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Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley Hardcover – 28 Jun 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (28 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062458191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062458193
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Eye-popping. --"Vanity Fair""

An unvarnished account of Silicon Valley. --"CBS This Morning""

Traces the evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it s become a part of our daily lives and how it will affect our future. --Leonard Lopate, WNYC"

If you re in a startup or even plan to sue one, "Chaos Monkeys" is the book to read. --John Biggs, "TechCrunch""

Feels darkly true.... Garcia Martinez is brilliant at describing the relaxed yet self-centered attitudes of high-powered Californians. --Financial Times"

Reckless and rollicking... perceptive and funny and brave.... The resulting view of the Valley s craziness, self-importance and greed isn t pretty. But it s one that most of us have never seen before and aren t likely to forget. --Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post"

Michael Lewis was never a top Wall Street bond salesman, but in Liar s Poker he captured an era. Chaos Monkeys aims to do the same for Silicon Valley, and bracingly succeeds. --David Streitfeld, New York Times Book Review"

This year s best non-business book about business.... Garcia Martinez is a real writer.... A classic tale, well told. --John Biggs, Techcrunch"

There are some books that are just too good to miss.... In his insider-tells-all book, Garc?a Mart?nez discusses everything from goofy stories to cultural secrets about some of the country s most powerful and influential businesses. --The Atlantic"

Unlike most founding narratives that flow out of the Valley, Chaos Monkeys dives into the unburnished, day-to-day realities: the frantic pivots, the enthusiastic ass-kissing, the excruciating internal politics.... [Garc?a] can be rude, but he s shrewd, too. --Bloomberg Businessweek"

An irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment.... A must-read. --Jonathan A. Knee, New York Times"

An unvarnished account of Silicon Valley. --CBS This Morning"

Romps through Mart?nez s wild trajectory from Wall Streeter to pre-IPO Facebook employee, with the dramatic sale of his Y Combinator-backed ad-tech startup (to Twitter) in between. --Jillian D'Onfirio Business Insider"

If you re in a startup or even plan to sue one, Chaos Monkeys is the book to read. --John Biggs, TechCrunch"

This gossipy insider account from the former Twitter adviser, Facebook product manager, and start-up CEO dishes dirt while also explaining the ins and outs of Silicon Valley. --Neal Wyatt, Library Journal"

[Garc?a Mart?nez] is, by his own account, a dissolute character.... He is nonetheless, by the end of his account, a winning antihero, a rebel against Silicon Valley s culture of nonconformist conformity.... The reader can t help rooting for him. --Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books"

[Garcia Martinez] reads like a philosopher and historian, the exact travel guide you d want to walk you through the inner workings of Facebook. His tell-all memoir is the best writing out there on one of the world s most powerful companies. And he even manages to make the ins and outs of online advertising fascinating. --Aarti Shahanti, npr.org"

"Feels darkly true.... Garcia Martinez is brilliant at describing the relaxed yet self-centered attitudes of high-powered Californians."--Financial Times

"Reckless and rollicking... perceptive and funny and brave.... The resulting view of the Valley's craziness, self-importance and greed isn't pretty. But it's one that most of us have never seen before and aren't likely to forget."--Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

"Michael Lewis was never a top Wall Street bond salesman, but in Liar's Poker he captured an era. Chaos Monkeys aims to do the same for Silicon Valley, and bracingly succeeds."--David Streitfeld, New York Times Book Review

"This year's best non-business book about business.... Garcia Martinez is a real writer.... A classic tale, well told."--John Biggs, Techcrunch

"[Garc?a Mart?nez] is, by his own account, a dissolute character.... He is nonetheless, by the end of his account, a winning antihero, a rebel against Silicon Valley's culture of nonconformist conformity.... The reader can't help rooting for him."--Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books

"There are some books that are just too good to miss.... In his insider-tells-all book, Garc?a Mart?nez discusses everything from goofy stories to cultural secrets about some of the country's most powerful and influential businesses."--The Atlantic

"Unlike most founding narratives that flow out of the Valley, Chaos Monkeys dives into the unburnished, day-to-day realities: the frantic pivots, the enthusiastic ass-kissing, the excruciating internal politics.... [Garc?a] can be rude, but he's shrewd, too."--Bloomberg Businessweek

"An irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment.... A must-read."--Jonathan A. Knee, New York Times

"An unvarnished account... of Silicon Valley."--CBS This Morning

"Romps through Mart?nez's wild trajectory from Wall Streeter to pre-IPO Facebook employee, with the dramatic sale of his Y Combinator-backed ad-tech startup (to Twitter) in between."--Jillian D'Onfirio Business Insider

"Traces the evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it's become a part of our daily lives and how it will affect our future."--Leonard Lopate, WNYC

"If you're in a startup or even plan to sue one, Chaos Monkeys is the book to read."--John Biggs, TechCrunch

"This gossipy insider account from the former Twitter adviser, Facebook product manager, and start-up CEO dishes dirt while also explaining the ins and outs of Silicon Valley."--Neal Wyatt, Library Journal

"[Garcia Martinez] reads like a philosopher and historian, the exact travel guide you'd want to walk you through the inner workings of Facebook. His tell-all memoir is the best writing out there on one of the world's most powerful companies. And he even manages to make the ins and outs of online advertising fascinating."--Aarti Shahanti, npr.org

Book Description

A gripping and insightful account from inside the secretive world of Silicon Valley's most powerful players --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Athan TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2016
Format: Paperback
If Antonio Martinez never writes another book, he will still go down as the author who best captured the Zeitgeist in the hottest (dare I say central?) industry of our times.

Much like Michael Lewis’ debut a short 26 years ago, this is the story of a young graduate who lands a seat at the high table without having formally been invited, makes the most of it, keeps his sanity and lives to tell.

So you follow him from the Vampire Squid to Adchemy, you cheer for him when he persuades two engineers to leave and help him set up AdGrok, you do the math alongside him when he’s selling to Twitter and Facebook at the same time, you pitch FBX (Facebook Exchange) with him to Sheryl… I guess I’ve spoilt it enough, let’s leave it there.

You may cringe at language that would make Matt Taibbi blush, but the profanity is always a propos and would certainly never be out of place at the series of workplaces where this drama unfolds. The author’s writing is truly mesmerizing, constantly reminding me that no matter how hard I try I shall never be able to write as well as the truly gifted.

Martinez’ command of the English language is only bettered by his grasp of the nowadays high tech business of persuasion and his ability to convey the basics to the reader. Now I’ve read Chaos Monkeys I have some faint idea of how it all works.

Here’s to hoping that he’s got more books in him.
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The author of this book seems to be a loser so I am not quite sure what the point of it is. He gives up a highly paid job on Wall Street to join an early stage business in California. He walks out of that with two co-workers to set up his own business. But that does not last long. Within a few months, he sells out to Twitter (an "acquihire") but shafts his two chums in the process by himself not going to join Twitter (as they thought) but instead taking a job at Facebook. He lasts for only two years at Facebook before quitting apparently to live on a boat and write this rather silly and very long book.

The first part of the book is about his experience at Goldman Sachs: this ground was well covered in Michael Lewis's Liars Poker. This author is no Michael Lewis and we know all about Wall Street excess these days. There follows his account of working for a founder whom he clearly hates (he hates a lot of people this guy). So that is a bit depressing. But it gets worse when he describes the apparent shambles of his own start-up. Finally he turns his guns on Facebook where he seems to regard everyone with utter contempt before throwing in the towel and explaining to the reader that he has not made very much money (disappointing for someone who is so money-obsessed).

His expertise is in internet advertising and he writes screeds of amazing dull stuff about that.

He seems to think it is clever to use bad language. It is not. He is brutal (almost Trumpian) about women (co-workers and girlfriends). He seems prejudiced too towards the talented Indian community in Silicon Valley (I suspect jealousy plays its part). Not a nice person. As I say: a loser.

This book left me with one question: how an earth did he get a publisher?
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I probably like a writer who is more to the point and doesn't write with so much hyperbole and that took me a while to get over, and to that matter take seriously. More like reading a chapters of the secret diary of Adrian Mole (if you can remember), I dismissed the first few chapters as introspective diatribe. However, I would encourage anyone who is either doing startup, or wanting to do startup, or just interested in the tech industry to read (or listen, as I did both) this book. I persevered and was justly rewarded with some classic stories (the one with Sheryl and the cats can only happen in real life) and some sobering advice. I also highly recommend you listen to the book where Antonio is interviewed at the end.
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This book is refreshing, despite the dubious morality.

The technical details about targeting adverts on Facebook? I dodn't really understand it. His private life? Not sure I approve of it (but who cares what I think, right?).

What is so fun though is his description of the characters. His bosses at Goldman Sachs? My goodness. They are caricatures and they are awful people. And he gives us his opinion of them (little pricks, basically). He gives their full names and his opinions are quite colorful on the subject - great fun to read.

Silicon Valley might be a little better, and the pricks less arrogant (but that is not saying much).

What is nice is the no holds barred way he describes what he did, how he himself behaved and how the system works. It is all very entertaining and a good read.
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Well written, substantial, informative, entertaining. It made me smile if not laugh at times. It made me upset and it made me think.

I judge good books but wether they were worth my time (not my money) and this was a good investment. The author has gone out on a limb exposing his thoughts and opinions on a personal level (career suicide or resurrection?) - somehow controversial and not PC - which I frankly find refreshingly honest. So kudos for that.

If you enjoyed reading Lewis' "Liar's poker", you'll thoroughly enjoy reading the first part where the author recounts his journey in nearly 2008-financial crisis times at Goldman. If you had fun watching HBO Silicon Valley or had dealings with the world of startupistas and techies in real life, you'll love being part of his journey at Y Combinator. If you are reading Advertising Age or Brand Republic everyday, you'll find interesting learning about the inner workings of Zuckerberg's corporation. (Also, may God help you - read better news sites!). Equally, if you have never worked in digital marketing, you'll find interesting figuring out how marketing technology companies work and make money without the pretence a lot of marketing journalists/bloggers usually display when writing about those topics (pretence I would only forgive in Nobel prize winners - but they don't need it).

Last but not least, the book is full of great quotes on life and business that are t-shirt worhty: memorable, crisp and vividly honest, they will leave you feeling like you have washed your brain with frozen water every time you read one.
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