New Economy 101

Take this crash course in the new world of work.

Welcome to the new world of work. Business, talent, and ideas move with unprecedented speed here. Change is constant and revolution is bubbling up everywhere. In fact, so much is changing so fast that nearly everyone needs a refresher course from time to time — a dose of clarity during these uncertain times.


This much we do know: We live and work in a time of unparalleled opportunity and unprecedented uncertainty. An economy driven by technology and innovation makes old borders obsolete. Smart people working in smart companies have the ability to create their own futures — and also hold the responsibility for the consequences. The possibilities are unlimited — and unlimited possibilities carry equal measures of hope and fear.

Use this instruction manual to guide you through this new world of work and its unlimited possibilities. Read the following Fast Company stories — essential articles organized according to theme — to get acquainted with smart models and mentors, to study best practices from companies around the world, and to begin thinking about your place in this new paradigm. And check back with for daily updates on the changing face of work.

New Ways of Working

The Wow Project
In the new economy, all work is project work. And you are your projects! Here’s how to make them all go Wow! Tom Peters


Xtreme Teams
In the new world of business, all work is teamwork — but very few teams work all that well. How do groups of ordinary people achieve extraordinary results? Learn from these extreme teams. Your team may never work the same again. Cheryl Dahle

The Digital Domain

It’s a Web, Web, Web, Web World
The Web reinvents many of the basics of business life: where you get your news, how you search for information, what it takes to communicate. Here’s our crash course in how to Web-ify yourself. Katharine Mieszkowski

How to Speed Up Your Startup
When it comes to launching Internet companies, you can’t be fast enough. Here are lessons in speed from a leading VC, the founder of an e-business incubator, and a team of anthropologists studying work and life in Silicon Valley. Katharine Mieszkowski



Free Agent Nation
There’s a new movement in the land. From coast to coast, in communities large and small, citizens are declaring their independence and drafting a new bill of rights. Meet some of the 25 million residents of Free Agent, USA. Daniel H. Pink

Are You Deciding on Purpose?
Counselor and author Richard Leider explains his laws for finding purpose in your work and life. Alan M. Webber

New Logic of Competition

The Brand Called You
Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here’s what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc. Tom Peters


Unleash Your Ideavirus
Here’s a big idea: Ideas are driving the economy. Here’s a bigger idea: Ideas that spread fastest win. Here’s the biggest idea: You can get your customers to spread your ideas for you! Seth Godin


Learning for a Change
Ten years ago, Peter Senge introduced the idea of the “learning organization.” Now he says that for big companies to change, we need to stop thinking like mechanics and to start acting like gardeners. Alan M. Webber

Schools That Think
Everyone agrees: Education is essential for the future of the new economy. Everyone agrees: The public education system needs reform. No one agrees on how to do it. Here are four models for the future. Sara Terry



Field Guide for Change
You’ve come up with a radical plan that will transform the way your company does business. The next step: execute. But how? By reading, ripping, and leveraging Fast Company’s startup manual for leading change. Bill Breen and Cheryl Dahle

Bob Knowling’s Change Manual
Bob Knowling is a change agent’s change agent, a man who’s learned to align all the elements of his character so that, no matter what the setting, he leads change. Noel Tichy


How to be a Real Leader
Kevin Cashman advises leaders from companies such as American Express, Pillsbury, and Rollerblade. His message: “To be more effective with others, we first need to become more effective with ourselves.” Polly LaBarre


Leader on the Edge
World-renowned explorer Robert Swan is the rst person ever to walk to both the North and South Poles. Now he’s teaching businesspeople about leadership under life-and-death conditions. Curtis Sittenfeld

Social Justice

Built to Flip
A battle is under way for the new economy. Which side are you on? Jim Collins

Genius at Work
With his potter’s hands, Bill Strickland is reshaping the business of social change. His Pittsburgh-based program offers a national model for education, training — and hope. Sara Terry


Innovation and Creativity

The Most Creative Man in Silicon Valley Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Michael Ray has taught some of the best-known innovators in Silicon Valley how to be more creative. It’s no wonder that both students and executives are clamoring for his lessons. Curtis Sittenfeld

Idea Summit
Rolf Smith has spent a career thinking about how people think. Now, he is helping people at some of the world’s most powerful organizations to generate big ideas — and to rethink their whole approach to creativity. Anna Muoio


How Much Is Enough?
It is the wedge question of the new economy: How much money for your work? How much time for family? How much public glory? How much time for reflection? Fast Company looks at the choices we all have to make. Fast Company


Sanity Inc.
SAS Institute Inc. is the most important software company you’ve never heard of. It’s also the sanest company in America – a place where employees can eat lunch with their kids, everyone gets unlimited sick days, and the gate clangs shut at 6 p.m. Charles Fishman


The Company Without Limits
Australia’s Lend Lease Corp. is responsible for some of the world’s most spectacular buildings. It’s also a leader in mutual funds, computer services, and other far-flung lines of business. Polly LaBarre

Design — Eva L. Maddox
“Design shapes the way we live. So it ought to serve everyone.” Ron Lieber



(Really) Risky Business
Wes Skiles is one of the leading practitioners of what may be the world’s most hazardous sport: underwater cave diving. There is no injury rate for mistakes made in an underwater cave — only a mortality rate. So why does Skiles keep diving? Bill Breen

Now You’re Really Cooking!
Take eight people who love to cook, mix with one master chef, and season with the chef’s take-aways. What do you get? The inner secret of preparing an unforgettable four-course dinner. Peter Kaminsky