The only book I've read in the past 10 years or so is Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. The 'whuffie' thing has been on my mind ever since. Merit vs Whuffie.
"People like Searls, Gillmor and Rosen have whuffie in spades, and this is why they can start snowballs rolling downhill and why those snowballs grow as they go. If you have no whuffie, your snowball will just melt - no whuffie means few readers, no one gaining kudos off developing your idea, no whuffie coming back to you for having had it. The idea goes nowhere.
It'd be nice to think that it's the quality of the idea that gets the snowball moving, but more often than not, that has nothing to do with it. Hugh Macleod, for example, has so much whuffie that all he has to do is fart and the trackbacks start rolling in."