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Iterating Grace: Heartfelt Wisdom and Disruptive Truths from Silicon Valley's Top Venture Capitalists

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  52 reviews
What is this tiny book? Who is this Koons Crooks?

With its privately-printed, anonymously-produced 140-copy first printing, Iterating Grace became the talk of summer 2015 in the tech world. From Buzzfeed to Tumblr to Fusion, people were puzzled and enthralled by the story of Koons Crooks, a young man who took the Twittered musings of the Silicon Valley elite to heart-and en
Paperback, 32 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by FSG Originals (first published June 2015)
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Dec 11, 2015 added it
Huh? Maybe I'm just dumb, but I don't get the joke or the point. Books shouldn't need a slew of back story and context to 'get'.
Dec 06, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read it yet, but from Wired:

The Strange Path of Iterating Grace, Silicon Valley’s Most Vicious Satire

IN LATE JUNE, 140 prominent figures in tech media discovered a small package in the mail. That number was no accident: Inside was a slim chapbook recounting the autobiographical tale of Koons Crooks, a programmer whose religious devotion to the tweets of the Silicon Valley elite leads him to a tragic demise.

The book was an absurd, scathing sature of tech culture, and the people who rece
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The story of the publication of this slim volume is what first got me interested in the book. Read up on how this little guy ended up making a big splash in the technology industry as well as the publishing industry before you dive in. It will give you some context for this bizarre story. It takes a few minutes to read and I found myself intrigued by this character - Koons Crooks - and wanting more. If nothing else, you'll be in-the-know regarding a relatively obscure moment in literary history. ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Utterly surreal and delightful satirical – not to mention a beautiful object (although what does one expect from those fine folks at FSG Originals). Who was Koons Crooks? We will never know, even as we read his story. Tweets and ephemera cannot paint us the entire picture of any person – the real is far more unknowable. And perhaps that is his greatest legacy: a cautionary tale.

More at RB:
Joshua Gans
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well that was easy

Apparently you can get a blog post the cites a few tweets published so long as you do it as if it were the 18th century. Bravo who ever you are. My $4.99 salutes you.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems like the authors made a list of every single Silicon Valley cliche, from neoprene clothing to Blue Bottle to the obligatory trip to South America to find meaning in life, and found a way to send it up with deadpan flair. Plus, only 18 pages. No excuse not to read.
Jimmy Liu
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You would need a double to store how far this book took a joke.
Micah Joel
This is impressively hyped, ridiculously overpriced for what you get, and ultimately pointless. Which I guess is the point.
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguingly creative.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
someone wanted attention.
John Pabon
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review #38 of my 52 week book challenge: Iterating Grace. ⁣

Until the 1800s, it was commonplace for an author's work to remain anonymous. This might seem like sacrilede in today's society, where we share our deepest and darkest secrets openly. Perhaps that's why the anonymous authors of Iterating Grace did what they did. ⁣

The entire book, a 2015 Silicon Valley sensation, is a scathing satire of an industry gone haywire. Told through the eyes of a washed-out IT worker who holds tweets as gospel,
Brady Salz
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short, cute, and more on point than a ballerina on a pin head.
Koons Crooks is a fanatical devotee of the anodyne advice doled out on Twitter by Silicon Valley venture capitalists; he retreats from society to spend his days transcribing banally 'inspirational' aphorisms in calligraphic lettering (because he heard Steve Jobs was into that). Later, rumours of Crooks' strange behaviour and bizarre demise are passed around San Francisco and make their way to an anonymous editor, who pieces together the tale. In a half-hearted stab at pretending it's a true stor ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: startups
While I second the comments others have made ("not my world", "obviously a marketing ploy", among others), I believe that this work makes fun of itself in such a way that makes it truly important to the history of the technology world. It mocks the longevity of our technology (or lack thereof), it mocks the personalities that have created it, and it touches on what is (perhaps) most important:

That startups are a kind of spiritual exercise.

While we might debate if this is a good spiritual exerci
Jared Levine
Feb 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
I don’t need media about Silicon Valley.
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
"Beyond food and camping gear, Crooks had very few personal items with him in the yurt: one change of clothes, a solar-powered laptop and satellite wi-fi hotspot that he seems to have built himself, an iPod shuffle with exactly one song (“Even Flow”), a photograph of Vannevar Bush and a small, utterly inexplicable selection of hardback books: four volumes about deep-sea exploration (including one by a former roommate, James Nestor) and a copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables."

You can read the whole th
Logan Howard
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I follow a number of venture capitalists for their tweets / thoughts, one of whom (Paul Graham) is featured in this novel (pamphlet?).

It's true that VCs have become modern-day philosophers, to some extent. I've learned a lot from reading some of the essays they write. Iterating Grace is a parody, yet I embrace the culture it pokes fun at. There are a bunch of obscure, inside jokes about Silicon Valley and its culture. While not a masterpiece, it definitely makes me smile.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I trust most of the $4.99 I spent on the electronic version of this are going to charity water or some similar hot Bay Area charity. Three, maybe two stars for really being an overgrown medium post, I throughly enjoyed this Silicon Valley version of Into the Wild in under 20 pages. That said, I live in Palo Alto and have met several of the VCs whose tweets play a part in the story. If you are outside the tech bubble, don't waste your time.
Chad Kohalyk
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny little tongue-in-cheek short story about the absurdities of Silicon Valley culture. More for insiders than outsiders, I think, but certainly entertaining. Wish there was more.

If you are looking for a longer (fictional) sendup, I recommend Dave Eggers's The Circle.
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You can think of this book as a meta-meta commentary. It nails all the startup culture stereotypes while staying seemingly above it all, but when you look at it as a whole, you realise it is as hollow as the tweets/koans in it. Or is it meta-meta-meta? Is there something like infinite meta? Can such an omega-meta object exist? Isn't it meaningless after all?

Verdict: Iteratively disgraced.
Charles Pergiel
Oct 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A very stupid book. It includes a bunch of (images of) idiotic, handwritten quotes, purported to come from people who are all either venture capitalists or they live in that world. Most of them I had never heard of, so I looked them up and recorded what I found on my blog. You can see my notes here. ...more
Vuk Trifkovic
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short, sweet and very good. "working steadily as a programmer at a string of forgotten startups in the late nineties: Naka, InfoSmudge, BITKIT, Popcairn." Is a wonderful line.

If anything, shame it is too brief.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange little book.

Don't read it unless you've heard the story behind it, and even if you've heard the back story, maybe don't read it. It's interesting, it's just an odd book. I don't even know where to categorize it on my bookshelf.
The Backlist Book
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, that went very quickly. If you do one thing today, go buy or sign out this pamphlet. Iterating grace shows us that we take ourselves far too seriously by telling the story of a man who was thrilled to be eaten by llamas.

Have I got your attention yet?
Matthew Harris
Mildly amusing, if a bit opaque.

I much prefer this criticism of Silicon Valley: which is less abstract, painfully honest and similarly well written.
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky and dead on for all us startup-ers. It was short and pretty weird, but I enjoyed it. Didn't take long to read.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weeeeeird, specially if you know the mythology around the book.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2015
Odd tech-world satire with more than a little absurdism in its DNA.
Mitch Allen
Completely precious and dull.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky, dry, take-no-prisoners satire. It reads like one big Silicon Valley in joke, but there are sufficient morsels for outsiders to grasp and enjoy.
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