- Audio CD
- Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (December 3, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1799760332
- ISBN-13: 978-1799760337
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,828,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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So far, and admittedly I haven't seen all of it, I think it feels fair and even-handed, not over-sensational.
The writing is also very good -- fast reading and I'm finding myself obsessed with this story.
Hard not to compare it to Bad Blood, equally juicy. The difference is that we all saw this -- we were all riding Ubers and loving the convenience and celebrating the fact that is has transformed urban transportation.
And we all knew someone who worked there and hated the culture -- but who wanted to stay to cash out.
Will update more in a day or two, with more thoughts and details.
UPDATE: <100 pages to go
I am obsessed with this book and the story. I find it so amazing that such a large, transformative company was run just so poorly. I'm at the point where Bad Boy Travis is taking a break from the company -- and I do feel sorry for him, up to a point. I don't feel sorry for the enablers -- some whom I think Isaac let off pretty lightly. In fact, many of the characters he describes show up (at least up to this point) as quite admirable, such as the CTO Thuan Pham, among others.
I cannot wait to talk about this book with friends and observers. I am less sanguine that it cannot happen again, and again and again, because the whole startup/crazy money chasing the next big thing/bro culture has no reason to change.
UPDATE: finished the book and just raced through toward the end. I think everyone interested in startups/disruption and tech in general should read this book, for what it says about the whole cycle of money-funding-new-ideas.
Was riveted by the ins and outs of Benchmark's actions and how one of the most founder-friendly firms in Silicon Valley, could push out a CEO who controls the shares and the board!
Yes, I loved reading the book but am saddened the the problems will not go away because there's too much money sloshing around looking for the next big thing, with investors all FOMO about the next bro startup. Kalanick, who Mike Isaac described as having a philosophy of "Ayn Rand meets Wolf of Wall Street," is part of the system, not an outlier. Susan Fower's "very strange year" at Uber is happening again in firms all over, venture firms are ignoring women founders, and tools like AI propogate the same old ideas. Sigh.
Still, it's great to dissect how this very visible company jumped the shark, and keep the conversation going about how Silicon Valley, innovators, and investors can do much, much better.
OK, sermon over.
Thanks for reading.
Other books like Bad Blood about Theranos actually have deeply researched and investigated material that make a compelling story and could become a great movie, but not this book unfortunately. It reads like the same news articles you've already read so you leave the book feeling you haven't learned anything more.
If you want a more entertaining and better researched book, go for Bad Blood or any Michael Lewis book. This definitely falls short of those caliber of books, unfortunately.
This is one most poorly written books I’ve read in years. I picked it up because I’ve always disliked Uber and thought this would be an Uber-focused version of “Bad Blood” (one of my favorite books I’ve read this year). It was not even in the same league. By the end I actually liked Travis more, and truly loathed the author for making me sit through 350 pages of painful drivel.
The writing is horribly self-congratulatory (“there was a New York Times reporter involved. That reporter was me” is evoked multiple times as if to remind the reader that the book can’t be as bad as it seems because of the authors employer). The authors obvious insecurity comes creeping through throughout the book.
It’s also full of childish errors. At one point the author says Travis has “Savant-like math skills” because he can calculate how long it will take to get somewhere in a car given the distance and the speed. I reread this 5 times, thinking it must be a joke. It was not.
A few pages later I found out why simple arithmetic counts as Fields Medal worthy: the author insists that a 1.5mbps modem is “thousands” of times faster that a 28.8kbps modem. Apparently for the author 1500/28.8=~50 is an impossibly complex math equation.
These were just two of the 11 tweet-worthy mistakes or idiocies scattered throughout the book. Some of the other egregious examples: saying all companies have a single founder, that consumer-facing companies always get higher valuations than enterprise software/infrastructure companies, or that VCs investors hope to earn a 20% total return on their initial investment “after 10 years” (not compounded annualized return, which would have made sense). I wondered at times if the author had decided to save money by not hiring an editor.
In addition to being painfully self-absorbed and full of errors, the writing is incredibly formulaic. It felt like the whole book had been written by a machine-learning algorithm trained to imitate non-fiction. The book had all the superficial traits of the genre, without any infusion of actual writing talent.
Unless you enjoy comically bad writing, avoid this book at all costs.
Top international reviews
Very good book that I highly recommend !