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Chaos Monkeys Audiobook

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

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Publisher's Summary

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 start-up founder/CEO.

The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:

Investors are people with more money than time.

Employees are people with more time than money.

Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.

Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a data center 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 start-up, 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 start-ups and credit derivatives to Big Brother, 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?

Bonus content: an exclusive interview featuring Antonio García Martínez in conversation with journalist and author Steven Levy.

©2016 Antonio Garcia Martinez (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (2034 )
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  •  
    Kate M. 04-30-17
    Kate M. 04-30-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Get this man a condom!"
    What would have made Chaos Monkeys better?

    This was poorly written (and apparently, edited). The author's constant analogies were awful--sometimes I wasn't sure whether he was telling his story or giving us an analogy.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The author is annoying and narcissistic --by the end of the book I really disliked him.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When he lost his job.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The reviews I read mostly talked about how there was important info from the author's experiences in creating/selling a tech company--and there was that. Unfamiliar with that business, I was interested in learning about it from an insider. The only reason I listened to the whole book (as annoying as it was) I did want to find out what happened.


    Any additional comments?

    I did not need to hear about his tryst in the closet with a co-worker during an office party. His sexual escapades, which included having 2 children with a woman with whom he did not really have a relationship, showed how stupid he really is.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John J. 05-21-17
    John J. 05-21-17
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    "Wanna Save 14hrs of Your Life??? Read This."
    Any additional comments?

    This is NOT a book about business or startups. This is simply a satire comedy book passing off as something else. This "writer" if you can call him that, talks mostly about his personal life which NO ONE cares for.He actually has a chapter entitled "Like Marriage, But Without The F-----ing" yes that is what he has as a chapter. In said chapter, he speaks about how the poop smells like in the bathroom shared by his co-partner. But wait........there is more. He goes on speaking about his potential DUI, his marathon sex, his boat, his dates, Need I continue?

    Putting aside all the unnecessary cussing, half racist remarks, fat jokes, condescending tone, the "writer" overused footnotes to show how "smart" he is.

    There is VERY little, if any, substance to be had out of 14 hrs of nonsensical ramblings. Chaos Monkey is a perfect name for the book. Because, the book sounded as a monkey wrote it.

    This book could only appease a Gary V follower.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard 05-07-17
    Howard 05-07-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Full of BS and himself"

    Bad writing. Bad taste. The book is neither fun nor informative. Total waste of time.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Springfield, OR, United States 10-17-16
    Greg Springfield, OR, United States 10-17-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pontificating for the sake of show, not for story"

    If I ever met Antonio Garcia Martinez, I'd probably experience an untenable desire to punch him in the mouth. More on that later...

    Chaos Monkeys, follows Antonio's journey from Goldman Saches, to Silicon Valley start up, to his own start up and finally to how he landed at FaceBook. Unlike Dan Lyons, outsider-in insanity experience during his his hire to HubSpot, AGM (Antonio Garcia Martinez) an insider's peek-behind-the-curtain into the world of venture capital, stock options, IPOs, acquisitions, and money ball at the big leagues. AGM manages to swing for the fences and mostly get there, but not without screwing his co-founders in a sell to Twitter, to only jump ship for FaceBook, gambling with two other people's fortunes more than his own and down talking just about any other person in the book,

    If this sounds interesting, it can be but Antonio almost seems with at odds with the reader. I rarely find myself rolling my eyes at audiobooks but there's something mildly bile inducing after the hundredth, sorta-but-not-really clever cheeky reference to Roman history, Napoleon, to explain a board meeting or worn out of out analogy to investor courtship as dating. Antonio is just on this side of aware, to realize he's money grubbing, self assured asshole but the real problem is he's just unlikable even as a narrator. Down talking when asserting his isn't, asserting his roguish nature only to be a huge consumer of groupthink, and a nice heaping dose of neo-tech-religious snobbery.

    Despite AGM being mostly devoid of redeemable traits, pension of hyper aggrandizing every mundane situation, and absurdist chapter intros that quote everything from Shakespeare to byzantine quotes. Antonio does give some interesting incite FaceBook's lingering ineptness to serve ads with even basic tracking even at the date of its IPO, to the gritty networking of selling a company off to the highest bidder and playing the system. I don't blame Antonio's cynicism for the industry but he's pretty much the walking embodiment of San Francisco Techie asshole, the people who garner scorn even he thinks he isn't. When a resident of Portland or Seattle or Denver complains about Californian Techies in their city, Antonio is who'd they point at.

    It's also useful to get to know somehow who fundamentally views the world so transactionally something usually more associated with WallStreet than Tech. Perhaps it's his background from a stint as a quant at Goldman-Saches, a broker of unending evil that molded his fragile mind, but I'm sure there's plenty more just like him in the Valley without a history to point to. There's plenty more barbs I'm leaving out, although I feel it necessary to call out his usage of, "More on that later" oft-repeated, as well as abbreviating individuals to 3 letter acronyms like AGM, to dehumanize them or make them a product.

    Occasionally he's even witty and funny. If you work in tech, you'll probably be able to slog your way to the end. Everyone else, read Dan Lyons' Disrupted.

    26 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 10-16-16
    Todd 10-16-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Unreadable"

    This book has no narrative. It's just a series of sentences written by the author who's often trying to be too cool or clever. 3 chapters in and there's no story or information worth remembering. In 5 years of monthly books on audible, mostly in this genre, I've quit only two books: this and The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Brad Horowitz.

    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hostage to fortune 07-13-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A delightful odyssey of madness, moxie, and money"

    This is a very entertaining account of the current tech environment which makes 2010 seem like decades ago. A fast paced, irreverent narrator takes us on his personal tumblr through the jungle and it is delicious. It's also a deeply provocative lesson in how the powers that be are harnessing our info, or not, and it might shatter some preconceived notions about who is doing what and why. A must read for anyone appreciating a front-row seat to the madness that is Silicon Valley, incubators, and unicorns.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 04-21-17
    Brian 04-21-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Couldn't get past the 3rd chapter"

    The writer comes off as someone who is very arrogant, not a team player, critical of orders, and is the clear cause of all of his problems that he talks about. If I would have to work with him, I would not enjoy doing so. Facebook did a good thing by getting rid of him.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-07-16
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-07-16
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    "Vindictive, Addictive, Sharp"

    Antonio Garcia Martinez has an axe to grind and grind it he does. Chaos Monkeys is vindictive, addictive, and sharp.

    What's surprising is, along with the score settling, how much I learned about the tech world whose products I use every day. A thoughtful light is shone on the deals and analysis of Silicone Valley that you aren't going to see anywhere else. Despite the "disruptive," rumpled exterior, the business runs on the same greed and profit models as developers and Wall Street.

    An entertaining and informative book to be heard with a salt cellar at the ready.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie C. 06-03-17
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    "Interesting insights, but no likeable characters"

    This isn't a read for a good storyline--you probably won't like any of the people described in the book. Still, there are lessons to be taken from it (with a big grain of salt), as it's one man's account of working at Goldman Sachs, a career move to tech, founding a start up, his days at an early-ish Facebook, and his interesting insights about the similarities (and a few differences) between Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The author's views are often fascinating and/or thought provoking, but he comes across as a pompous jerk surrounded by other pompous jerks. It feels longer than it needs to be, and at times, a bit crude than it needs to be.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriela Mistral 05-01-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Full of himself"

    The story started off tantalizingly and quickly went downhill quickly. Basically a soulless rehash of the authors exploits in pursuit of meaningless wealth and more wealth. His descriptions of his tenure at Goldman Sachs, Facebook and an Internet upstart were not enlightening. His narrative about the birth of his baby was devoid of emotion. I suppose some people will find this story enlightens their understanding of how our economy and our privacy rights got so screwed up. It just makes me want to vomit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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