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For the Win

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  6,276 ratings  ·  855 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 Books
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Jacob There is a bit of violence against protesters that isn't very graphic, gory, or detailed, but it does describe a smashed jaw and some deep cuts.

I thi…more
There is a bit of violence against protesters that isn't very graphic, gory, or detailed, but it does describe a smashed jaw and some deep cuts.

I think it would probably be fine for a 5th grader though.(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Jun 22, 2010 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
Oct 08, 2012 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 wh
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
A techno-thriller about kids trying to counter the nefarious forces behind the profit-making in the multi-player computer gaming world. The virtual gold, special weapons, and status items from the games form the basis of a serious economy, which includes sweatshops of impoverished kids in third world countries run by gangsters. The “what-if” in this tale has to do with the idea of international unions of such workers, which gains momentum by alignment with other more traditional factories that e ...more
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 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
Kara 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 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
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Watch out Wile E Coyote!

This techno thriller-with-a-message is not just for the online gaming community. The brutal dystopia portrayed here is not too far removed from today's reality of economic exploitation and the mobilising potential of the Internet to influence political change. Non-gamers may find difficulty with the jargon, but if you struggle with economic theory, this is a great crash course on the global economic meltdown that may be facing us all.

Confidence makes value. Value
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: galleys, reviewed
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
Dec 08, 2012 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
Ruby  Tombstone Lives!
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,
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,
May 28, 2011 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 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
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
sometimes u just feel like reading some diverse well-written anti-capitalist sci-fi okay
Oct 24, 2012 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 amo
Aug 10, 2012 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
Aug 31, 2010 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
Simon Yu
Jun 02, 2010 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
Mar 04, 2010 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,
Jul 07, 2010 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
Matthew Hunter
Whew, I'm exhausted! What a ride. I'm not in the mood to write a long review. I'll just say Doctorow surprised me. I didn't expect primers on gaming, global economics, organizing and labor history. I also didn't anticipate caring deeply for the young gamers. I really, really, really didn't want them to suffer. They did. I ached so hard for them! For the Win's a gut-wrencher.

Doctorow's done young and older readers a great service. I'm guessing the vast majority of people who pick up this book wil
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Organizing makes us superhuman....

"This is the moment, the one we planned for. We've been hurt. Our friends have been hurt. More will be hurt when this is over. But people like us get hurt every single day. We get caught in machines, we inhale poison vapors, we are beaten or drugged or raped. Don't forget that. Don't forget what we go through, what we've been through.

We're going to fight this battle with everything we have, and we will probably lose. But then we will fight it again, and we will
Margaret Killjoy
May 24, 2010 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.
Nov 29, 2009 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
Jun 16, 2012 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 10, 2013 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
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
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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 Elec ...more

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