharing Economy as a Way Out of the Crisis (Editori Internazionali Riuniti, 2011

“The thesis of this book is that, to overcome the current dramatic economic and ecological crisis, it is necessary to create and develop a polycentric economy based on common goods and not just on market monoculture or state intervention1. We firmly believe that neither the spontaneous market forces nor a public intervention alone can solve the problems created by this double crisis. Quite the contrary, things could even get worse. It is necessary to promote a different type of economy based on the sharing and the self management of common goods, that is, those goods that need to be shared by communities due to their very nature – such as science, the Internet, information, the environment, air and water, currency, natural resources, means of communication, transport, etc.. It is also necessary to encourage economic democracy and the workers’ participation on company boards to thwart speculation and develop a stronger, fair, sustainable economy.”

10.b Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, and Local Sustainable Economies. Janelle Orsi. SELC, 2012


“To most law students and lawyers, practicing transactional law isn’t an obvious path to saving the world. But as the world’s economic and ecological meltdowns demand that we redesign our livelihoods, our enterprises, our communities, our organizations, our food system, our housing, and much more, transactional lawyers are needed, en masse, to aid in an epic reinvention of our economic system. This reinvention is referred to by many names—the “sharing economy,” the “grassroots economy,” the “new economy.” This new economy facilitates community ownership, localized production, sharing, cooperation, small scale enterprise, and the regeneration of economic and natural abundance. Sharing economy lawyers make the exploding numbers of social enterprises, cooperatives, urban farms, cohousing communities, time banks, local currencies, and the vast array of unique organizations arising from the sharing economy possible and legal. There are nine primary areas of work that sharing economy lawyers should become familiar with, and each is addressed in a chapter.”

10.c Doc Searls. The Intention Economy.

“. . . rather than guessing what might get the attention of consumers – or what might “drive” them like cattle – vendors will respond to actual intentions of customers. Once customers’ expressions of intent become abundant and clear, the range of economic interplay between supply and demand will widen, and its sum will increase. The result we will call the Intention Economy.”

11: cultures of sharing and self

    11. A CONNECTED ROOM OF ONE’S OWN. (Cyber)space and (self) management of the self. By Remedios Zafra. Translated by TOM SKIPP . Fórcola ediciones, 2012.


“A Connected Room of One’s Own is an insightful essay about intimacy, about the spaces of privacy and the Internet; a book which sets out to ponder the challenges new online habits and customs pose to creativity, politics, and the management of our personal identities. It brings a broad range of disciplines to the discussion –from anthropology and sociology to philosophy and politics– certain to be of interest to researchers working in the fields of online culture, feminism and identity/cultural studies.”

11.b Cultures and Ethics of Sharing / Kulturen und Ethiken des Teilens, edited jointly by Wolfgang Sützl, Felix Stalder, Ronald Maier, Theo Hug. Innsbruck University Press, 2012


“It is a bilingual (English/German) collection of papers on empirical and theoretical aspects of sharing, both on-line and off-line. Some papers develop quite optimistic perspectives, but others show also how activities of sharing can be captured by very problematic interests. They all manage to highlight the richness of sharing in social setting and the wide-ranging questions a focus sharing brings to the fore.”

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