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Utopian Entrepreneur (Mediaworks Pamphlets)

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262621533
ISBN-10: 0262621533
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Life can be tough for those who care about the world around them. Just ask Brenda Laurel, whose efforts to infuse social responsibility into her software company led to Purple Moon's spectacular failure on the cusp of the dot-com boom. Her slim memoir, Utopian Entrepreneur, explores her work in girls' games, virtual reality, and the intersection between art and tech.

The writing is fluid and ranges from childhood memories to boardroom battles; readers can't help but amass insight into the difficulties of maintaining one's soul in a heavily commercialized world. Though the book's design is too strongly reminiscent of the dense early-'90s typeface frenzy, this will only be a minor distraction for most readers. Laurel's narrative jumps and slides through new layouts and type sizes like a monkey and holds the attention firmly throughout. While Utopian Entrepreneur won't give any hints on making money, it will explain one human's vision for doing business right. --Rob Lightner

From Publishers Weekly

Although Brenda Laurel's start-up venture, Purple Moon (a company dedicated solely to creating software for girls) failed, she walked away from the experience with a cornucopia of knowledge about technology and economics. She shares those lessons in Utopian Entrepreneur, a guide to those seeking socially positive work in the business world. A stream-of-consciousness style and unique layout come together to present important messages, like "good research is never done," "be a realist" and "pay attention to what you learn."

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mediaworks Pamphlets
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262621533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt D. Squire on November 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Note -- i tried to change this to 5 stars, because 2 years later, i still draw quite a bit from this book. the system doesn't seem to want me to change it though.

At its heart, Utopian Entrepreneur is a Purple Moon post-mortem -- what can be learned from the life and death of Rockett Movado, the spunky heroine of the Purple Moon games. Born from concerns about the technological gender gap, Purple Moon sought to build a suite of games based on solid research. Why didn't more girls play games? What are the differences in how girls and boys approach digital media? How might designers create interactive digital entertainment that would appeal to girls? Purple Moon spent months on these questions, interviewing and surveying thousands of girls. Educators, game designers, media theorists, gender scholars, or anyone looking for a good cocktail party quote will find some of these facts fascinating. Girls don't mind violence as much as a lack of good stories and characters; girls are more likely to blame themselves for computer failure than boys are. Good, useful stuff.

(...)this little gem is a bargain. As the initial book in MIT's new Mediawork pamplet series - "zines for grownups", Utopian Enterpreneur offers concise prose, compact design, and short segments that make it perfect reading for between meetings or waiting at the airport. The unique layout helps break up the text and enrich the reading experience. Pulling off such a personal book is not easy, and the graphic design definitely contributes to the book's success. At times though, the interplay among images, space, and type feels superfluous failing to add nuance or underscore the meaning of the text.
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Format: Paperback
First off, I'll cop to knowing Brenda Laurel, but I don't feel obligated to review this book because of it. I read the manuscript many months ago and was moved by Brenda's ablity to describe her personal experiences in a way for everyone to both enjoy and learn from. It's not a long book and it will definately leave you wanting more--not because there's not enough there but because what is there is so nice to read.
I think most of us in the tech industries--especially designers--often have conflicts about what kind of work we do vs. what kind we WISH we could do. Brenda's book is optimistic, funny, touching, and enraging at times because she describes her experiences navigating these conflicting forces. What happened to Purple Moon was a travesty and anyone who envisions building a company with any social goals in addition to making money should treat this as an important piece of research.
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Format: Paperback
I don't work in the tech industry but a friend of mine referred this book to me. Laurel's message is significant to anyone interested in the betterment of planet earth. In a scant 100 pages she speaks volumes to those up against the wall that divides commercialism and art.
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