Godin has written the book in a series of short chapters and it is indeed focused on education, both K-12 and higher education. He does a very good job dissecting what is right and wrong with education today, which makes it a worthwhile read. In addition, there is text that can be applied to other situations, such as this about standardized mass contracts, which is a quote from Friedrich Kessler (1943):
The development of large scale enterprise with its mass production and mass distribution made a new type of contract inevitable — the standardized mass contract. A standardized contract, once its contents have been formulated by a business firm, is used in every bargain dealing with the same product or service. The individuality of the parties which so frequently gave color to the old type of contract has disappeared. The stereotyped contract of today reflects the impersonality of the market…. Once the usefulness of these contracts was discovered and perfected in the transportation, insurance, and banking business, their use spread into all other fields of large scale enterprise, into international as well as national trade, and into labor relations.When I read this, I thought immediately of the "click through" (or "click and accept" or"web-wrap") agreements that we are confronted with daily. These are standardized mass contracts which we cannot negotiate and must accept as-is, if we want to use that service. We are so used to these agreements - and their long, unintelligible legal text - that most of us click and agree automatically.
Godin would argue that our education system has taught us to comply and to stay with what the larger group is doing. Thus we accept these click through agreements, because it is what is expected of us and it is what others are doing. In the past, libraries have automatically accepted the standardized mass contracts their vendors have given them, but that is changing.
What do we each need to do to change these contracts that have been standard since the industrial revolution? How do we create changeable contracts that can be easily altered to meet specific needs? Yes, I know we have the Creative Commons, but I'm thinking of database contracts, for example. Can we build momentum, rather than having individual libraries seemingly tackling this alone?