One might think that it is too early to declare the existence of a “classic” work on the Internet given how the Internet as a widely accessible communications networks is barely out of its pre-teen years, But if there is one book that I would say is a classic, it’s Julian Dibbell’s My Tiny Life. There were plans underway to release it under a libre license but after I ran into Julian at the AAAs in November, I got the scoop that things had come to a screeching halt.
So a few days ago I was surprised to find in my inbox, this nicely crafted announcement that My Tiny Life is more or less (more more than less) free as a free bird. This is good news and his story about the trials and tribulations of getting My Tiny Life out of the noose of copyright, is an interesting one, involving among other things, outsourced Indian Labor. Who knew.
And while I am on the topic, I meant to write about who, among the many authors I assigned this last fall, took the cake among students as their favorite book/article. Somewhat, unsurprisingly, Dibbell’s more recent Play Money was the champion. Most of the comments were relayed in class but here is one of the more amusing comments indicating the love:
Reading Julian Dibbell’s Real Money, Or How I quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot was exceedingly more interesting than I expected.
And then just yesterday, another student wrote me an email telling me he read and re-read the book over his holiday break and wants to get Dibbell inivited to NYU to speak (which would be great, though I admittedly have no idea how to make that happen given my recent arrival here). But clearly, there is another classic in the making.
Thankfully students liked many other readings and I think there were two other clear winners: Carl Elliot’s Better than Well , Michael Warner’s The Trouble with Normal. and Michael Sandel’s The Case against Perfection. This is of course no surprise to me as I picked these books because I knew they would teach themselves.