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Chaos Monkeys

Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine
Narrated by: Dan John Miller
Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Business, Marketing
4.5 out of 5 stars (428 ratings)

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Summary

An adrenaline-fuelled exposé of life inside the tech bubble, Chaos Monkeys lays bare the secrets, power plays and lifestyle excesses of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists and money cowboys who are revolutionising our world. Written by startup CEO and industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, this is Liar's Poker meets The Social Network.

Computer engineers use 'chaos monkey' software to wreak havoc and test system robustness. Similarly, tech entrepreneurs like Antonio García Martínez are society's chaos monkeys - their innovations disrupt every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and holidays (Airbnb) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder) - all in search of the perfect business miracle.

Describing himself as 'high strung, fast talking, and wired on a combination of caffeine, fear, and greed at all times', García Martínez left Wall Street to make his fortune in Silicon Valley, becoming CEO of his own start-up before bailing and being poached by Facebook's nascent advertising team. Here he turned users' data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark 'Zuck' Zuckerberg.

Forced out of Facebook in the wake of a bitter internal product war, García Martínez took his unique brand of entrepreneurial hyperactivity to rivals Twitter. Along the way he got into a lot of trouble with a lot of people, brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg's desk), lived on a yacht, raced sport cars on the highway, and enthusiastically pursued the lifestyle of an overpaid Silicon Valley mercenary.

In Chaos Monkeys he tells you how - and how not - to make a fortune through start-ups and digital marketing. Highly entertaining and always offering genuine insight, García Martínez unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing. From start-ups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetisation and digital 'privacy', he shares both his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a subversive and very funny tour of the fascinatingly insular and unbelievably wealthy tech industry.

©2016 Antonio Garcia Martinez (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lacks depth

If you really liked liars' poker you'll also like this otherwise it'll come across as quite shallow...

6 people found this helpful

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Honest and self-critical view of silicon valley

Loved this frank, sceptical review. Real change from the usual evangelical writing about Silicon Valley

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastically candid

Just finished listening for the second time and already know I will listen again in the future. this book is a must read for anyone who is even remotely interested in tech, silicon valley, or any of the big tech companies residing there. the foot notes alone could while an hour away. very informative and at times even laugh out loud funny. Cliché I know but this really should be a movie.

1 person found this helpful

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  • HI
  • 09-09-19

Unnecessary slow.

too slow and seems like it's more to feed the ego of the writer. not much happens at all.

1 person found this helpful

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Self indulgent and too long

Intermittently both interesting and amusing, this book is unfortunately around 4-5 hours too long and very self-indulgent.

1 person found this helpful

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unsympathetic character

at the beginning it was interesting, but then it becomes like listening to a self-absorbed and slightly drugged executive in a pub, droning about their accomplishments and always portraying themselves as the hero who saves the day.

1 person found this helpful

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My new tech-guide bible

This book set a wild fire inside me.

Antonio's narrative with his unadulterated truth resonates with anyone working on the high end tech of the startup environment.

I finished the book and am going to go through it again. Don't want to miss a thing.

This is not only an incredible current account of the tech scene in Silicon Valley. It's full with snippets of marketing wisdom for success in the golden age of social networking, where product and brand perception is paramount.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story of a bitter man impossible to like

So overall I loved the book and learned a lot about the human mind. But found the author and most of the cast impossible to like.

He’s been through the ringer and is more bitter than repeatedly licking a lemon. This book is a suicide note to his CV or warning to his considered future investor pitch.

The only people I found my self liking was Chris Sacha - who was made out to be a villain for his commitment to his field and Graham C from Y combinator.

Saying that, the author didn’t hold back on what a horrible person he was to his babies mother, co-founders and investors. Insight into someone without a loyalty Gene is interesting.

There’s also a good insight into Decacorns and how they can be companies with no interest or path to profitability. He confirmed my suspicion from visiting the same that all the investment means many staff can add no value and hide away getting massive wages for being in the right space at the right time. And that for all the tall of culture and fit. Big companies still will hire someone who’s stabbed them in the back and will destroy culture, in exchange for short term gain.

No doubt this guy is smart. But it’s the first time I’ve read a book and the Hero character is someone I’d avoid having a social interaction with if offered.

Still thought worth a read.

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Narration is quite fast for me and flat

Narration was quite fast and without expressions. The book is really good. Got the inside view and how Silicon Valley works

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Inside the Trojan Horse

There's an intelligence on show here, a mecurial insight into the Valley, where the real story is that of how do you want to be eaten, and then spewed out by those with more money than time.

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  • Mindaugas
  • 24-09-18

I wish I knew before Ilistened

Author is doing over-exaggerated character of himself... Don't take everything to literally - you'll enjoy the book more. Or listen second to last section first where author explains his character.

I could barely listen to some of the chapters due to amount of douchebaggery... knowing what I know now would've helped to enjoy the book more....

Perfomance was very much on the spot - pompous misogynistic prick(I really hope author was doing a character)...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-18

amazing book

Great insight into how companies like facebook work, how companies get VC funding and how people build startups

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  • Patrick Herbert
  • 25-12-16

Bludgeons your SV illusions with a stick.

This book really was a brutally honest look into silicon valleys workings and the mind of one man: Antonio Garcia Martinez.

Chronicling his life from Wall St analyst with Goldman Sachs to Facebook product manager and office antagonist; Chaos Monkeys hooks you immediately like Mike Tyson in round one at Madison Square Garden (really f'ing hard!).

Not for the faint of heart or special snowflake this book not only takes a sharp look at life in Silicon Valley at tech giants like Google, Twitter & Facebook but also, the sordid nepotism & sexual deviancy that occurs behind these companies closed doors.

Ultimately, it appears an honest and cutting portrayal of that life and Antonio pulls no punches even when talking of himself. I'd recommend this to anyone who's ever wanted to work on SV or any budding entrepreneur looking to get a sense of the harsh realities that await you post starting a tech company.

All this is weaved withing a narrative that finds Antonio destroying Mark Zuckerbergs desk with home brewed beer, hooking up in closets with hot coworkers and having screaming matches with Chris Sacca via phone.

It will make you laugh out loud as well as cringe and cheer for Antonio who can only at times be described as the lovable asshole and protagonist of what is a well written and well read story of playing it fast and loose in the valley.

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  • G DCosta
  • 22-11-16

A must read

Great read. Very entertaining as well as very insightful. Heard about it on the TWIST show and immediately bought it. The author has a great writing style.