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Misfit Economy

Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs

By Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips
16-minute read
Audio available
Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips

Misfit Economy (2015) sings the praises of people who break society’s rules. You’ll learn the strategies of such freethinkers – often working on the periphery of the mainstream economy – who succeed amid tough circumstances. Instead of shunning such “misfits,” you’ll instead be inspired to adopt such strategies in your own life and career.

  • Anyone who wants to unleash their “inner misfit”
  • Start-up founders and entrepreneurs
  • Outsiders, freethinkers and mavericks of all stripes

Alexa Clay is a leading expert on subcultures. Among a host of other projects, she founded the League of Intrapreneurs, an initiative to create change from within big businesses.

Kyra Maya Phillips is a writer and innovation strategist. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Phillips previously wrote on environmental issues for The Guardian.

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Misfit Economy

Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs

By Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips
Synopsis

Misfit Economy (2015) sings the praises of people who break society’s rules. You’ll learn the strategies of such freethinkers – often working on the periphery of the mainstream economy – who succeed amid tough circumstances. Instead of shunning such “misfits,” you’ll instead be inspired to adopt such strategies in your own life and career.

Key idea 1 of 10

Are you different? Do you not fit in with “normal?” Misfit, this new world is for you!

Misfit. The word describes a person who doesn’t “fit” in, who chooses her own path contrary to others.

Can this actually be a good thing?

In today’s rapidly evolving economy, being unique is valuable. As traditional industries are being upended by changing social and environmental conditions, misfits are needed more than ever.

Misfit David Berdish is a third-generation worker at Ford. He slowed down his career to campaign instead for ideas – unpopular at the time – that he nonetheless believed were vital for Ford’s future, such as car sharing and other alternative mobility solutions.

It was hard going at first. But eventually, Berdish garnered support for his ideas and, today, his efforts have helped the automobile industry as a whole to start addressing the future.

Misfits are capable of dreaming big and, in turn, changing the world. This is because such outsiders have an unusual way of thinking. And while “weird” thinkers in the past were stigmatized, today companies of all stripes are seeking them out.

For instance, German software giant SAP recently announced that it was planning to hire people diagnosed with autism disorders for positions in programming and debugging, hoping that this group’s special skills and attentiveness to small details would be useful.

There’s another advantage to hiring misfits – they’re flexible. Modern corporations need to nimbly respond to external conditions. Employees must be creative and adaptable, and not specialized and methodical like many workers of the past.

As a result, career paths are becoming less linear and more diverse. And misfits are especially well-suited to thrive in this type of environment.

All in all, there are big advantages to being “different.” So what can we learn from misfits?

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