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The Unicorn Project

A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
By: Gene Kim
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Summary

The Phoenix Project wowed over a half-million readers. Now comes The Unicorn Project! 

“The Unicorn Project is amazing, and I loved it 100 times more than The Phoenix Project…” (Fernando Cornago, senior director platform engineering, Adidas)

“Gene Kim does a masterful job of showing how … the efforts of many create lasting business advantages for all.” (Dr. Steven Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge, sr. lecturer at MIT, and principal of HVE LLC)

“The Unicorn Project is so clever, so good, so crazy enlightening!” (Cornelia Davis, vice president of technology at Pivotal Software, Inc., author of Cloud Native Patterns)

This highly anticipated follow-up to the best-selling title The Phoenix Project takes another look at Parts Unlimited, this time from the perspective of software development. 

In The Unicorn Project, we follow Maxine, a senior lead developer and architect, as she is exiled to the Phoenix Project, to the horror of her friends and colleagues, as punishment for contributing to a payroll outage. She tries to survive in what feels like a heartless and uncaring bureaucracy and to work within a system where no one can get anything done without endless committees, paperwork, and approvals. 

One day, she is approached by a ragtag bunch of misfits who say they want to overthrow the existing order, to liberate developers, to bring joy back to technology work, and to enable the business to win in a time of digital disruption. To her surprise, she finds herself drawn ever further into this movement, eventually becoming one of the leaders of the Rebellion, which puts her in the crosshairs of some familiar and very dangerous enemies. 

The Age of Software is here, and another mass extinction event looms - this is a story about rebel developers and business leaders working together, racing against time to innovate, survive, and thrive in a time of unprecedented uncertainty...and opportunity.  

©2019 Gene Kim (P)2019 Gene Kim

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not very imporhant

A poor attempt to create a dev version of Project Phionix. The original having been more relevant. The story is poor, only getting going in chapter 10. And the narrator was exceptionally bad. Poor annunciation and no attempt was made to provide characters with distinct voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The DevOps parable

As a software engineer helping with some of the largest DevOps transformations, I can honestly say this is one of the most impactful business transformation books I’ve ever read. The fictionalised narrative form is so hard to do well but like Goldratt‘s ‘The Goal’ or Johnson’s ‘Who Moved My Cheese’, Gene’s latest book manages to pull it off. What made the tale even more relatable was that for many of the characters, it wasn’t that they didn’t know how to build systems or were incompetent. Most of the characters in the book (with a couple of notable exceptions) are well intentioned, seasoned professionals - but that in the fog of difficult deadlines and complex problems it’s easy to forget the basics that allow you improve engineering velocity and focus solving problems for your customers. After listening to the book, I’m constantly spotting signs that remind me of Parts Unlimited but Gene’s DevOps parable is helping me hone in on these problem areas and bring them back to basics. It’s a book that will live with me for many years.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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As good and important as The Phoenix Project

As a developer/DevOps engineer in a large enterprise struggling to move into a digitally focused business I found this book a great source of knowledge and inspiration. The Phoenix Project was the same, but the ideas always felt more high level within the business I worked in so struggled to apply them for any real change, The Unicorn Project I feel closer to the key characters and will be attempting to use the teachings in my work.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-19

Audio was horrible

The splicing of redo’s was bad, distractingly bad. Seems like they rushed it. I like the story, but not a quality audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-11-19

Terrible performance distracts from the story

The audio recording contains randomly spliced in sections that appear to have been added later on, it is extremely distracting and really throws you out of the story.

For such a highly anticipated book the lack of care that went into this recording is simply astonishing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marc Grant
  • 11-12-19

Another Compelling Technology Book from Gene Kim

For those in the IT industry for any period of time, 26 years in my case, The Unicorn Project is a sign of the times and a guide for navigating those times. While the speed of change presented is a little unrealistic, the foundation and steps to build upon are solidly provided. I may be jaded a bit from past experiences.
The narrator does a great job and has a pleasant voice. Her pronunciation of words with the letter “t” in the middle is no’able but you get use to it.

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  • neil m
  • 09-12-19

A nice continuation of Phoenix Project

A nice continuation of Phoenix Project, but this time is from an engineers (grunt) perspective (Maxine). Kinda neat hearing some seemingly distinct references to characters (Bill Palmer) from the first book.

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  • Mr Vegas
  • 06-12-19

This book is just ok. You are much better with The Phoenix Project

Let me start by saying the authors prior work The Phoenix Project is the best book ever written on Devops. This book really doesn’t match up. Simple put if you listen to the Phoenix Project you can ignore this book. What is unfortunately missing is more mr miyagi recommendations and frameworks that folks can leverage. There are just brief glimpses of it from The board member / bar owner Erik but overall it’s nothing profound. Unlike the last book where there are so many transformations with Bill and John. Sorry Gene this was the most anticipated book I had and I think you let us down.

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  • louvipi
  • 01-12-19

Enjoyable, fast paced, Will re-listen to it again

Great book. Managed to be a sequel without being a sequel. Great listen. I hope this bit of fiction will continue to have a positive impact on our industry and the workforce. Be nice to people, remove obstacles, keep on learning.

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  • LaVann Williams
  • 01-12-19

A person of Vision!

I must admit I have listened to this book twice already and have bragged to my friends about it as well. I highly recommend anyone with Vision to listen to this audible. I must get Gene to come speak at our Company. Excellent book.

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  • Megan Atkinson
  • 29-11-19

Long live the rebellion!

Such a great story. I'm not a developer but I work side by side with them everyday. I can see so much of my organization in Parts Unlimited. This book gives me hope for the rebellion. (But there is a lot of weird post-editing in the audio - almost sounds like a different narrator here and there. It's distracting.)

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  • R. Wesson
  • 29-11-19

Great story, difficult performance

This narrator doesn't pronounce T's in the middle of her words after a vowel. It is called T-glottilization. I basically can't listen to people who talk this way.

Examples are:
Impor-ant for Important
Moun-ain for Mountain
Wai-in for Waiting
Kih-en for Kitten

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-glottalization

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  • Per
  • 29-11-19

Excellen!

This is an accurate description of the Kafkaesque frustrations many of us work in, when companies grow and bureaucracy sets in. Fortunately it also shows how and what is needed to unleash an entire workforce.