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Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness—their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.

After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg's desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.

Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?

Author: Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Rating: 3/5

This book was not my favorite, but it was enlightening.As someone who works in digital marketing, Martinez' insights into the actual day-to-day of Silicon Valley, and especially Facebook, were fascinating. As someone who recently finished business school and conducted a job search, they were even more so. You hear that the tech world is intense, cut-throat, and exhausting, but eventually, those descriptors lose their meaning. This book brought them back to life for me and opened my eyes to what that really means for people who choose that lifestyle.

Martinez is a terrible human. He is just not nice, makes questionable decisions at best, and knows it. And he doesn't care. I think that's the main reason why I didn't really like the book: I didn't like the first-person narrator.

I did really enjoy the way Martinez speaks about Sheryl Sandburg. I know that the internet is somewhat divided on her and her message, but you can't deny that she is an impressive woman. She is the only person that Martinez has nothing negative to say about; he tells readers how she is one of the only people who can "manage" Mark Zuckerburg and his crazy whims, how she orchestrates the departments under her to be most effective, and how she can command a meeting despite being the only woman in the room. That was definitely my favorite part.

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