The Misfit Economy

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

The Misfit Economy

“A fresh perspective on business practices or working lives…and a snappy introduction to a new way of thinking” (Financial Times), The Misfit Economy shows how lessons in innovation, salesmanship, and entrepreneurship can come from surprising places: pirates, bootleggers, counterfeiters, hustlers, and others living on the fringe of society.

Who are the greatest innovators in the world? You’re probably thinking Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford. The usual suspects. Well, The Misfit Economy isn’t about them. It’s about people you’ve never heard of. 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 operating out of Silicon Valley. They’re in the street markets of Sao Paulo and Guangzhou, the rubbish dumps of Lagos, the flooded coastal towns of Thailand. They are pirates, slum dwellers, computer hackers, dissidents, and inner city gang members.

Across the globe, diverse innovators are working in the black, grey, and informal economies to develop solutions to myriad challenges. Far from being “deviant entrepreneurs” that pose threats to our social and economic stability, these innovators display remarkable ingenuity, pioneering original methods and best practices that we can learn from and apply to formal markets in urgent need of change.

In their “well-paced read about a unique perspective on supply and demand and those who create it” (Library Journal), Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips investigate the stories of underground innovation that make up the Misfit Economy. They examine the teeming genius of the underground and ask: Who are these unknown visionaries? How do they work? How do they organize themselves? How do they catalyze and execute upon innovation? And ultimately, how can you take these lessons into your own world? The Misfit Economy tells you how.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451688832 | 
  • October 2016
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About the Authors

Alexa Clay

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 aims to create communities of purpose around the world. Formerly she was a director at Ashoka, a global nonprofit that invests in social entrepreneurs. A graduate of Brown University and Oxford University, she is the author (with Kyra Maya Phillips) of The Misfit Economy.  

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Kyra Maya Phillips

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. A graduate of The London School of Economics, she is the author (with Alexa Clay) of The Misfit Economy.

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