BOOKS

DISRUPTED: MY MISADVENTURE IN THE START-UP BUBBLE

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For 25 years Dan Lyons was a leading tech journalist. But all that ended one Friday morning when his Newsweek boss called and told him that his job no longer existed. Fifty years old with two young kids, Lyons found himself in a tough spot. Then an idea hit. For years he’d seen people strike gold by working for tech startups. Now it could be his turn to cash in. HubSpot, a software developer in Cambridge, Mass., flush with $100 million in venture funding, offered him a nice salary and a pile of stock options to work in its marketing department. What could possibly go wrong?

Pretty much everything, as it turned out. His new employer made the world a better place … by selling software used to create email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound. Shower pods became hook-up dens; Nerf gun fights broke out at lunch; one of the co-founders brought a teddy bear to meetings; absent bosses specialized in cryptic, jargon-laden email; people were fired suddenly, and their departures were described as “graduations.” In the middle of this sat Lyons, twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, imagining himself to be an anthropologist studying a strange new culture, feeling repulsed by this world and yet, at the same time, fascinated by it.

With portraits of devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and wantrapreneurs, bloggers and brogrammers, DISRUPTED is a hilarious story of self-reinvention, as well as a sharp critique of life in the tech bubble, exposing what Lyons calls “the dark side of Silicon Valley.”


OPTIONS: THE SECRET LIFE OF STEVE JOBS

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“Unfettered by facts, Lyons inspires our prurient, page-turning fascination with a thoroughly unlikable narrator whose antics are at once unbelievable and vaguely plausible. The real Steve Jobs is a complicated, volatile narcissist, and so is his fictional doppelgänger. Fake Steve tells us he started Apple `in my garage, by myself, or actually with this other guy but he’s out of the picture now, so who cares.” — New York Times

“In the establishment-skewering tradition of Voltaire, Cervantes, Jonathan Swift and Laurence Sterne we now have a voice for our own digital age.” — Newsweek

“Just as Tom Wolfe skewered Wall Street in the ‘80s, Fake Steve Jobs lights a mini-bonfire in Silicon Valley with Options.” — Entertainment Weekly


THE LAST GOOD MAN

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“Like Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio, Lyons’s debut collection of 11 stories — winner of the Associated Writing Programs 1992 Award in Short Fiction — lifts the rock off a seemingly sleepy town to cast light on the quietly desperate secret lives of its inhabitants. Lawton Falls, Massachusetts is a dying mill city whose ethnically mixed population includes politicians, priests, blue-collar workers, mixed-up teens, and the newspaperman of the title tale who, at the end of an undistinguished career, wrestles with the morality of making `a great deal of money in an illicit fashion.’ Lyons, a remarkably gifted writer, renders these slices of life with compassion and a keen eye for telling detail. Highly recommended.”  — Library Journal


DOG DAYS

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“With its trendy software-industry backdrop (featuring obligatory scenes of computer geeks slaving over hot terminals, fueled by enormous amounts of caffeine and forsaking personal hygiene in the name of productivity), the novel at first seems as if it may click over onto a track already covered by Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs or any number of Hollywood scripts involving the Internet and technically impossible plots. But when it leaves this insular environment for the outside world’s realities of bad neighbors, bad relationships and bad decisions, Dog Days heads in a different direction from the rest of the pack.” –New York Times Book Review