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Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

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In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world, yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped presents the dramatic In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world, yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped presents the dramatic rise and fall of Uber, set against an era of rapid upheaval in Silicon Valley. Backed by billions in venture capital dollars and led by a brash and ambitious founder, Uber promised to revolutionize the way we move people and goods through the world. A near instant “unicorn,” Uber seemed poised to take its place next to Amazon, Apple, and Google as a technology giant. What followed would become a corporate cautionary tale about the perils of startup culture and a vivid example of how blind worship of startup founders can go wildly wrong. Isaac recounts Uber’s pitched battles with taxi unions and drivers, the company’s toxic internal culture, and the bare-knuckle tactics it devised to overcome obstacles in its quest for dominance. With billions of dollars at stake, Isaac shows how venture capitalists asserted their power and seized control of the startup as it fought its way toward its fateful IPO. Based on hundreds of interviews with current and former Uber employees, along with previously unpublished documents, Super Pumped is a page-turning story of ambition and deception, obscene wealth, and bad behavior that explores how blistering technological and financial innovation culminated in one of the most catastrophic twelve-month periods in American corporate history.


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In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world, yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped presents the dramatic In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world, yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley. Award-winning New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped presents the dramatic rise and fall of Uber, set against an era of rapid upheaval in Silicon Valley. Backed by billions in venture capital dollars and led by a brash and ambitious founder, Uber promised to revolutionize the way we move people and goods through the world. A near instant “unicorn,” Uber seemed poised to take its place next to Amazon, Apple, and Google as a technology giant. What followed would become a corporate cautionary tale about the perils of startup culture and a vivid example of how blind worship of startup founders can go wildly wrong. Isaac recounts Uber’s pitched battles with taxi unions and drivers, the company’s toxic internal culture, and the bare-knuckle tactics it devised to overcome obstacles in its quest for dominance. With billions of dollars at stake, Isaac shows how venture capitalists asserted their power and seized control of the startup as it fought its way toward its fateful IPO. Based on hundreds of interviews with current and former Uber employees, along with previously unpublished documents, Super Pumped is a page-turning story of ambition and deception, obscene wealth, and bad behavior that explores how blistering technological and financial innovation culminated in one of the most catastrophic twelve-month periods in American corporate history.

30 review for Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sparse Greener

    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 wa 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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric Mannes

    So much of this book was fascinating. Starting with Part 3, I was highlighting every other paragraph. Lots of it was new to me, including the scope of fraud in the Chinese market that Uber dealt with (e.g., “giant makeshift circuit boards filled with hundreds of slots to insert SIM cards” to make it easy to create and cycle through new accounts). While other events were familiar from earlier reporting, they made much more sense within Isaac’s narrative. For instance, I’d read that Apple execs ha So much of this book was fascinating. Starting with Part 3, I was highlighting every other paragraph. Lots of it was new to me, including the scope of fraud in the Chinese market that Uber dealt with (e.g., “giant makeshift circuit boards filled with hundreds of slots to insert SIM cards” to make it easy to create and cycle through new accounts). While other events were familiar from earlier reporting, they made much more sense within Isaac’s narrative. For instance, I’d read that Apple execs had gotten angry at Uber for violating App Store rules, but why had Uber done that in the first place? My understanding had been “Travis Kalinick is a douchecanoe who doesn’t give a shit about anyone’s privacy and he built an organization in his own image,” and while that still seems entirely accurate, that was only one factor. This book was also a throwback, both to San Francisco in the summer of 2015 (I was there and I remember it ~all too well~) and to reading Shakespeare in English class. Isaac, I think, structured the book into five parts to parallel the five-act structure of a Shakespearean tragedy. There’s some exposition, some rising action, a turning point where the protagonist makes choices with consequences that will haunt them for the rest of the play, the realization of those consequences, and an awful end in which everybody dies. In this book, one person dies in a tragic accident and a lot of people get fired. (Travis remains a bazillionaire at the end, though.) But while this book shows that dramatic structure is still alive, it makes clear that copyediting is dead. I am astounded that of all the people who read a book that is destined to be a bestseller, _not one_ knew the difference between “cache” and “cachet,” noticed that Oprah Winfrey’s name was misspelled, or caught the inconsistent capitalization of “Muslim ban” within a single page. I read the Kindle edition, so maybe it’s all fine in hardcover, but, like, really? To me it is mind-boggling that these errors were never caught, and if you can’t get shit like this right, what else must be wrong with the book?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    As a transportation reporter this was a page-turner, it read almost like a novelization of real events. It was fascinating to go behind the scenes of key moments in Uber, ride-hailing, and tech/Silicon Valley history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mona Nomura

    What a read! Because of the interconnected (almost incestual) nature of Silicon Valley, this tale of Uber takes you on an insider journey into the startup world, touching upon other products aside from Uber and unveiling some of the key people that shaped our current tech world. Perfectly cadenced, engaging, meticulously researched, and written in laymen’s terms I couldn’t put this book down and finished in one sitting. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Mostly accurate, but lacks character development. I worked at Uber in SF beginning in 2015, and at a high level the events in the book that I experienced (Vegas off-site, China market) were fairly accurate portrayals of what actually happened. The biggest disappointment with the book was not whether or not events actually happened or not, but that it never really dug into the psyche of any of the main characters, likely because the author has never successfully managed to interview any of them o Mostly accurate, but lacks character development. I worked at Uber in SF beginning in 2015, and at a high level the events in the book that I experienced (Vegas off-site, China market) were fairly accurate portrayals of what actually happened. The biggest disappointment with the book was not whether or not events actually happened or not, but that it never really dug into the psyche of any of the main characters, likely because the author has never successfully managed to interview any of them or anyone personally close (e.g. not just colleagues, subordinates) to them in any real detail. Without that level of character development the book reads like a long newspaper article, and every major events described in the book has already been described in near identical ways in past articles.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    TL;DR: Travis Kalanick is a douche, tech is out of control, take Lyft instead of Uber. Super Pumped is methodically researched and compelling. It confirms what we've always suspected: that Travis Kalanick and his cronies are insufferable douchebags. This is a conclusion yielded by the facts of the story, not by the author's writing, which is a surprisingly balanced account. After everything Kalanick does in the name of "winning," it's satisfying to see him pushed out of his own compan TL;DR: Travis Kalanick is a douche, tech is out of control, take Lyft instead of Uber. Super Pumped is methodically researched and compelling. It confirms what we've always suspected: that Travis Kalanick and his cronies are insufferable douchebags. This is a conclusion yielded by the facts of the story, not by the author's writing, which is a surprisingly balanced account. After everything Kalanick does in the name of "winning," it's satisfying to see him pushed out of his own company. At the same time, however, he's still a billionaire, and now has another startup, so that's a sobering reminder that unless you say a firm "NO" to the assholes of the world early on, they might still get away with a yacht and a big pile of cash. It's also a great reminder to take Lyft instead of Uber. At least Lyft didn't spy on its opponents (including following them home or secretly photographing them), go out of its way to steal from and screw over competitors, actively deceive government officials, or encourage work environments full of unfettered backstabbing, misogyny, and toxicity. Uber under Kalanick was simultaneously uncontrolled chaos and vicious calculation. The lengths the company went to in order to "win" are nothing short of psychopathic. If anything, this is a cautionary tale to us, the consumers—apps and tech companies seem so safe and regulated in their ubiquity and popularity, but this is a lesson to the contrary. Never trust a company. Especially companies run by jerks, which, let's be real, most of them are. Kalanick doesn't even come close to the worst of them (I felt bad for him at times - he's not evil, just a power-obsessed douche). If this is something that bothers you, well, vote with your wallet, and encourage others to do the same. With regards to the writing, there are several issues that stem from switching from quickly-penned online articles to a full-length book. Uncaught typos / grammatical errors pop up frequently, transitions between chapters can be awkward, and the digressions into each introduced individual's biographical background are tedious. But overall, the book is very well done, both fascinating and thoroughly researched. Let's hope we as a society learn something from the story of Uber (though history tells me we probably won't).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thijs Niks

    Mike Isaac masterfully narrates the struggle for power over Uber and its main characters.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shashank Bhargava

    Interesting read, well reported, not super well written. Lot of information repeated and lots of useless appositives that make you feel like you're going crazy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Conrad

    Enjoyed this one. Of course a bunch of it is stuff that I already knew, but my story with Uber was already completed by the time most of the juicy stuff in this book occurred. It's actually quite the bit of epic corporate drama at the end and I do have to admit I was quite curious about the details. I got some of what I wanted and some was still left as a mystery. However, I do really like that this book didn't seem to have too much of an agenda. It praised the company for what it had Enjoyed this one. Of course a bunch of it is stuff that I already knew, but my story with Uber was already completed by the time most of the juicy stuff in this book occurred. It's actually quite the bit of epic corporate drama at the end and I do have to admit I was quite curious about the details. I got some of what I wanted and some was still left as a mystery. However, I do really like that this book didn't seem to have too much of an agenda. It praised the company for what it had done while also showing some of the downsides of how the team was built and managed. I was expecting it to be a lot more of the latter. I'm not really sure how someone who doesn't really know the story will react to reading it, but I'm sure I'll found out in the future.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vuk Trifkovic

    Pretty poor book. It's such an NYT thing. The author is, as it is typical for tech press, totally in thrall of the companies they cover. It is not so much that he's "pro" Kalanick, it's more than total mediocrity of Kalanick actually really resonate with Isaac. He bends over backward to paint an aggressive everyman (well, almost) into a super-being just because he calculated ETA in a car once. In the end, he even openly fawns over Kalnick *IN COURT*. More to the point, the book brings Pretty poor book. It's such an NYT thing. The author is, as it is typical for tech press, totally in thrall of the companies they cover. It is not so much that he's "pro" Kalanick, it's more than total mediocrity of Kalanick actually really resonate with Isaac. He bends over backward to paint an aggressive everyman (well, almost) into a super-being just because he calculated ETA in a car once. In the end, he even openly fawns over Kalnick *IN COURT*. More to the point, the book brings very little new for anyone who did not read the tech blogs at the time. Moreover, the book only explodes to life at the very last, and actually not that interesting or important part - boardroom struggles behind the scenes. That's the kind of "he said, she said, they said" limit of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Foley

    Very good book, def way too much bro club going on in the valley and it's crazy how everyone just accepts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel He

    Interestingly written. It feels like it’s almost mocking the bro-culture of the company: the writing itself seems a bit childish and the fratty undertones are not very subtle. Overall, the story itself is fascinating, if not alarming. Maybe will write another update after I hear the author speak in a couple of days.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    So firstly, this guy's editor is totally terrible. Isaac keeps re-explaining characters he has already introduced. Plus, the paragraphs jump around a lot. BUT it's still a compelling read. It's just that this is the first book I've read where I really thought someone could have benefited from a better editor. I think what really struck me so many times in reading this is that Uber could have solved so many problems (like the China fraud problem) if maybe they had just tried to collabor So firstly, this guy's editor is totally terrible. Isaac keeps re-explaining characters he has already introduced. Plus, the paragraphs jump around a lot. BUT it's still a compelling read. It's just that this is the first book I've read where I really thought someone could have benefited from a better editor. I think what really struck me so many times in reading this is that Uber could have solved so many problems (like the China fraud problem) if maybe they had just tried to collaborate with people rather than LIE TO APPLE AND COMMIT THEIR OWN FRAUD.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    A real pageturner! Who knows how the story will end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bartosz Majewski

    Great reporting in one of my favourite genre: biographies of companies. And this is a fascinating story starring an Uber-Aggressive founder, Best VCs in the world, Taxi corporations connected to mafia, China and of course softbank. If you liked Bad Blood you are probably going to like this one as well. Listening to the audiobook I couldn't stop thinking about how similar parts of Uber's story are to late USSR (i know it's a fringe comparison, but I can't help myself) Both h Great reporting in one of my favourite genre: biographies of companies. And this is a fascinating story starring an Uber-Aggressive founder, Best VCs in the world, Taxi corporations connected to mafia, China and of course softbank. If you liked Bad Blood you are probably going to like this one as well. Listening to the audiobook I couldn't stop thinking about how similar parts of Uber's story are to late USSR (i know it's a fringe comparison, but I can't help myself) Both had its downs. For USSR it was Genocide, Gulags, Chernobyl, and Afghanistan. For Uber, it was numerous scandals and reputational hazards. But the underlying issues that enabled the fall were economical, not cultural. USSR was not a viable economic concept. And neither is Uber on current unit economics that won't change until self-driving cars adopt (which won't happen on a mass scale) or a surge in pricing (which will dry up demand that drives supply). As Travis Kalanick reportedly said "We have only one problem. It's the guy in the front seat." But this is not a problem of anyone that got equity early. Everyone got massively rich, even in the scenario in which the company won't survive. I guess that if you shoot for the moon and fail (which I hope they won't) you still manage to grab a handful of stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book describes the rise and fall of Uber focusing primarily on its co-founder Travis Kalanick. Most of the book is further elaboration of the articles that swamped the news cycle for months about Uber’s toxic culture, Kalanick potentially being a sociopath, treatment of drivers etc. The part of the story I didn’t know was the role of Arianna Huffington. Through her role on the board, she and Kalanick grew close. She flew to be at his side after his parents’ tragic accident and was his close This book describes the rise and fall of Uber focusing primarily on its co-founder Travis Kalanick. Most of the book is further elaboration of the articles that swamped the news cycle for months about Uber’s toxic culture, Kalanick potentially being a sociopath, treatment of drivers etc. The part of the story I didn’t know was the role of Arianna Huffington. Through her role on the board, she and Kalanick grew close. She flew to be at his side after his parents’ tragic accident and was his closest confidante as thing started to unwind. But at the end she betrayed him. He truly had no one in his life at that time during his darkest time- losing his mother and his company all in a few weeks. I found myself reflecting on how the exact things that made Uber successful in beginning - disregard for status quo, desire to win, and enthusiasm at all costs - were ultimately the same things that led to its (more like Kalanick’s) downfall. 3 stars because it was somewhat repetitive of all the news articles over the years and very little character development. The writing doesn’t compare to a “Bad Blood” or “Disney War.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Rahija

    A poor man’s Bad Blood. Isaac seems to borrow a lot from John Carreyrou’s corporate thriller on Theranos, starting with an endorsement from Carreyrou on the back cover, and also including a chapter about two thirds the way through, where Isaac inserts himself into the story a la Carreyrou, as he recounts meeting a source in the first person. Both books show the dangerous results of the recent firesale on venture capital: companies run by megalomaniacs who blatantly disregard the rules. Isaac dia A poor man’s Bad Blood. Isaac seems to borrow a lot from John Carreyrou’s corporate thriller on Theranos, starting with an endorsement from Carreyrou on the back cover, and also including a chapter about two thirds the way through, where Isaac inserts himself into the story a la Carreyrou, as he recounts meeting a source in the first person. Both books show the dangerous results of the recent firesale on venture capital: companies run by megalomaniacs who blatantly disregard the rules. Isaac dials up the drama but somehow this one doesn’t land as hard, perhaps because the Uber’s spectacularly bad year in 2017 pales in comparison to Theranos, and perhaps because the story of Uber is still being written. Still, there was plenty to enjoy here for industry enthusiasts. It was fascinating to read about how Uber flipped the power dynamic relationship on VCs (making them feel desperate to invest in Uber), trying to obscure code in their app that violated Apple’s rules on harvesting user info (by making code invisible to people in Cupertino), and combat fraud in China. I left with mixed feelings for the founder, Travis - on the one hand, he condoned douchery, rulebreaking, and somehow convinced his employees and the world that they were underdogs fighting against local governments and taxi drivers (“Big Taxi”), despite having near infinite access to capital, talent, and industry relationships. On the other hand, he suffers personal tragedy at the moment his company is flying apart, and seemed to give his life completely away to achieve early retirement floating around on yachts...he leaves with a fractured soul like someone whose created too many horcruxes. I guess this book helped me build context for today’s tech boom. Some people make it through a combo of pluckiness and luck (eg Ryan Graves, the company’s first CEO, who got a job that made him a billionaire when he sent a tweet as a 26 year old). And some people succeed by being utterly, completely relentless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barak Gila

    This book invites comparisons to Bad Blood, another book about a Silicon Valley company that was unafraid to run afoul of the law in its pursuit of growth, and its determined, visionary, and ruthless founder, but there's a significant difference. Theranos was actually a fraudulent operation, and its CEO broke civil and criminal law to lie to various stakeholders to keep it going, and had no product or customers. By contrast, Uber's product was so successful and beloved by customers, at least ini This book invites comparisons to Bad Blood, another book about a Silicon Valley company that was unafraid to run afoul of the law in its pursuit of growth, and its determined, visionary, and ruthless founder, but there's a significant difference. Theranos was actually a fraudulent operation, and its CEO broke civil and criminal law to lie to various stakeholders to keep it going, and had no product or customers. By contrast, Uber's product was so successful and beloved by customers, at least initially, that it shielded the company from some criticism and helped the law and even urban fabric get changed to accommodate it. Accordingly, whereas Bad Blood is a serious book, and fills the reader with shock as the fraud builds and relief as it's uncovered, Super Pumped is a more casual, if still riveting, read. The reader feels schadenfreude learning about the blunders and hubris of Uber and Travis especially. Isaac narrates some scenes in such detail it feels a like a fictional narrative; other he took some poetic license or (more likely, as I respect him as a journalist), he had some really amazing sourcing. For a reader in the tech world, the overall arc of the Uber revelations may be familiar, and the broad explanations of venture capital funding and of working at a tech company may be redundant; for a broad audience, they're probably necessary. There were some fascinating details throughout. One favorite of mine is the meeting between Travis and Tim Cook, after Apple discovers Uber has been geofencing Apple's campus in its app so that App store reviewers can't tell Uber is breaking the rules. The strongest part of the book is its climax in the last quarter. Isaac (who'd already had the definitive account of Travis's ouster in the New York Times), elaborates upon it further here, detailing the drama at the boardroom level, and at Benchmark as well as the Uber executive level.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Madrigal

    I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Fascinating to absorb the details of a story that I thought I knew. I knew that the leadership was arrogant and entitled... but I didn't know how bad it got. The libertarian fantasy world Travis and his crew created could only be sustained in an Ayn Rand novel. At some point he would have to follow the laws that everyone else has to follow... and it turns out when he wasn't so great at being a leader under those circumstances. His greatest feat tur I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Fascinating to absorb the details of a story that I thought I knew. I knew that the leadership was arrogant and entitled... but I didn't know how bad it got. The libertarian fantasy world Travis and his crew created could only be sustained in an Ayn Rand novel. At some point he would have to follow the laws that everyone else has to follow... and it turns out when he wasn't so great at being a leader under those circumstances. His greatest feat turned out to be his ability to exploit his white privilege. I hope that the tech community reads this book and learns from Travis folly: if you're going to treat your fellow humans like garbage, it will eventually come back on you. Grateful to Mike for his book and for his twitter feed... one of the few bright lights on that site.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    I followed a lot of this story in day to day news articles and still felt like I learned quite a few new things from the book. The story of Uber was so tied to Travis Kalanick for many years, and the company really took on the personality of the CEO. It is a story going on across Silicon Valley right now. Companies grew so fast that many things like HR, corporate governance, internal audit and legal compliance were put on the back burner. Despite all of this Kalanick still had considerable inter I followed a lot of this story in day to day news articles and still felt like I learned quite a few new things from the book. The story of Uber was so tied to Travis Kalanick for many years, and the company really took on the personality of the CEO. It is a story going on across Silicon Valley right now. Companies grew so fast that many things like HR, corporate governance, internal audit and legal compliance were put on the back burner. Despite all of this Kalanick still had considerable internal support, with petitions coming out to defend him. I appreciated the somewhat balanced portrayal of who Kalanick actually was, compared to the public persona that he became known as. He may not have been all the things the media portrayed him as, but he definitely was a lot of them. And ultimately his careless, win at all costs mentality is what made his tenure unsustainable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaveh A

    Deserves better than a 4 but not quite a 5. Very entertaining read from start to finish. Thoroughly researched. Offers a peak inside Uber's culture and TK's head. The TK vs the Board controversies are especially interesting. Would have liked the author to zoom out more often to place the book's stories into a larger tech sector, business strategy, or societal context. Instead, felt a bit too often like a play by play without the color commentary. But regardless, I'd recommend this book to just a Deserves better than a 4 but not quite a 5. Very entertaining read from start to finish. Thoroughly researched. Offers a peak inside Uber's culture and TK's head. The TK vs the Board controversies are especially interesting. Would have liked the author to zoom out more often to place the book's stories into a larger tech sector, business strategy, or societal context. Instead, felt a bit too often like a play by play without the color commentary. But regardless, I'd recommend this book to just about anyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Iyad Al Aqel

    I was a little hesitant to read the book at the beginning since i knew a lot about Uber culture crisis but to my surprise i learned a lot. Not only the book narrated what happened eloquently, but also attributed Uber org problems to one root-cause, an unhealthy obsession with growth AT ANY COST. In particular, i loved the chapters about Chinese market, Uber fraud problem and the self-driving cars battle. Recommended read for anyone who's slightly interested in knowing more about Uber from the ea I was a little hesitant to read the book at the beginning since i knew a lot about Uber culture crisis but to my surprise i learned a lot. Not only the book narrated what happened eloquently, but also attributed Uber org problems to one root-cause, an unhealthy obsession with growth AT ANY COST. In particular, i loved the chapters about Chinese market, Uber fraud problem and the self-driving cars battle. Recommended read for anyone who's slightly interested in knowing more about Uber from the early days until now.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brady Salz

    Fascinating and disappointing look at what "tech culture" really is. Easily up there with 'Soul of a New Machine' for tech non fiction, but a little too light on the tech for me. Mike Isaac does a wonderful job interleaving so many twisted threads - it truly reads like a thriller instead of a corporate biography.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Simon MacDonald

    #DeleteUber is all I have to say.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hunt

    I liked this one! I worked in venture capital for years for a really small fund, so it was interesting to read about the big funds and how they operated. Sounds like it was a crazy place to work, with a founder that was out of control. I'm glad I use Lyft!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I learned the exact heights of everyone involved in the financing and building of Uber.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This is a fascinating story poorly told. Isaac is so excited to tell salacious stories that he completely skips over the building of the company. The timeline jumps all over the place which muddles the narrative to an extreme level. It would have been great if this book were written by a journalist instead of by someone with a weird axe to grind (at least it sure feels that way).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick Penzenstadler

    Very well reported from the inside out. Travis Kalanick is a crazy. And he’s now in the 3-comma club like Russ Hanneman. Fun look behind the curtain.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Ditty

    I was enthralled, awestruck and more than a little grossed out by this book. A great tale of Kalanick chock full of Silicon Valley corporate intrigue and backstabbing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Valentine

    This was really good! A lot of it I'd already read as it happened during Uber's Hell Year of 2017 - as the news broke in Recode and Susan Fowler's explosive blog post and by the Rat King himself in the NYT. So in that sense it read like a greatest hits of insane moments (not a bad thing to re-read by any means). And even then there were some bits I didn't know about, and Isaac has done the good hard reporting work. The jacket cover compares it to 'The Everything Store' and 'Bad Blood' This was really good! A lot of it I'd already read as it happened during Uber's Hell Year of 2017 - as the news broke in Recode and Susan Fowler's explosive blog post and by the Rat King himself in the NYT. So in that sense it read like a greatest hits of insane moments (not a bad thing to re-read by any means). And even then there were some bits I didn't know about, and Isaac has done the good hard reporting work. The jacket cover compares it to 'The Everything Store' and 'Bad Blood', and on that spectrum I'd say it's much better than 'Everything Store', but maybe not quite as jaw-dropping as 'Bad Blood'. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could.

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