Amy Jo Kim holds a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Washington, yet nowhere in the book--and, most interestingly, not flexing its marketing muscle on the cover, either--did I see Kim's doctoral credentials mentioned. That simple omission foretells something most important about this book: It's a real people's book, written by a real person. There's not a whisper of the pundit, polymath, pedagogue--which Dr. Kim absolutely is--in Community Building.... It's more like coffee with Amy Jo discussing the subject she knows and loves best.

Here's what Dan Richards, senior editor of Mindjack, "the beat of digital culture," wrote at the beginning of his review of Ms. Kim's book:

"Amy Jo Kim's long-awaited book, Community Building on the Web, arrived on my desk recently. I build virtual communities, so I'm always drinking in any information that comes down the pipe. The one big plus that's apparent in the initial few pages of the book is that this work functions as a starting point for those with no prior community-building experience. It's not that the book doesn't deliver much richer and advanced information--it does. But what it doesn't take for granted is the large audience out there who want and really need to start from square one."

Richards concludes, "There are certainly more Web community books, but if there is a book to pick up first, Community Building on the Web, by Amy Jo Kim, is the one."

As a virtual community builder myself, I agree with Richards. While other Web community development books tell a bunch of stories that never apply to my unique situation, Ms. Kim's nuts and bolts, "have-you-looked-at-this-an'-that" how-tos and direction on actually designing, building and managing Web communities is the substance here--and she leaves the tech stuff to the techies. I think this is the best book on Web community out there. 

Paperback, 380 pages; $29.99; Peachpit Press.