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The Scene That Became Cities

What Burning Man Philosophy Can Teach Us about Building Better Communities

by Caveat Magister (Benjamin Wachs)


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A practical and hilarious guide to Burning Man, its philosophy, why people do this to themselves, and how it matters to the world.
Over 30 years Burning Man has gone from being two families on a San Francisco beach to a global movement in which hundreds of thousands of people around the world create events on every continent. It has been the subject of fawning media profiles, an exhibit in the Smithsonian, and is beloved by tech billionaires. But does it matter? What does Burning Man actually have to offer us? The answer, Caveat Magister writes, is simple: Burning Man's philosophy can help us build better communities. Communities in which the individual's freedom to follow their own unique, authentic passions also brings them together in common purpose. Burning Man is a prototype, and Burning Man philosophy is a how-to manual for better communities, that, somehow, has no instructions. Just principles. Including hilarious and impossible stories from "the playa," interviews with Burning Man's founders and staff, and personal recollections of Larry Harvey (Burning Man's founder, "Chief Philosophical Officer," and the author's close friend and colleague), The Scene That Became Cities introduces readers to the experience of Burning Man, explains why it spread, how it could impact fields as diverse as art, economics, and politics, and makes the ideas behind it accessible, actionable, and useful.

Publication Details

North Atlantic Books
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Caveat Magister (Benjamin Wachs) (Author)

For the last ten years, Caveat Magister, aka Benjamin Wachs, has been actively writing about Burning Man culture and engaging with Burning Man at the cutting edge of its philosophy, composing over 250 articles about it for the Burning Man website....

More about Caveat Magister (Benjamin Wachs)
The Scene That Became Cities
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