For those who have and have not been to Burning Man, author Caveat Magister, a longtime writer for Burning Man's blog, answers "why does Burning Man matter?" with interviews with the founders of Burning Man, stories from the playa, and ideas of how to take it back to default reality.
Burning Man has grown and expanded into more parts of the world, going from an experiment performed by two families on a public beach to a frontier carved out of a desert by artists to a culture with global reach produced by people from all walks of life. And now it's entering a "high culture" phase with exhibitions at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and nods from pop culture icons like Katy Perry and industry titans like Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. People aren't just inspired to change their lives during Burning Man. They're trying to build major institutions, bureaucracies, and even decommodified economies on the basis of what they've learned from it, like Burners Without Borders, a group that helps communities rebuild after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. This book is designed to make the Burning Man philosophical methodology accessible--a sort of 'how-to' for creating Burning Man-like communities, activities, and events--using stories and examples from the playa, interviews with the founders and significant members of the Burning Man nonprofit, and a dash of self-deprecating humor from an author who frequently writes about this topic. Applied properly, with great consideration for what individual communities and individual people are actually struggling with, Burning Man's philosophy can help readers discover ways to make their "default" world more like what Burning Man has to offer--be it decommodification, radical inclusion, or self-reliance (some of the 10 Principles of Burning Man).
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. By 2015, this work had made him, outside of Larry Harvey and his fellow founders, one of the leading interpreters of Burning Man within its own culture. In 2015, Larry Harvey asked Caveat, along with Burning Man's Director of Education, Stuart Mangrum, to sit on a committee, officially called the "Philosophical Center" of the Burning Man nonprofit.