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The Unincorporated Man

(Unincorporated Man #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,240 ratings  ·  454 reviews

The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. L

Hardcover, Sci Fi Essential Books, 479 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Tor Books
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S. I don't know about Fearing's work, but I do know one of the influences was the work of Milton Friedman. Look up his essays, especially "The Role of Go…moreI don't know about Fearing's work, but I do know one of the influences was the work of Milton Friedman. Look up his essays, especially "The Role of Government in Education." Friedman's work is quoted a couple of times in the book.(less)

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Apr 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
This novel offers a really interesting and innovative SF concept: in the future, every person is incorporated upon birth. Twenty percent of the shares go to the parents, five percent goes to the government, the rest can be sold by the owner for education, possessions and so on. You can buy and sell someone's shares as an investment, for charity, even as a hostile act. Reaching "self-majority" - owning the majority of your own shares - is similar to becoming independently wealthy in today's world ...more
Storyline: 2 stars
Character likeability: 1 star
World building:4 stars
American propaganda: -1star

Three hundred years in the past a rich man has himself cryogenicly frozen and sealed away somewhere safe. He is reanimated into a future world where every individual is incorporated. Parents own a 20% stock in there kids. Shareholders vote on major decisions for an individual.

I really like the premise. It is incredibly interesting, especially when we learn about "penny stocks" and the chairman who wa
Nov 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like science fiction and are patient
Recommended to JulesQ by: Tyler Cowen
Shelves: 2010
So, I think I liked this book a lot better while I was reading it than once I was done -- it might just be because the first half was like 42 times better than the second half. And once it was done I was left feeling very unsatisfied, and I think there are a couple of reasons for this.

The premise of the book is that in the future, people are like individual corporations which can buy and sell percentages of their earnings -- the government gets an automatic 5%, parents get 20%, and the rest you
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a totally original idea made into an interesting story. I really like the concept of being able to incorporate a person. Work hard to try to buy your outstanding shares to thus own a majority and then be able to control your own life. You can never own all as the Government owns a mandatory 5%. You can buy shares in other people who you believe are a good investment. Your earning are then paid out as dividends, so the more of your own shares you own, the more of your income stays with y ...more
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Excellent debut novel. It is always nice when a truly unique idea comes along and the central idea of this book is certainly that. A great piece of libertarian science fiction from a fresh new voice (or voices). I look forward to this duos next book. Recommended.
Kara Babcock
Do you have a brick wall handy? Because hitting your head against that would be a more productive and more enjoyable experience than listening to The Unincorporated Man as an audiobook. This was the only format in which it was available through my library. Audiobooks are not my preferred format for reading. They can definitely be great if you have good material and a good narrator. The narrator here, Todd McLaren, wasn’t bad—but even he couldn’t make this book sound interesting. Even at 2.5x spe ...more
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
First, thank you to Ayn Rand for not writing her 'economic libertarian' novels in a series, (e.g. imagine reading the last page of Atlas Shrugged Library Edition Part 2..."stay tuned for Ann's continuation of the Atlas saga, _Atlas Itched_!") The only serious disappointment was the author's inability to complete this in a single volume. Having said that, the Kollin brothers are a very clear major new voice in science fiction, very welcome. This novel could be a nominee for the nebulas or hugos n ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Fascinating. While the protagonist was largely frustrating, I love that this book brought some fresh ideas to a genre largely in need of them. The concept that in the future people own shares in you & your future earnings was highly original. I love that a guy from our time who cryogenically froze himself wakes up in a future as the only person who isn't incorporated ie no one owns stock in him. The book did a great job of showing both sides of the coin for why society & individuals should & sho ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy. Okay. This is the longest it's taken me to read a book in quite a long time, and I waffled on the rating for one very specific reason: it's legitimately hard for me to tell if I'm just really not the intended audience for this book, or if the book is, in fact, bad. I'm leaning towards that second option, but not everyone's going to agree with that assessment.

Here's the reason: I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy that has messages that I'm not on board with. For example, I loved "Ender's G

CV Rick
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The Unincorporated Man is an idea story and at its heart it's a good idea forming the basis. The problem is that the novel is plagued with every writing, plotting, and character mistake for which idea novels are known.

The gist of it is that a man from our time is awakened after a three-century cryogenic sleep and thrust into a society of complete corporatocracy – where governments have no power and all the rules are made by corporations, which are so pervasive that every person, from birth, is i
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
A friend of mine entreated me to read a book, but I just can't slog through it. The book is The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin. I made it about 1/3 of the way through.

The basic premise is that in the future, people will all be their own corporations, and their shares will be available to be bought and sold by others on the open market. Interesting!

Then, a particularly old person (Justin) comes out of cold-sleep such that he is the only person in the world who is not actually incorp
Tyler Quick
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Two stars may be generous for this book. It is a thinly veiled piece of ideological propaganda masquerading as an intellectual sci-fi thriller. It not only fails to meet its ideological goal by relying on a plethora of logical fallacies, but also disappoints artistically.

Let's begin with the ideological critique. The Kollin brothers are obviously Ayn Randites, the kind of young, intelligent, straight, white dudes that probably voted for Ron Paul and wish that "everyone would just think logically
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, economics
This is what a science-fiction novel should be.

First of all: the book has Big Ideas. The biggest one is the idea of individual incorporation. Every human being is a corporation, and people and businesses can buy and sell stock in other people and other businesses. The authors do a great job of explaining what this system might look like along with truly creative and insightful socio-economic exploration of the consequences. That idea alone would have been enough for a novel, but they cram severa
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This book kicked my ass. It reminded me of some of the more intelligent Heinlein that I've enjoyed (Stranger in a Strange Land, Fear No Evil). And it has the political and interpersonal subtlety of Dune. But mostly it succeeds on its own merits: it's intelligent, well written, full of great action and gripping characters--all in all I highly recommend this book to anyone who find themselves intrigued by the futuristic world viewed through the lens of human politics and economics exploded outward ...more
Text Addict
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The literary political-social dialectic and is alive and well, and being published by Tor: The Unincorporated Man looks like a political treatise disguised as a pretty good novel. Cleverly, it sets up a conflict with one unfortunate aspect of its ideal Objectivist/Libertarian future society, and in demolishing that one aspect it leaves the rest of the socio-political structure intact and unchallenged. As I said, clever.

For those not familiar with the modern Objectivist/Libertarian strain of thou
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I....can't....take....anymore. 143 pages in and so far this book has just been one huge political/economic thesis (yawn) combined with a 1950's "World of TOMORROW!" film, complete with be-spectacled narrator.

It's disappointing because the premise - billionaire has himself cryogenically suspended, then is re-awakened 300 years later (in the 24th century) to find that more than a little has changed - was promising. It could have been interesting, but alas, the authors have spent more time (way, wa
May 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
The premise of the book is interesting and original: a man with a terminal illness has himself frozen and is revived 3 or 4 centuries later. Society has evolved into one of personal incorporation: at birth, people are assigned 100,00 shares, 5% of which goes to the government, 20% to their family, and they are free to keep or sell the other 75% to finance college, start a business, or whatever. The first part of the book was interesting as we learn how Justin's frozen body was discovered and rea ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Stranger in a Strange Land meets Dred Scott" OR "A Libertarian Knife-Fight."

A thoroughly enjoyable and provocative novel about a far-future where government no longer taxes individuals and instead "incorporates" them. Each person being born has 100,000 shares of themselves to sell or keep as they wish (parents keeping 20K and the gov't keeping 5K). As such, most transactions are performed via purchasing shares in other people (ex: I'll build you a house in exchange for 2% of your shares and fut
Genevieve Williams
Nov 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Its premise (a future where individuals can incorporate, buying and selling shares in themselves) is a really intriguing thought experiment, and I went into the book prepared to explore a world where this was a foundational element of society.

Unfortunately, I found the story unpersuasive: the future society (seen through the eyes of a 21st-century individual who has himself cryogenically frozen, and is lucky enough to have his capsule discovered by a
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely an Intriguing read for sure, especially if you are a fan of economic politics.

I remember hearing once that at the heart of all Science Fiction, and really the basis of what makes Sci-fi what it is, is the question of "what if...?" Science fiction always is a look into the future to try and decipher a billion different "What if"s and soon I'm hoping to further dive into the genre to explore them all.

The "what if" in this book is simple: What if corporations took over running nearly ev
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Two stars for an interesting premise: imagine a world in which every person is incorporated and their value is floated on the market. Now, imagine a dull story. Add dull characters, trite dialog and a healthy dose of anti-government, libertarian bullshit and you have this book. You could honestly read half the book (or less) to get the gist of the idea and then stop because you won’t care a whit about how the thing ends.
Ericka Clouther
The concept was sort of interesting, but the execution was pretty bad. I was most interested in Sebastian and the other assistants, but that never really got off the ground. I was able to keep reading and be fairly entertained but towards the end, the plot became even more tortured and unlikely.

Also, there was a little bit of random sexism and it seemed like the authors really went out of their way to add it to an otherwise sexism-free future. Just why?
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
See the review at

A brilliant industrialist named Justin Cord awakes from a 300-year cryonic suspension into a world that has accepted an extreme form of market capitalism. It's a world in which humans themselves have become incorporated and most people no longer own a majority of themselves.

Justin Cord is now the last free man in the human race - owned by no one and owning no one.

It’s a premise that Ayn Rand would love and a character that she might have
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good. I liked the novel approach to future society, and all the ramifications. It's clear the authors had thought a lot about the impact of personal incorporation, and I didn't find any aspect that was glossed over or less than well planned out.
Oct 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Ever experience travel or a good book that changes the way you look at the world? If you've read "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein or even "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells then you may have experienced that out of place aura surrounding a character who's estranged from his world. Try traveling in a foreign country and you'll know the feeling of how it can estrange while exhilarate you at the same time.

The Unincorporated Man creates a fish out of water character in Justin Cord. Cord
Dan Lemke
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was big on ideas, but unfortunately that's all it was big on. Characters and plot seemed secondary to the authors getting a chance to lecture the reader with underdeveloped thoughts on politics, economics, and society.

As the description says, this book is about a man--Justin Cord--from the early 21st century who emerges from spending 300 years in hypersleep/stasis to find a world in which everyone is incorporated at birth--that is, just as when companies go public, each person comes in
Steve Rainwater
The Unincorporated Man, by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, 2009. It's long, at nearly 500 pages, and presents a dystopian world entirely based around an idea of economist Milton Friedman: everyone in the future is incorporated at birth. Their parents get 20%, the government gets 5%, the rest of the shares are traded on the open market. Your majority shareholders determine what education you receive, where you live, what career you must pursue, even your diet. The life goal of each person is to ear ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The libertarians tell us that “taxation is theft.”

This phrase is useful because it is undeniable. Most use it as a reminder that every single thing the government does is supported by expropriation and predicated on the threat of violence, and so advocating humanitarian policy X does not automatically place you on the moral high-ground. There must be a high threshold to pass in order to pay for a program with public funds. You should be willing to “hold a gun to a person’s head” to force them to
Benjamin Uminsky
Apr 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
I really would have liked to have liked this book (if that makes any sense). I just can't bring myself to give it a higher rating. The premise really caught my eye and I think if more thought and effort was put into plot and character development, you might have wound up with a pretty good story.

Here is the thing... I love science fiction because it is such a great medium to explore social criticisms and political analysis while telling a great story. Allegory and metaphor presented through scie
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recommend 9 23 Aug 03, 2014 05:39AM  

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I'm an accidental science fiction author.
A few years back, broke, desperate and living with my wife and three kids at my in-laws, I decided to get together with my brother, Eytan and write a book. Mind you I had no idea how to go about this but I did know that Eytan had some great ideas and little tenacity and I had a lot of tenacity and a gift for knowing how to turn great ideas into a marketabl

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Karen M. McManus, the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next, doesn’t shy away from secrets and...
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“History,” answered Justin, unfazed, “has had to deal with your kind forever. You don’t get it. The ends are the means. You are what you do and what you accept.” 3 likes
“opposing party was an offshoot of the Libertarians. They were called the Eliminationist Party, and their platform was predicated on the belief that corporate society had evolved beyond the need for government at all. For decades the Eliminationists remained a fringe party because of their shortsighted insistence on scrapping all government everywhere. Because corporate society was inherently conservative, and the party’s platform too radical, the Eliminationist movement never got off the ground.” 2 likes
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