Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Chaos Monkeys

By Antonio Garcia Martinez

  • Release Date: 2016-06-28
  • Genre: Industries & Professions
Score: 4
From 33 Ratings
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An NPR Best Book of the Year

“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

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 startup 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 datacenter 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 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, 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 startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and 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?


  • Good stories, good info, too wordy

    I enjoyed the overall premise and was entertained by some of the stories. However, the author tries too hard to sound smart and makes the book unreadable at times. My Dad taught me to, keep it simple stupid. The author must be one of those people who takes a lot of pride in talking in gibberish only to try and confuse people. If you can manage to bypass the unfortunate wordiness of this book, it does have good examples of what life is like in Silicon Valley.
  • Don't waste your time...

    By Chaddums
    The author writes entertaining storylines but plays fast and loose with the facts. I've worked with many of the same people and companies and have a starkly different view of these players and their motivations. His cavalier attitude toward abandoning his children made me sick to my stomach. He hypocritically takes potshots at various entrepreneurs and the American economic system while simultaneously enriching himself (including from sales of his book via Apple.) I made it halfway through the book before I couldn't take anymore, and wish I could get my money back...
  • Great overview of AdTech

    By audioeric
    And a great book overall. There is a lot of detail but it's character building and good details of ads, product management, and SV corporate life. Highly recommended.
  • Too much detail

    By Ash31674
    I gave up reading this book 1/4 way through- too much detail and trendy language. Maybe the next 3/4 improved but I'll never know!
  • An very entertaining, painfully accurate depiction of Silicon Valley

    By askmar
    I've lived in Menlo Park for over 30 years, about two miles from Facebook. The author's description of the people and locale are penetrating and all too accurate. His thesis that success comes in unintended ways and manners is quite correct. For every success, there are typically multiple other attempts, both by your own company and others in the market. The book's insights and observations are well worth the time to read it. Highly recommended!