Republic of Outsiders

The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels

A “rare and fascinating look at creative subcultures” (Barbara Ehrenreich) by the bestselling author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers

“Quart’s gift as a writer is her ability to report on the experiences of ordinary people, following their realistically messy lives for years, offering us vivid portraits that are profoundly humane. . . . A brilliant move.”
—Annalee Newitz, The New York Times Book Review

This “groundbreaking study of the increasing influence of cultural outsiders” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) is “at once an ode to the underrepresented and a reporting tour de force” (The Writer). Alissa Quart, “one of the smartest cultural interpreters of her generation” (Susan Cain, author of Quiet), introduces us to those who have created new ways to keep themselves sane, fulfilled, and, on occasion, paid.
Republic of Outsiders is the story of Americans who, freed of middlemen and armed with new technology, are able to make their unusual ideas go viral and disrupt the status quo. They include amateur filmmakers who crowdsource their work, scientists developing artificial meat, neurodiverse activists, and “alternative” bankers. These outsiders create and package new identities (a process Quart dubs “identity innovation”). They push the boundaries of who they—and we—can be.

This richly reported book shows how and why these groups now gather, organize, and create new communities and economies. Republic of Outsiders is an inspiring, critical examination of how to make rebellion—and how to turn amateurism into a strength rather than a weakness.

Praise

“As a determined ‘outsider’ myself, I feel both exposed and vindicated by Alissa Quart. This is an essential account of how and why fringe activism has become central to our culture and politics in a digital age.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and Life Inc.
“Alissa Quart is one of the smartest cultural interpreters of her generation. In Republic of Outsiders, she mixes sharp-eyed analysis with an empathetic heart. The result is a great read, and a brand-new lens through which to view outsiders, insiders—and ourselves.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
“A liberating vision of interlocking subcultures making themselves up as they go along.”
Columbus Dispatch
“Instructive for those who do creative work, and even for people who are trying to engage in any kind of meaningful self-definition: Don’t always accept other people’s categories. You can always make your own.”
Fast Company
“In journalist Alissa Quart’s new book, Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels, she repositions the world. . . . A very ‘of the moment’ book.”
Feministing
“A perceptive, analytical reporter. . . . Quart’s profiles are thoroughly researched and admirably evenhanded. . . . She effectively examines how outsider thinking can supplement, and in some cases supplant, mainstream methods.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Quart’s gift as a writer is her ability to report on the experiences of ordinary people, following their realistically messy lives for years, offering us vivid portraits that are profoundly humane. . . . A brilliant move.”
—Annalee Newitz, The New York Times Book Review
“[Quart’s] careful reporting and vividly rendered characters make the book a vital, engaging read.”
Psychology Today
“Groundbreaking.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Alissa Quart has given us a rare and fascinating glimpse into America’s diverse and burgeoning creative subcultures. If there’s a Republic of Outsiders, I want to apply for citizenship!”
—Barbara Ehrenreich

News and Reviews

Feministing

Feministing reviews Republic of Outsiders in their "Not Oprah's Book Club" feature

Psychology Today

Psychology Today reviews Republic of Outsiders

The New York Times

The New York Times reviews Republic of Outsiders in the Sunday Book Review