Rachel Botsman, author of 'What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption,' explores the growing world of coworking.

In 2005, Brad Neuberg was a thirty-one-year-old freelance open source software programmer living in San Francisco. He had just left a tech start-up to work for himself. Neuberg enjoyed working from home, yet the experience was also isolating. He tried the de facto techie office, a coffee shop, but found it too noisy and distracting and devoid of meaningful interactions. Despite his complaints about the monotony and conformity of the nine-to-five cube-working culture, Neuberg discovered that he missed the social camaraderie of an office. To his surprise, water cooler conversations served a purpose. “It seemed I could either have a job that would give me structure and community,” he recalls, “or I could be freelance and have freedom and independence. Why couldn’t I have both?”

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