The Anti-Capitalist Woman Who Created Monopoly—Before Others Cashed In

For decades, the story of Monopoly’s invention was a warm, inspiring, Horatio Alger narrative. A version of it, tucked into countless game boxes, told the tale of an unemployed man, Charles Darrow, who went to his Great Depression-era basement desperate for money to support his family. Tinkering around, he created a board game to remind them of better times, and finding modest success selling it near his home in Philadelphia, Darrow eventually sold it to the American toy and game manufacturer Parker Brothers. The game, Monopoly, became a smash hit, saving both Darrow and Parker Brothers from the brink of destruction. The creation story is laced with persistence, creative brilliance, and an almost patriotic presentation of work ethic. The problem is—it isn’t exactly true. What’s more, Monopoly’s origin story teaches us that innovation can be a complicated affair and that the “lightbulb” moment of how things get made is, in fact, sometimes a myth. (The scale of Thomas Edison’s own … Continue reading The Anti-Capitalist Woman Who Created Monopoly—Before Others Cashed In