Ever since I wrote about Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg + Google Creative Director Ji Lee in January I've been thinking a lot about the concept of FREE and how it is factoring into our new economy. (Both entrepreners had emphasized the fact that the more they gave away the more they got back.
Nora Young also touched on the subject recently in her Spark interview with TED producer June Cohen who explained that TED's goal is to make their conference videos available for free to as wide an audience as possible.
Consequently I was ripe for the reading of FREE: How Today's Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing by Wired magazine's Chris Anderson. Anderson begins the book by tracing the history of pricing and commerce and then unpacks the various types of free including the newly invented model of a 'Freemium'. (wherein a company offers a free basic version of their product along with a paid premium version) The book is full of thought-provoking material written in an optimistic and highly readable style. The most enjoyable book I've read this year so far and methinks essential reading for anyone running a small business.