(p. B1) The most fun business book I have read this year? “Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley,” by a former Facebook executive, Antonio García Martinez. I was sent a galley copy several months ago and picked it up with no intention of reading more than the first couple of pages. I don’t think I looked up until about three hours later.
This is a tell-all of Mr. Martinez’s experience in venture capital and later at Facebook, filled with insights about Silicon Valley — what he calls “the tech whorehouse” — mixed with score-settling anecdotes that will occasionally make you laugh out loud. Clearly there will be people who hate this book — which is probably one of the things that makes it such a great read.
The dedication page includes this gem: “To all my enemies: I could not have done it without you.” Mr. Martinez is particularly incisive when it comes to illustrating how failed ideas that happen to work are often spun into great successes: “What was an improbable bonanza at the hands of the flailing half-blind becomes the inevitable coup of the assured visionary,” he writes. “The world crowns you a genius, and you start acting like one.”
For the full commentary, see:
Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “DEALBOOK; Tell-Alls, Strategic Plans and Cautionary Tales.” The New York Times (Tues., JULY 5, 2016): B1 & B4.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JULY 4, 2016, and has the title “DEALBOOK; A Reading List of Tell-Alls, Strategic Plans and Cautionary Tales in Finance.”)
The book praised by Sorkin in the passage quoted above, is:
Martinez, Antonio Garcia. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley. New York: Harper, 2016.