Free Thought Discussion

The Group meets every Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., at the home of Hilton Brown in Mountain View. For more information contact Hilton at:

Strictly speaking, this is not a “book group,” since we devote the first Wednesday of each month to discussion of current news events, and, on the other evenings, discussions tend to be wide-ranging, centered about, but not exclusively about, the chosen book.  The word “group” is often used but does not imply that you have to join formally in any sense. Visitors are welcome. Just show up—the more the merrier!

The current book we are reading is “The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism” by Jeremy Rifkin

Book Description
In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism………..
About the Author

One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy, The Age of Access, The Biotech Century, and The End of Work. A fellow at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program and an adviser to several European Union heads of state, he is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Bethesda, Maryland.

From Amazon:

“A thought-provoking read that pushes some of the most important new technologies to their logical–and sometimes scary–conclusions…The value of this book… doesn’t lie in the accuracy of its specific forecasts, but rather in the extrapolations of current trends that enable Rifkin to reach them. If Rifkin’s predictions have value… it is in bringing home the extent of the technologically induced upheaval that may lie ahead. How we deal with the consequences is up to us. A grand unifying theory of [Rifkin’s] thinking over four decades.” ―The Financial Times  …… See Link to Amazon above

15Nov – Start Readings of pages xi ( Acknowledgements, etc) through Chap. 1 (Page 27), “The Great Paradigm Shift from Market Capitalism to ……”  This is about 40 pages.

22 Nov – Chapter 2 (Page 27) “The European Enclosures and the Birth of the Market Economy”  through Chapter 4 (Page 66) “Human Nature through a Capitalist Lens”. This is about 40 pages.

29 Nov – Chapter 5 (Page 68) “Extreme Productivity: The Internet of Things…..”  and Chapter 6 (Page 109) “3D Prining….”. This is about 40 pages

6 Dec — Freethought Discussion – Bring your current events to discuss

13 Dec — Chapter 7 (Page 109) “The MOOCS and a Zero…..”  through Chapter 9 (Page 152) “The Ascent of the Prosumer….”. This is about 40 pages.

20 Dec — Chapter 10 (Page 155) “The Comedy of the Commons”  through Chapter 11 (Page 194) “The Collaboratists Prepare for Battle”. This is about 40 pages.

27 Dec — Chapter 12 (Page 192) “The Struggle to Define and Control the Intelligent Infrastructure” through Page 222. This is about 28 pages. A light read for over the Holiday. Give some of you time to catch up.

3 Jan – Freethought Discussion – Bring your regarding philosophy, politics and even religious questions to the meeting for discussion.

10 Jan — Chapters 13 (Page 192) “The Transformation from Ownership to Access” and 14 “Crowd-funding Social Capital, Democratizing Currency, Humanizing…” through Page 270. This is about 78 pages. A light read, and two weeks to accomplish it.

17 JanChapters 15 (Page 192) “The Sustainable Cornucopia” Pages 273 through 296. This is about 24 pages. A light read, and time to focus on the many ideas presented.

24 Jan
— Chapters 16, (Page 297)  “The Biosphere Lifestyle” and the “Afterward” through to 312.. This is about 15 pages. A light read, so easy to complete the book, discuss it and choose the next one.

Note: We will be choosing our next book on 24 Jan. Send an email to to request a copy. It now has 27 books. We will allow for voting by proxy, if you need to do that. Please send along your book choices for the vote, if you can not come.

Some previously read books

Our customs on book nominations & voting


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