• Live Work Work Work Die

  • A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley
  • By: Corey Pein
  • Narrated by: Corey Pein
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-24-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (100 ratings)

Regular price: $25.51

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Publisher's Summary

A scathing, sardonic exploration of Silicon Valley tech culture, laying bare the greed, hubris, and retrograde politics of an industry that aspires to radically transform society for its own benefit. This enlightening audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested or involved in the tech industry.

At the height of the start-up boom, journalist Corey Pein set out for Silicon Valley with little more than a smartphone and his wits. His goal: to learn how such an overhyped industry could possibly sustain itself as long as it has. Determined to cut through the clichés of big tech - the relentless optimism, the mandatory enthusiasm, and the earnest, incessant repetition of vacuous buzzwords - Pein decided that he would need to take an approach as unorthodox as the companies he would soon be covering. To truly understand the delirious reality of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, he knew, he would have to inhabit that perspective - he would have to become an entrepreneur.

Thus he begins his journey - skulking through gimmicky tech conferences, pitching his over-the-top business ideas to investors, and interviewing a cast of outrageous characters: cyborgs and con artists, Teamsters and transhumanists, jittery hackers and naive upstart programmers whose entire lives are managed by their employers - who work endlessly and obediently, never thinking to question their place in the system.

In showing us this frantic world, Pein challenges the positive, feel-good self-image that the tech tycoons have crafted - as nerdy and benevolent creators of wealth and opportunity - revealing their self-justifying views and their insidious visions for the future. Indeed, as Pein shows, Silicon Valley is awash in disreputable ideas: Google executive and futurist Raymond Kurzweil has a side business peddling dietary supplements and has for years pushed the outlandish notion that human beings are destined to merge with computers and live forever in some kind of digital cosmic hive mind. Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist affiliated with PayPal and Facebook, is now an important advisor to President Trump and has subsidized a prolific blogger known by the pen name Mencius Moldbug who writes approvingly of ideas like eugenics and dictatorship. And Moldbug is not alone. There is, in fact, a small but influential - and growing - group of techies with similarly absurd and extremist beliefs who call themselves the "neoreactionary" vanguard of a "Dark Enlightenment."

Vivid and incisive, Live Work Work Work Die is a troubling portrait of a self-obsessed industry bent on imposing its disturbing visions on the rest of us.

©2018 Corey Pein (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you're in tech and haven't read this book...

you're probably a sucker. Pein's work is indispensable for a world finally ready to see Silicon Valley for what it is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • United States
  • 04-26-18

The bucket of cold water Silicon Valley needs

Would you listen to Live Work Work Work Die again? Why?

Maybe, but it's pretty grim.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I like the travelogue structure of the book. Also, Pine's humor helps things from getting too depressing.

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked the description of his first AirBnB as his first real introduction to the way life is in this sector of the economy.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Peter Thiel is even creepier than I thought. Like way more sinister.

Any additional comments?

I loved the first three chapters, but later the structure sort of broke down and the narrative lost its flow. The mini biographies came to overpower the nice travelogue structure of the first part. Even so, the book more than held my attention.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Riveting, brutal, and darkly hilarious at times.

Considering tech companies' level of power and influence in the world and in our lives, there is a considerable lack of scrutiny regarding their aspirations, the way they operate, and their general ethical values (or lack thereof). Individual convenience through technological progression oftentimes comes at the expense of the environment, our privacy, and the overall wellbeing of humanity--as the further commodification of cheap human labor is the oil on which many of these companies run on. There is a criminal disregard for the price we py for convenience, and it's largely minimized or flatly ignored by the media (spoiler: there's a reason for this), and the sheer pace and distractive nature of these innovations prevent us from taking a step back and really examining their implications. With hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal and world class lobbyists on their side, the reception of the media and of governments has largely been enthusiastic approval to push forward unrestricted and at an ever accelerating pace. "Disruption", the buzzword that so much of the industry strives for and worships, is often a simple sugarcoating for unfettered capitalism.

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Necessary reading

Do not take into account the overall rating of this book - it's the product a volley of undeserved criticisms. I am inclined to blame this on cognitive dissonance and technological fanaticism.

In a world increasingly dominated by "techies" and where the dominant narrative revolves around how they will save the world from calamity, this book offers a refreshing escape. The author is a talented writer (and narrator) and experienced first hand some of the least explored and least spoken about aspects of the rapidly growing behemoth that is Silicon Valley. Pein sheds light on a number of negative consequences of techno-corporate power, consequences that are -for reasons that are all the more obvious after listening to this book- brushed aside, ignored or outright censored by ridiculing those who point them out. We need critical voices that... "disrupt" the optimistic, non-critical and quasi-religious belief in the infallibility and superiority of technocrats.

I'm quite glad I gave this book a chance. Everyone should.

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  • Richard
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 06-04-18

So was the author unable to narrow his topic?

Started out about real estate in San Francisco. The it morphed into a discussion about why the author’s idea for a start up failed. And it was a ridiculous and obviously illegal idea. Then it morphed into a sci-if discussion of The Singularity. Through the book, there were some interesting points but the author really needed to decide what he wanted to say. Too broad and disjointed.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Compelling (and occasionally tedious) critique

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Corey Pein's story of moving to Silicon Valley to seek a fortune and the indignities of trying to live in an absurdly overpriced city were great. His critique of the predatory side of the startup ecosystem was also great. He does a great job pointing out the self-serving legends that Silicon Valley has made for itself (and that many of us used to believe).

But when the book veered away from the authors personal experience and into his general ideas about politics, I really lost interest. Unfortunately, too much of the book was taken up by political rants and "calling out" right-wingers in Silicon Valley. As much as I liked the central story, I can't recommend the entire book to anyone unless they really want to listen to a recitation of marxist bathroom graffiti for a few hours.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Suffered through to the end

This was a hard listen. Story line was all over the place. Seemed like a lot of exaggeration and assumptions made. Did not come off as authentic.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Roland
  • Wood Dale, IL, United States
  • 05-31-18

Title should be Live Whine Whine Whine Die

The author constantly whines about everything in silicon valley and yet he stays. He has no real startup ideas, instead he just tries and throw stuff at the wall in hopes something sticks. Don't waste your time.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

I am not that interested in this person’s choices. I thought it was something more valuable to me personally.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Flink
  • 05-18-18

A strong start that peters out

I found this book after listening to an extract of the Guardian newspapers Long Reads. Here was someone who went to Silicon Valley and gave it a real go... at least that's how it initially came across. The author's time subletting was amusing and eye opening. Frankly, all the first- hand accounts were pretty interesting at first. But, it quickly becomes apparent that the author wasn't actually trying to create a startup. instead he was just slumming it in order to write this book with a bit more credibility, I guess? He seemed to be there just to mock entrepreneurs. Not everyone is a crook, or charlatan! And, after a while even the thinly-veiled attempt at business is dropped in favour of over-long, boring stretches of things the author has researched about the business world and business history. That wouldn't be a bad thing necessarily, in better hands. But, this is dry stuff here and not what was initially promised, in my opinion.

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  • Louis-S
  • 04-30-18

Tech fantasy exposed as a scam

A very timely book in view of the recent revelations about Facebook.

If you enjoy the HBO comedy Silicon Valley this book will really click.

I really enjoyed.