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Journalist Mary Pilon, in her page-turning book The Monopolists, hunts down the true story of the woman who invented the most popular board game in the world. Monopoly inventor and forgotten feminist Lizzie Magie died in 1948, thinking she was a failure, having received a total of $500 for the rights to her game. We hear about Magie’s vision and mission for the game, as well as her futile fight to defend her work and legacy, which Pilon resolutely revives from the sidelines of history. 


A full transcript of this episode is available here.


Mary Pilon author of the Monopolists on history of the Monopoly game
Mary Pilon
Twitter: @marypilon
Facebook: /marypilon
Instagram: /marypilon

Mary Pilon is the author of “The Monopolists,” a New York Times bestseller about the history of the board game Monopoly (Bloomsbury, February 2015) and “The Kevin Show” (Bloomsbury, March 2018). Her work, chiefly about sports, business, and politics, regularly appears in the New Yorker, Esquire, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Vice, New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She also appears on a variety of TV and radio programs and worked as a producer for NBC Sports at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

Pilon previously was a staff reporter with sports desk at The Times and a full index of her work there can be found here, including dispatches from the Olympics, doping coverage, features on legal and financial issues in sports and the occasional video shot from a dog sled or graphic novel about cage fighting in the heartland. From June 2008 to November 2011, Mary worked at The Wall Street Journal, where she covered various aspects of business and finance. Among her lesser-known accomplishments: bringing slugsyo-yos, the NYSE movie room and square dancing to the Journal’s front page.

Her work has been featured in The Best American Sportswriting and garnered awards from the New York Society of Professional Journalists, the Freedom Forum and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She was part of NBC’s Emmy-nominated Olympic production team and the Journal’s squad that won Gerald Loeb and New York Press Club Awards in 2011 for covering the “Flash Crash” of 2010. She made the Forbes magazine’s first-ever 30 Under 30 list for media. 


  • READ Mary’s book on the untold history of Monopoly from Amazon.
  • PLAY the original Landlord’s Game with a limited reproduction of Magie’s 1906 board.
  • LEARN about Ms. Monopoly in Mary’s take for The New Yorker.

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