Chaos Monkeys

  • by Antonio Garcia Martinez
  • Narrated by Dan John Miller
  • 15 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Greg "Say something about yourself!"


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.
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- Todd

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-28-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio