Atonement's Reviews > For the Win

For the Win by Cory Doctorow
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U 50x66
's review
Oct 25, 10

Virtual dungeons, third world gold farms, human smuggling, universal economic ideas, global unionization with technology; as the reader progresses through Cory Doctorow’s new book “For the Win”, the topics get more and more demanding. For an average book, the themes and ideas, along with the various personalities, settings, cultures, and perspectives would be hard to take in. Good thing “For the Win” is not your average book.

Being an avid Chinese gamer who has experienced firsthand many of the topics described in this book, I have to give Cory a lot of praise for doing such thorough research on so many subjects and presenting it in such a realistic manner. He uses foreign terms such as “zhengfu” (government) and “agro” (to aggravate a monster in a game so it targets only you while your teammates chop its limbs off) with such fluency combined with regular English it astounds even me, who actually lives these lives he’s trying to create.

Some characters are harsh, stubborn, and realistic to the point where they reflect the harsh brutality of everyday life in the third world countries. Seemingly relatable characters like Wei-Dong, however, are given too much freedom, causing them to be more comparable rather than relatable. Major props to Cory on that too.

Ironically enough though, the book’s biggest downfall was structured within the advice and lessons buried between the sections. “If you have all the money in the world, you can buy the whole world. But what if you printed twice that amount of money? Would you be able to buy two worlds?” This can also be applied to a book’s information. The reader has a set value for all the information; as the book lectures, the value for each individual lesson gets smaller and smaller until it becomes quite insignificant.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the book. Lengthy as it may be, it’s all quality information with superb storytelling. Just watch out Cory. As a little lesson from myself: Too much of anything can be bad for you.

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