Book Review: Dan Lyons’ Disrupted

I read Dan Lyons’ Disrupted sometime in 2016, and I’ve been meaning to do a book review about it. Here’s a good thread about it on HN.

If I had to summarize my thoughts about it in a nutshell:

Most people focus on the superficial parts of the book – how silly young people are, how there’s a sort of frat culture in startups, a weird cheery optimism and things like that. I actually think that’s effectively a non-issue – every group of youngsters is going to look silly to their predecessors.

There were two things that I found myself struck by. And I was surprised at how little people focused on them.

The first is that Dan Lyons had a really shitty manager. (Trotsky?) The guy was practically abusive, and there’s no way that didn’t have a dramatic effect on Dan’s perspective when writing the rest of the book. People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.

The second is the relationship between labor and capital, which seems to be perennial. The people at the top make a lot of money, have a big cashout / payday when the company IPOs. But the little guys on the ground are hideously overworked and underpaid, with crazy targets. I saw another comment about this recently somewhere – somebody on reddit talked about how their company was like a cult, where everyone was expected to pitch in more and more. I saw a tweet recently where a person’s hiring process was interrupted because she had the gall to ask about compensation.

Quora questions about the topic:

Reddit about the topic:

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