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The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs Hardcover – June 23, 2015
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“This imaginative, provocative book reveals that if we want to overcome barriers, we can find surprisingly valuable lessons underground. I never expected to learn so much about entrepreneurship and innovation from pirates and gangsters.” (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author of GIVE AND TAKE)
"What do Somali pirates, Amish camel-milkers, and gang leaders have in common? They're all innovative—and successful—misfits in today's global economy. Think you can't learn anything from outlaws and provocateurs? This book will make you think again with engaging stories and insightful analysis of how people operating on the fringes create unique business models, and in the process transform the culture around them." (Daniel H. Pink, author of TO SELL IS HUMAN and DRIVE)
"The Misfit Economy helps us to understand the lives of those men and women who have had to depend on illegal enterprise just to get by. In this book you'll learn how the misfit economies can bring meaning to those who are hopeless, jobless, and hungry for more than a handout. You'll meet people who are just like everyone else in searching for freedom and opportunity, but aren't afraid to bend the rules of the system." (King Tone, Former Leader of the Latin Kings, a hispanic street gang)
"If you want to learn what Somali pirates have in common with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, read this book. It's a colourful guide on how to shine a light on the ingenuity that often lies in the dark depths of all types organisations." (Rachel Botsman, co-author of What's Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live)
“For those wanting a fresh perspective on business practices or working lives, this is a snappy introduction to a new way of thinking.” (Financial Times)
A well-paced read about a unique perspective on supply and demand and those who create it. For anyone interested in business or economics—especially those who hustle. (Library Journal)
"Lively and insightful."—The Economist
About the Author
Alexa Clay is a storyteller and leading expert on subculture. She is the cofounder of the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within big business and the Founder of Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry. Alexa initiates projects through the collective The Human Agency, which aim to create communities of purpose around the world. Formerly, she was a Director at Ashoka, a global nonprofit that invests in social entrepreneurs. When not operating in the world as Alexa, you can find her playing the Amish Futurist, an alter ego bringing Socratic inquiry to the tech scene. She is a graduate of Brown University and Oxford University.
Kyra Maya Phillips is a writer and innovation strategist. She is a director of The Point People, a network based consultancy focused on innovation and systemic change. Previously, Kyra worked as a journalist for The Guardian, where she focused on environmental reporting, and at as a consultant at SustainAbility, a London based think-tank and consultancy. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, but is now based in London, where she lives with her husband and son. She is a graduate of The London School of Economics.
Together, Alexa and Kyra have appeared in and written for Wired Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Le Monde, The Guardian, The New York Times, Haaretz, Aeon Magazine, Fast Company, MTV, Forbes, Dazed and Confused, and National Geographic.
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Top Customer Reviews
I also would have been more interested in learning about the practices of "misfits" who aren't on some sort of moralistic quest that we can easily identify as beneficial. I think the book would have been far more intriguing if the authors allowed the readers to wrestle with areas of moral ambiguity rather than attempting to shape every profile to meet society's expectations of morality. I give the book a three because I think these missed opportunities reduced the originality of this work, making this book similar to anything written by Gladwell or any CSR puff piece from corporate America.
But after completing it, that isn't quite what I got. For the most part, it seemed like a series of bland stories that were either too vague to really push the point, or just were too in unnecessarily in-depth in areas that didn't pertain to the focus of the book. There was very little "good" meat on the bones, and it was honestly disappointing. I would've preferred some more legitimate lessons in creativity. Within the title of the book is "lessons in creativity," and despite the very interesting people and their stories, I really don't feel like I learned any lessons, or at least anything groundbreaking for that matter. Instead of just throwing out these stories, I would've liked some more application. How can we use what these people did/know to succeed in our businesses? I get that there is inference there, but the points should've been explicit.
Overall, could've been better. I wasn't too thrilled by it. If you want some real, applicable information, this might not be the book to buy. If you are looking for some stories about some very interesting people and their businesses, then pick it up.
I mean, maybe they thrive because they break the law, while all the rest of us choose to abide by it. Breaking the law is a pretty big barrier to entry.
This is only tied-up at the end, where the author forces the anecdote to fit the broader themes -- themes which were generic and uninsightful.