For the Win
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For the Win

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,931 ratings  ·  652 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

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ebook, PDF version, 214 pages
Published May 2010 by Cory Doctorow
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Mark
"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...more
Tfitoby
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
...more
Michael
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
Lizzie
Chris brought a copy home from work for me, hurray.

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 imme...more
Kim
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...more
February Four
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...more
Anila
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...more
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
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,...more
Walter Underwood
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...more
Gary
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
Raluca
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,...more
Richard
Oct 27, 2012 Richard rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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 us a...more
Simon Yu



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...more
Kathleen
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
Joseph Cohen
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...more
Byron
‘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
Thermalsatsuma
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
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.
Eric
"For the Win" by Cory Doctorow is an amazing read that captures the life of a gamer in many different ways. The thought of someone that can so accurately describe the online aspect of gaming is something that may be hard to comprehend. The reason that I may be more fascinated in this type of reading is that I am a gamer myself and this book has a certain affect on gamers that can relate to the situations that are written about. I hold strong relations to thee story at hand even though I do not...more
Jeanette Greaves
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...more
Harker US Library
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
Sandy
More than anything this book is a lesson in economics and labor issues. But it's a really interesting lesson - some of my favorite parts were the scenes where the narrator pulls back to explain exactly how the economics works. You don't have to have a lot of gamer knowledge to understand what they're talking about as Doctorow does a great job of giving you the details that you need as you need them without (and this is the impressive part) talking down to those readers who actually do have some...more
Stavros Tsiakalos
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...more
Suzanne
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
Nick
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
Cass
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...more
Kathleen
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,...more
Xian
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...more
Molly
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
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Erudite Readers: For The Win - July 2012 21 40 Dec 30, 2012 12:40PM  
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  • The Ware Tetralogy (Ware, #1-4)
  • Cyberabad Days
  • Crux (Nexus, #2)
  • The Execution Channel
  • Behemoth: Seppuku (Rifters, #4 / Behemoth, #2)
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection
  • Swastika Night
  • The Quiet War
  • The Zenith Angle
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12581
Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

He is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books.

Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, Disney, and post-scarcity economics.

http://us.macmillan.com...more
More about Cory Doctorow...
Little Brother (Little Brother, #1) Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Makers Homeland (Little Brother, #2) Pirate Cinema

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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.” 53 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.” 33 likes
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