Author Walter Isaacson uses crowdsourcing for his next book

Walter Isaacson, author of the bestselling Steve Jobs biography, told Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent interview that he has adopted a form of editorial crowdsourcing for his next book.

Isaacson posted chapters of his work-in-progress on several internet sites, including LiveJournal, Scribd and Medium, and put out a call for "notes, comments, corrections."

walter-isaason.jpgIsaacson describes his book project as "a narrative about the people who helped to create the most important innovations of the digital age." He's quick to point out the value of online collaboration, so crowdsourcing made perfect sense to him. "I got to the point of the book where people started using the Internet to collaborate," he said. "It didn't take a genius to say, 'Why don't I use the Internet to collaborate?'"

Isaacson's posts have attracted feedback from people he doesn't know as well as comments from some of the digital innovators who feature in the book. One post on Medium was read by about 18,000 people and inspired about 125 comments, as well as dozens of e-mails and a few spin-off articles, he told the business weekly.

Though Isaacson says he finds the online input useful, he made it clear that the feedback won't influence the final form of the book that much. Collaboration is all very well, but he's not interested in relinquishing the role of author. "There has to be someone in charge."


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