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Coming of Age in Silicon Valley

Dan Lyons’ “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble” is not unlike the famous Margaret Mead book on which my title is based.

At times, Lyons himself refers to his work as an anthropological study, and it’s an apt metaphor as he chronicles his late career transition from traditional journalist to digital marketeer at a new-age tech startup. He does this with tremendous wit and a finely tuned bullshit detector.

Hubspot is a company that appears to be built on some limited success, a good amount of snake oil, and a hemorrhaging cash flow. How it manages to pull off a successful IPO is both mysterious and frightening. Mysterious because we now live in an era where the normal rules of finance no longer apply. And frightening because people above a certain age will recall that we’ve been here before.

Speaking of age, as another aging baby boomer who joined a major tech company predominantly populated by people half my age, some of his musings struck close to home. One of my favorite passages is his description of his first day on the job, where his twenty-something boss shows him his new desk and where, in place of a chair, he finds one giant inflated orange rubber exercise ball.

This book is full of such moments but it’s much more than comedy. It’s part tragedy, part expose, and part cautionary tale for the internet age. Like many fine works of art, this book is a mirror held up to humanity in 2017. While a tremendously entertaining read, it’s also a bit painful because you won’t always like what you see in this mirror.

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Disrupted by Dan Lyons is the best book about Silicon Valley today.”—Los Angeles Times”Hysterical.“—Kara Swisher, Recode “Wildly entertaining.”—Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon MuskFor twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine write…