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For the Win

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  5,210 Ratings  ·  765 Reviews
In the virtual future, you must organize to survive

At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual "gold," jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world's poorest countries, where count
Hardcover, 477 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Tor Teen
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Doug Abel Cory's books are somewhat advanced for pre-teens - I won't disagree with that. However, the surest way to have a kid read a book is to prevent them…moreCory's books are somewhat advanced for pre-teens - I won't disagree with that. However, the surest way to have a kid read a book is to prevent them from reading it. Banned Books Week is a success for reading every year in libraries across the nation. :)

As for For The Win? Sure, it promotes some somewhat seedy concepts for an 11-12 year old, like running away to play video games for a living, but it also shows the downsides, like how you can end up in a sweatshop "farming" virtual materials (and yes, that is something that has actually happened in Korea and China with some of the online games).

I think there are potential lessons that can be learned, and if the students show interest, I say let them read it! :)(less)
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Nov 22, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it
"A review of 'For the Win,' by Cory Doctorow."
by Cory Doctorow.

David was a hip, streetwise, golden-hearted teenager. He was a native of Mumbai. He was talking to his friend Ravi, who was slumped in a booth in the corner of the teahouse. Ravi was from San Diego; he had never been to India before.

"I read this great book recently," David said. "It's called For the Win, by a guy named Cory Doctorow."

Ravi perked up at this. He had heard of Doctorow. Didn't he have some blog where anti-corporate hips
Dec 28, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, young-adult
Apparently this is a young adult novel. I say apparently as I didn't really pick up on that fact throughout. How can a book that devotes a dozen pages at a time to discussing political, social, moral and economic ideals be aimed at thirteen year olds?

This is the multinational, multicultural story of how the future workers of the world might be unionised, told via the interlinked lives of disenfranchised game players who are being abused by their employers in one way or another.
“He hated it when
I’m not sure if I’ve just read a novel or had a lesson in economics. Cory Doctorow’s dystopian novel For the Win tells the story of the exploitation of an online role playing game’s economy. In the running of what could be classed as electronic sweatshops throughout Asia, gold farmers suffer from very poor work conditions in the effort to mine gold and find virtual treasure to sell to first world customers. The novel has a typical ‘unite and rise against authority to improve our lifestyle’ plot ...more
I actually liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I expected it to make me cranky, but I really enjoyed reading it. When I thought hard about it, though, it was missing something... revelatory, I think, that's keeping me from rounding up the rating. In my heart. (And on Goodreads.)

One thing I knew right away, though -- it really is overlong. This story doesn't have to be 500 pages. To its credit, there isn't any thread or character I immediately think of cutting, but there's just a lot. T
Wow what a crazy book. From a slow, sometimes confusing, start it just rolls on and on and you have to hold tight. A book about the working class and slave labour of the computer future it stars the poor of the world driven to work in crappy conditions for crappy pay just to make "gold" for rich Westerners.

Interspersed with their quest to throw off the shackles of oppression and very vivid and frightening lessons on economy and just how fragile the global financial system is and how based on sh
February Four
Jul 07, 2010 February Four rated it liked it
Maybe it's just me, but Cory's books are beginning to read like libertarian fanfiction. As with Makers, this book was didactic and segued into "let's study economics" a little too often for my liking. As always, the bad guys are demonized and the good guys get all the sympathetic ink.

"Heavy-handed" is the word one would use for Cory's books. I applaud the clarity of the writing--there is no way to mistake what Cory's trying to say--but if there's one thing that turns me off, it's preaching. Lit
Ben Babcock
I don’t much like economics. I like Cory Doctorow’s metaphor here in For the Win of the economy like a train: most people have no idea where it’s going, or whether the driver is even still alive; while economists speculate on all of this, some people pay attention to them while others just ignore them entirely and watch the scenery go by.

I don’t much like economics, but I guess I should admit that the economy is important. Similarly, I won’t accept the cop-out idea that it’s impossible to compre
Walter Underwood
Jun 14, 2011 Walter Underwood rated it it was ok
Cory Doctorow sure is smart. He wrote this story, too, but that doesn't seem to matter because he is so busy telling you stuff, like how government borrowing and inflation work together, even though that has nothing to do with the story. And also how when we get together in the virtual, corporate-owned worlds, we can all work together as comrades for the common good and we don't even have to learn the words to "L'Internationale".

This is a "combine two things" book. Sometimes that works, this tim
Mar 29, 2010 Kogiopsis rated it it was amazing
The short, I'll-really-try-not-to-gush version:
Cory Doctorow writes educational YA. No, come back! Stop running! I'm serious- and it's not a bad thing!
Argh. I lost another one.
Anyhow. Basically, FTW explains the economics and mechanics of labor unions in the framework of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games). It's cool, it's- as I said, and I know it's the word of death- educational, and it's fun. Oh, and here's another adjective: intense. Doctorow doesn't pull punches; Littl
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
I'm in the middle of an epic Doctorow binge right now. Along the way I've been collecting my thoughts about all the books, and when I'm finally done I will write some proper reviews.

In the meantime, I'll tell you the most important thing you need to know: It is not possible to read a Doctorow book without learning something. For those who claim otherwise, you sir, are a liar. The topics are so wide and varied too: technology, social movements, unions, economics, hedge funds, security, business,
Jan 07, 2013 Raluca rated it really liked it
I just finished reading this novel, the second from Doctorow after reading his brilliant "Little brother" and there is so much to be said about it. When I read the subject matter of the novel I was intrigued in more ways than I would have been about 4 years ago. I would not have understood much about gaming and gold farmers and probably would have been limited to "hear-say" and more or less exaggerated or erroneous judgment of these topics. But yes, having played an MMORPG the world depicted in ...more
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
The extra long blurb kind of sums up how I felt about this book. Insanely awesome...but disappointing at the same time. Too long-winded. Not enough story. Long tangents I don't really care about. Lots of that achey sadness I get inside when an author/blogger I LOVE doesn't live up to my expectations.

Let's get this straight. I still adored this book. Cory Doctorow = the coolest, geekiest author you will ever have the pleasure of reading. He never fails to challenge my beliefs in a non-offensive,
Jul 18, 2011 Gary rated it liked it
I have enjoyed Cory's books in the past and also liked this one but not as much as some of the others. The subject matter is appealing to me as it surrounds online games and the phenomenon of 'gold farmers' - those dedicated and possibly addicted gamers who are prepared to play endlessly to secure in-game gold or attributes for characters and then sell these to less dedicated gamers who want to level-up fast and amass gold to buy special equipment such as Vorpal blades etc. The twist in the stor ...more
Joseph Cohen
Apr 24, 2011 Joseph Cohen rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, free-ebook
I've read a number of Cory Doctorow's books including Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Little Brother, and For the Win is definitely along the same lines, a high-concept book wrapped around a modern concept. Here's it economics and union labor, along with virtual economies and gold farming.

There are plenty of reviews that give their two cents on the plot and characters, so I'm not going to go into too much depth about that. As far as the writing goes, I was very disappointed. First, as othe
Oct 27, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
Recommended to Richard by: HardSF Group
I find Cory Doctorow a little bit of mystery. I’ve read three of his books. This one, plus Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Makers , and while he writes enjoyable stories, they aren’t nearly good enough to warrant his fame amongst the digerati. I haven’t yet read Little Brother , which School Library Journal recommends over this one.

I suspect there are several factors that account for his popularity.

First, not too many authors are doing near-term speculative fiction. The geeks amongst u
Aug 16, 2010 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I read this in e-book format on my phone, because I belatedly remembered (well, OK, the free e-book store reminded me) that Cory Doctorow makes his books freely available under a Creative Commons license.

This book is set in the massively multi-player gaming world. I've heard about gold farmers before -- people in less-developed countries who make money by accumulating gold and other items for richer people who want to level up without doing the work. In this book, the gold farmers form a union,
Simon Yu
Jun 02, 2010 Simon Yu rated it really liked it

Some people have strange jobs, like weed farming, snake milking, and dog food testing. The people in For the Win have less bizarre jobs, but they are still pretty unique. MMORPGs (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) are computer games in which massive amounts of players interact with each other. Surprisingly, MMORPGs has a huge effect in the real-world economy. The characters in For the Win are gold-farmers who demand better wages from their bosses. They are not literally gold-farmer
Aug 31, 2010 Kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Right now, millions of people are online playing Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs). These game enthusiasts are running missions in virtual space, playing for high scores and game gold to level up and unlock new weapons and cool virtual prizes. But some players are in it to make real money. They can sell their experience points or weapons for cash to players who want to get to higher levels of gameplay quickly and have the money to pay for it. These are "gold farmers" and often work in swea ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Byron rated it it was amazing
‘For The Win’ is possibly one of 2010′s best works of fiction, at least for those readers who enjoy books that deal with big issues. Paraphrasing other writers in the genre, author Cory Doctorow has said that “good science fiction predicts the present” and part of what makes the novel so enjoyable is that this story could be taking place next year. While his last novel, Little Brother, explored issues around civil liberties and state power in the post-9/11 USA, For The Win shows that Doctorow’s ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Thermalsatsuma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
In the dungeons and fairy kingdoms of the online gaming world, a new breed of worker is emerging. The gold farmers are teenagers from the slums of Mumbai to the backwaters of China, toiling in internet cafes and back rooms to earn gold to sell to westerners eager to get their avatar to the next level. These workers don't see the fruits of their labours though - the ones making a profit are the bosses and the owners of the cafes who pay a pittance and expect long hours in return, but when it's a ...more
Margaret Killjoy
May 24, 2010 Margaret Killjoy rated it it was amazing
this book is about video game playing third world children who organize a non-hierarchical union to fight for their rights and against corporate schmoes. which is to say, it's awesome. there's a nod to the IWW that runs throughout the whole thing, as well.

my only critique is that it's all so pat and doable... like, yeah, we all get together and make this happen! which isn't very true in my experience with organizing. but maybe i'm just too used to losing.
Jeanette Greaves
Jun 02, 2014 Jeanette Greaves rated it really liked it
By the end of a Cory Doctorow book, I usually feel educated and almost up to date with this dystopian, fast moving sf future that I'm living in. I feel, sometimes, that it's the future I deserve, having spent so much of my youth enjoying dystopian novels whilst feeling safely sure that 'we' would never let them come true.

Enter the 2010s, and a whole bunch of politicians who seem to have read those same novels and used them as a guidebook.

'For the Win' is about youth, it's about tech, it's about
Harker US Library
Mar 03, 2014 Harker US Library rated it really liked it
On the one hand, For the Win reads like a video game ad. Cory Doctorow describes, with childlike delight, his ideas for massive multi-player online role-playing games with titles like “Svartalfheim Warriors” and “Zombie Mecha” in such painstaking detail that the reader has to wonder why he chose a career as a novelist instead of a game designer. But then the other face of the book shows itself, the professional, educational side that balances out Doctorow’s nerdy fantasies with lessons on econom ...more
Stavros Tsiakalos
Oct 22, 2014 Stavros Tsiakalos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been struggling for a while now trying to decide how many stars to give this book. The concept and goal of the book are worth more than five stars. Explaining the importance of unions, human rights, dignity to an otherwise apathetic generation of teens by using the world of gaming that so often is held responsible for alienating them - I applaud this effort.

But then come the little things. The first acronym not used correctly one will happily overlook.
Then comes the chapter dedicated to t
Oct 15, 2010 Suzanne rated it liked it
This book is vast, really too vast, in its scope and story. A near future has brought Asia near-slave factory labor into online gaming. The economies of the major online games, led by Nintendo and Coca-Cola games, can be mined for actual cash: Booty from the games is a commodity and as such can be farmed, bought, sold, and players face real-world dangers as a result of their online actions. Sweeping from location to location, the story features hard-core economics and labor lessons, which make i ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Nick rated it liked it
This is the third or fourth book that I've read by Cory Doctorow. His writing is less polished than some of the writers I've been reading lately (like DeLillo and Eggers) so it suffered a little by comparison. Like most sci-fi I've read, the real energy of the writing seemed to go into world-building. The characters and plot that come out of this approach are by necessity somewhat wooden because everyone knows that they are just there to flesh out this amazing world that the writer has created. ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Cass rated it really liked it
3.5 stars for the storyline (I really liked it)
5 stars for the politics (It has changed the way I view things, and I like books like that).

Cory Doctorow always impresses me (well except for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, I never understood that one, but that might be the fact I have never been to Disneyland).

His books are always well-written and gripping tales that challenge my thinking. In this book we followed the lives of gold farmers in a not-to-distant future (I imagine about ten years
Feb 14, 2013 Xian rated it liked it
warning: for the uninitiated into gamer culture, be prepared to look up quite a number of terms, but I exhort you not to give up, because the book, masquerading as a video game book, actually wants to also say something about labour unions. Also, it's nowhere near as bad as A Clockwork Orange

For fiction, a 3.5,because I have harsh standards. It's a good book, but the writing is mediocre. But it has a geeky knowledge of of so many things close to my heart; it sure as hell is informative and enter
Aug 08, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every so often the news picks up on that strange phenomenon of virtual game-assets being traded for real money in the real, non-virtual, meatspace world. What it seldom mentions is that many of those assets are "mined" by real, non-virtual gamer-workers, sweating away in real, non-virtual internet-café factories. This book imagines what might happen if these "gold farmers" unionized, forming the Industrial Workers of the World Wide Web — the IWWWW, or "Webblies". It's a fantastic concept, brilli ...more
Jan 09, 2010 P.T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, sci-fi
[Review originally published on Book Review - For the Win by Cory Doctorow]

Cory Doctorow's upcoming young adult novel, For the Win (or FTW), may not sound all that interesting on the surface.

At its core, this is a book about economics and the formation of unions. Boooring. Yet Doctorow weaves an intense story around these potentially dry topics, resulting in one of the most riveting books I've read this year.

For the Win takes place in the near future, when multiplayer online games—de
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Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life , the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free , and young adult novels like Homeland , Pirate Cinema and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers . He is a Fellow for the ...more
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“He hated it when adults told him he only felt the way he did because he was young. As if being young was like being insane or drunk, like the convictions he held were hallucinations caused by a mental illness that could only be cured by waiting five years.” 60 likes
“It's the stupid questions that have some of the most surprising and interesting answers. Most people never think to ask the stupid questions.” 40 likes
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