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Publisher's Summary

Who are the greatest innovators in the world? You're probably thinking Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford - the usual suspects.

This book isn't about them. It's about people who are just as innovative, entrepreneurial, and visionary as the Jobses, Edisons, and Fords of the world, except they're not in Silicon Valley. They're in the street markets of Sao Paulo and Guangzhou, and the rubbish dumps of Lagos. They are pirates, slum dwellers, computer hackers, dissidents, and inner city gang members.

Across the globe, diverse innovators operating in the black, grey, and informal economies are developing solutions to a myriad of challenges. Far from being "deviant entrepreneurs" that pose threats to our social and economic stability, these innovators display remarkable ingenuity, pioneering original methods and practices that we can learn from and apply to move formal markets.

This book asks: Who are these unknown visionaries? How do they work? How do they organize themselves? How do they catalyze innovation? And ultimately, how can you take these lessons into your own world?

©2015 Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 07-02-15

wide, but not deep

I think the title promises more than the book delivers. Other than a few examples of entrepreneurs with hustle, there wasn't much to the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't finish it

The romantization of crime and pseudoscience was painful. I gave it over about hour to get reasonable, but then I was stuck with it on the train until I got back on WiFi. There wasn't really anything useful, just random anecdotes of low quality. I thought parts of Trevor Noah's Born a Crime addressed this book's topic better than this did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruce
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 10-20-16

Provocative read

Enjoyed the story and the provocative ideas that shows that there is merit in thinking out of the box

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  • Story

Great content on misfits!

Definitely recommend to the hacker of today's world. She really gets into details about behavior alteration and economics. Has a wide variety of gems.

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Great content!

I was extremely surprised with this book. On the positive way, of course. Recommended to all misfits and entrepreneurs out there!

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  • Thomas Ogera
  • Queens Village, New York United States
  • 09-06-15

Great book

Loved it. Worth reading more than once. Very insightful and well presented. I'm taking the advice in this book and going to use it.

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  • Eric F.
  • East Worcester, NY United States
  • 08-30-15

Inconsistent moral messages

This book is well researched and written, however is inconsistent with the moral messages and lauded achievements. At one point, Miss Phillips declares patents to hinder progress, but later praises Goddard for his achievements and number of patents in rocketry. She loves the digitizing of music, but hates that music isn't 100% free. I feel like this book was a patchwork of multiple short essays that didn't line up in the final frame.

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  • k
  • BRISTOL, PA, United States
  • 08-08-15

Not the best flow

Would you be willing to try another book from Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips ? Why or why not?

They really need to work on flow. Each section is supposed to be stories that support an idea. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes the section seems to highlight one specific business, with a previously mentioned business mentioned in passing. You get the idea of where they were going with the book, but they seemed to get lost in the storytelling.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator does REALLY BAD accents when reading the quotes of people that were interviewed. If she read them in her own accent, it would have been fine. I often had to stop the book because the accent was so bad and distracting that I couldn't pay attention or because sometimes it kind of sounded like mockery.

Any additional comments?

The stories of how these businesses came to be or found their niche is fairly interesting but don't expect the narrative to follow the organization that you believe the book is supposed to have.

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  • Rick
  • Reno, NV
  • 07-19-15

Falls far short of potential

What disappointed you about The Misfit Economy?

I'm really fascinated by the subject matter of this book and was very excited for its release. Unfortunately, the book fell far short of its promise. Rather than making a coherent case or argument as to why "misfits" lead on innovation and creativity, it was really just a random collection of stories. It felt like the authors started with the conclusion they wanted to make, then took a bunch of random stories and tried to fit them to their thesis. They failed.

Would you ever listen to anything by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips again?

If I read great reviews of a future work I would consider it, but based on this book I wouldn't.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The book is engaging, the stories are short and digestible. The problem was, they didn't tie together in any meaningful way.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Misfit Economy?

I just would have insisted on a better flow that build a case as each story was told.

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  • Mona
  • Haslum, Norway
  • 07-15-15

Easy to read with provoking ideas

Though provoking to some, searching for what we can learn from pirates, hackers and other misfits is well worth the time. The idea is not original, but the book is well written and interesting (except for the last chapter, which i find a bit over the top). If you are into innovation , this is definitely a good read. Enjoy.