Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley Paperback – 24 April 2018
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"In the spirit of George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, Corey Pein takes us on a gonzo misadventure through the underbelly of Silicon Valley, exposing the dystopian comedy behind the techno optimism with wry observation and gleeful contempt. A helluva ride."
--Joe Hagan, author of Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine
"All praise to Corey Pein for jumping headfirst into the cesspool of Silicon Valley and returning without having lost his mind or sold his soul. His reports from the front lines of the startup frenzy are hilarious and terrifying. While all eyes are glued on President Trump, a shortsighted and reactionary techno-oligarchy aims to amass a fortune at the cost of the common good. There's no app that can save us. But this book can at least wake us up to the dystopian future under construction."
--Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
"Pein's absurdly funny journey is a Through-the-Looking-Glass tale for the dying days of tech utopianism. Built on the creative vanity of this new class of talentless speculator and designed entirely without human need in mind, this world of nonsense quickly turns dystopian when seen from the perspective of a worker and renter trying to make his way through it."
--Angela Nagle, author of Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right
"You sleep in a pantry because you can't afford a real apartment. You exploit yourself, destroy your health, and ruin the lives of millions when you finally succeed. You think of crime as a great business model. You embrace some of the worst politics ever devised. And you call it progress. Silicon Valley, the capitalist miracle. That is the American nightmare as Corey Pein brilliantly describes it, and it is not a work of the imagination. This is really happening, and soon it will be happening to you."
--Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal and What's the Matter with Kansas?
"Deeply unsettling . . . A clearheaded reckoning with the consequences of the tech industry's disruptions and the ideology that undergirds it."
"Like Jon Ronson, Pein combines serious journalism with humor and his own antics for an entertaining and caustic mix. If Silicon Valley and Black Mirror had a book baby, it would be Live Work Work Work Die."
"All praise to Corey Pein for jumping headfirst into the cesspool of Silicon Valley and returning without having lost his mind or sold his soul. His reports from the front lines of the startup frenzy are hilarious and terrifying in turn. While all eyes are glued on President Trump, a shortsighted, hubristic, and downright reactionary techno-oligarchy (and the army of sycophants and wannabes they've inspired) aims to amass a fortune at the cost of the common good. Unfortunately, there's no app that can save us. But this book can at least wake us up to the dystopian future currently under construction."
-- Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform
About the Author
Corey Pein is a regular contributor to The Baffler, where he writes a column and hosts the podcast "News from Nowhere." A longtime investigative reporter and former staff writer for the Willamette Week, he has also written for Slate, Salon, Foreign Policy, The American Prospect, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Corey is the author of Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley.
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1250198151
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250198150
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I'm a tech worker who lives in San Francisco and am- to put it mildly- over it. I was hoping this book would give me a better systemic insight into why I feel such disdain and unease. Sadly, what I got was an unorganized mess with no central thesis and no real attempt at understanding what Silicon Valley is really like.
It feels like Corey Pein didn't even try. From the outset he gets details wrong to the point where I almost wonder if he even spent time in San Francisco (there is no highway overpass in the Tenderloin. There are no buildings matching his description of the condo he stayed at in SoMa, etc.) Furthermore, he has clear disdain for the people he's writing about from the beginning. He goes out of his way to both only interact with the worst kinds of people Silicon Valley has to offer and to do so under the worst circumstances (shared airbnbs or tents, pitch contests, meetups, hackathons). He makes no sincere attempt to actually integrate himself with the community. Rather he writes stories overheard from actual Silicon Valley employees or snidely "attempts" to pitch a startup with such a transparent mockery no one will take him seriously, instead of actually trying to get a startup job or start one of his own. All of his experiences here are entirely from the outside looking in. Corey Pein had his mind made up about the book he wanted to write before he got here. This is a book written by an outsider for outsiders who already have their mind made up about what Silicon Valley is or looks like.
If you want to read a disgruntled account of what Silicon Valley is really like you could at least read a book by someone who spend a year actually working there: Dan Lyons - Disrupted.
Pein comes across as a fearless writer who is not afraid to shine a bright light in the face of the insanely wealthy vampiric “PayPals” that inhabit Silicon Valley.
I think the author offers a frank discussion of the civic failures of the SF Bay Area and the reality of living among some of the world’s wealthiest people. But the narrative satirizes the allure of start-up propaganda so well that other reviewers chastise the author for not being more prepared, as if there is a right way to move to San Jose and make billions of dollars.
Looking forward to what comes next, if only to read what this Corey Pein has to say about it.