Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
From the Publisher
Antonio García Martínez talks with Steven Levy
Steven Levy is the editor-in-chief of Backchannel.
Steven Levy (SL): Antonio, why did you write this book?
Antonio García Martínez (AGM): You know, that's a good question because many would think that I'm committing career suicide by writing it. One of the most notable things about Silicon Valley is that nobody is writing those histories. Everyone in Silicon Valley lives in what I like to call 'the eternal present'. It’s the urgent now of the next start-up, or the next cool technology or the next fundraising round or the next media event. No one ever pulls back and thinks: "What are they going to think of us in ten years or a hundred years?" So at the very highest, noblest level, recording that history is why I wrote the book.
SL: You did it, as you mentioned, in a pretty unmediated fashion, one which is probably going to ruffle some feathers. We were talking at one point earlier about doing pieces of this on Backchannel, and I was going to call this series 'You’ll Never Eat Free Lunch in This Town Again'. Do you think you are going to be blackballed?
AGM: Oh, yeah. I think there are going to be one of two reactions to the book. One is from the Facebook founder, early employee, or anyone really vested in and part of the Silicon Valley establishment, who are going to be extraordinarily antagonistic to it. And then I think there's going to be the reaction of the mid-level or junior-level Facebook employee (what I was at Facebook), or the scarred veteran of many a start-up who is not believing in the fairy tale anymore—they are going to read it and see what is basically a portrait of their own lives and laugh like hell.
SL: Your view of Silicon Valley seems to be a kind of den of scoundrels, and you don't exempt yourself from this. Yet there's a moment late in the book where you drop that pose for a second and say how you were drinking the Kool-Aid yourself. How swept up did you get in the Silicon Valley ethos while at the same time looking at a lot of things around you with a jaundiced eye?
AGM: Like I say in the book, "Inside every cynic lives a heartbroken idealist". So if I look at the Silicon Valley world with such a jaundiced eye, it's precisely because I at one point believed in it. I've definitely hammed up this persona of the swaggering rapscallion running amok through the Silicon Valley world, which I kind of did for a number of years. But that rapscallion did believe. I wore a little Facebook fleece every day, I lived at Facebook, I believed in the mission, I was as much a rank-and-file trooper as anybody else. Of course, I was disabused of that opinion as I saw the reality. But I absolutely was a believer at one point, no question.
“Incisive.... The most fun business book I have read this year.... Clearly there will be people who hate this book — which is probably one of the things that makes it such a great read.”
— Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
— Vanity Fair
“There are some books that are just too good to miss.... In his insider-tells-all book, García Martínez discusses everything from goofy stories to cultural secrets about some of the country’s most powerful and influential businesses.”
“Michael Lewis was never a top Wall Street bond salesman, but in Liar’s Poker he captured an era. Chaos Monkeys aims to do the same for Silicon Valley, and bracingly succeeds.”
— David Streitfeld, New York Times Book Review
“Unlike most founding narratives that flow out of the Valley, Chaos Monkeys dives into the unburnished, day-to-day realities: the frantic pivots, the enthusiastic ass-kissing, the excruciating internal politics.... [García] can be rude, but he’s shrewd, too.”
— Bloomberg Businessweek
“An irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment.... A must-read.”
— Jonathan A. Knee, New York Times
“An unvarnished account… of Silicon Valley.”
— CBS This Morning
“Traces the evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it’s become a part of our daily lives and how it will affect our future.”
— Leonard Lopate, WNYC
From the Back Cover
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 provocative 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, brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally
flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sports cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley cad.
- ASIN : B019MMUAAQ
- Publisher : Harper (June 28, 2016)
- Publication date : June 28, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 1483 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 499 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #500,427 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
That's only the last half of the book.
The rest is a tale of escaping from startup hell, making a go at reaching startup heaven, then making deals to salvage it all when reaching the critical trial-by-fire that every startup must face: die, execute flawlessly, or exit.
There are some who will find the tone, the voice, or the political incorrectness of both to be too harsh to digest. I've already seen that in a few of the reviews here. To them I say "grow up"... put on your big boy/girl pants and read this for the story. The tale it tells. The facts it presents. The data with which it backs it all up. Because it is all true. The exposition of complex systems are described using appropriate, and facile metaphors. Many of the standard Facebook tropes ("stealing/selling your data", "Zuck is evil", etc.) are explained for the misleading baloney that they are. Best of all it describes how the advertising media really operates, going back to the dawn of it, and how Facebook, Google, et al are merely extensions of a system that has existed for two centuries. It is worth the purchase price for that lesson alone, all wrapped in a great, and true story.
For myself, having lived through much of the same experience at Facebook (from onboarding, the devotion, the cynicism, to the inglorious, frustrated exit bungled by one of the legion of Facebook's incompetent and narcissistic manager corps) I found myself going from laughter, to nodding agreement, to gut-wrenching bouts of PTSD as I turned the pages of 'Chaos Monkeys'. Now I no longer have to justify myself to people who ask me why I left Facebook - I can just tell them to read this book, since it explains it better than I ever could.
While the protagonist seems to be entirely driven by monetary incentives, he does not forget to regularly interrupt his quest for a lengthy tirade about how capitalism is the worst (usually on the way to convince some capitalists to give him some money so he could participate in capitalist venture and make some money for himself).
The author undoubtedly has a knack for storytelling and a keen eye (usually turned to finding faults in everything he sees), so there are many interesting and entertaining bits in the book. But the overall negativity and constant droning of the author about how everything around him is wrong from the mere atoms upwards is really wearing you down. I understand that's sort of "here's what I am without any makeup, take it or leave it" but I really wish the it wasn't a whiny narcissistic nihilist...
Top reviews from other countries
Sadly, these sections were marred by having to 'listen' to Martinez's overblown prose and sense of self-worth.
The self-deprecation doesn't sound genuine and - let's face it - he comes across as a complete tool. Not worth the money
A great account of Antonio's life chapters from Wall Street to Techie to startup and working with the big boys in Silicon Valley.
Really enjoyed the style of writing, very humorous in places, and great to get an insight into the large techie firms.
Couldn't wait to read more, read the book in a week which is excellent for me!
If you like the world of tech or IT, I recommend you read this book.