The Pirate's Dilemma

How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism

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About The Book

It started with punk. Hip-hop, rave, graffiti, and gaming took it to another level, and now modern technology has made the ideas and innovations of youth culture increasingly intimate and increasingly global at the same time.

In The Pirate's Dilemma, VICE magazine's Matt Mason -- poised to become the Malcolm Gladwell of the iPod Generation -- brings the exuberance of a passionate music fan and the technological savvy of an IT wizard to the task of sorting through the changes brought about by the interface of pop culture and innovation. He charts the rise of various youth movements -- from pirate radio to remix culture -- and tracks their ripple effect throughout larger society. Mason brings a passion and a breadth of intelligence to questions such as the following: How did a male model who messed with disco records in the 1970s influence the way Boeing designs airplanes? Who was the nun who invented dance music, and how is her influence undermining capitalism as we know it? Did three high school kids who remixed Nazis into Smurfs in the 1980s change the future of the video game industry? Can hip-hop really bring about world peace? Each chapter crystallizes the idea behind one of these fringe movements and shows how it combined with technology to subvert old hierarchies and empower the individual.

With great wit and insight -- and a cast of characters that includes such icons as the Ramones, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Russell Simmons, and 50 Cent -- Mason uncovers the trends that have transformed countercultural scenes into burgeoning global industries and movements, ultimately changing our way of life.

About The Author
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MATT MASON is an award-winning writer, consultant, and entrepreneur based in New York City. He was the founding editor in chief of the underground fanzine RWD, which he helped grow into the U.K.’s number one urban music magazine and one of the world’s leading urban music websites.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 2009)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416532200

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Raves and Reviews

"Pirates bring choice and cause change. In this stunning book,Matt Mason forgets the parrots and the eye patches, but manages to teach us all a great deal. I learned a lot." -- Seth Godin, author of The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

"Through a tornado of hip-hop beats and remarkable stories, Matt Mason takes us on a riveting journey to the heart of innovation. In this explosive book, he shows us that companies face a stark choice: Will you allow yourself to be gutted by a pirate or will you actually become one?" -- Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Eeffect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures

"Matt Mason free runs over a half century of global popular culture to describe the shape of our possible future. The Pirate's Ddilemma is a series of leaps of imagination, and it always lands with style." -- Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Ggeneration and editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

"This entertaining survey introduces us [to] today's copyright scofflaws, who may be tomorrow's bold entrepreneurs. 9 out of 10 stars." --Wired

"Reading The Pirate's Dilemma is like stepping into a parallel universe [that is] vast and deep...Mason nimbly guides us through decades of the underground youth scene [in a] tour [that] is diverting and written in a pleasing patter...Something more...than a business book [and] more satisfying -- more authentic, as he might put it -- than most books that rave about the Web 2.0." -James Pressley, Newsday

"An attractive argument...A theory that's pro-technology, pro-money and pro-youth all at once [and Mason] does a good job of proving it...For once, someone is telling young people that we have power, and that we're not selfish and apathetic but demanding 'a more democratic strain of capitalism' while still looking out for our enlightened self-interest." --Nona Willis Aronowitz, The New York Observer

"Well-written, entertaining and highly original, Mason offers a fascinating view of the revolutionary forces shaping the world as we know it." --Publishers Weekly

"Smart and thought-provoking...Mason has crafted a fascinating primer on the intersection of piracy, youth culture, and business." --The Phoenix

"Mason, a writer for uber-hip magazine-cum-branding-effort VICE, offers up an entertaining thesis...For the executive's nightstand." --U.S. News and World Report

"Wacky and intriguing stories." --Fast Company, "Smart Books 2008"

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