Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running a Business without Losing Your Values By Caroline Moore, 127 pgs.

Aug 25, 2016

As someone who is entrenched in DIY culture and has it baked into my life, I feel like this book is a big no-brainer. That’s not to say there aren’t any golden nuggets of truth here. Some important takeaways for me were these following couple of quotes: “When you’re working on something you feel strongly about... there are benefits other than money,” and, “But you do need to develop a healthier attitude about getting paid.” Finding one’s value and worth in their own work is a struggle, though I feel like that topic is much more thoroughly covered in another Microcosm book, Make It Mighty Ugly.

I found myself muttering “no duh” several times. While this isn’t meant to be the punk rock version of Who Moved My Cheese?, it still manages to be both and neither. One of the sections covers the importance of building a community of support which becomes your audience. Another lays out the benefits of split records (i.e. half the cost, twice the exposure). Many of the other tidbits are about how you should value your time and not let the prospects of lengthening your resume consume your vision of success. Moreover, you should be proud of each thing you put energy into; otherwise it’s not worth doing.

My two biggest bones to pick are the assumptive and condescending attitude Moore often took. For instance, she explains what Tony Hawk Pro Skater is, but then talks down to the reader if they don’t know Louis CK. On the flipside of that, several artists are mentioned with no context of who they are, like Winston Smith (who, up till now, I thought was solely a fictional character in 1984. In case you’re wondering, he’s a collagist who designed the Dead Kennedys logo. He also makes/made fake gig posters).

My second complaint is intensely more passionate. Here is the spark that ignited the irritation: “Sometimes, opportunity cost comes in social standing, which can be a major roadblock to peoples true passions. It could be that if I quit the family business, our Thanksgiving dinners are going to be awkward.” One of the key components to this DIY entrepreneur guide is to know your audience. You’re a music photographer, writing about punk ethics in a book released on an alternative press. Do you really think that your audience is concerned with perceptions of social standing?

The author goes into detail at the start about how the book came to be. Moore had been volunteering as a photographer and coordinator for Weapons of Mass Creation festival for three years. She lead a seminar called “How Punk Rock Made Me a Better Entrepreneur.” After reading this book, I feel like the seminar or a web series might have been a better way to go in dispersing this information. –Kayla Greet (Microcosm Publishing, 2752 Williams Ave., Portland, OR, 97227)