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Disrupted: Ludicrous Misadventures in the Tech Start-up Bubble

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  15,516 ratings  ·  1,503 reviews

Dan Lyons was Technology Editor at Newsweek Magazine for years, a magazine writer at the top of his profession. One Friday morning he received a phone call: his job no longer existed. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was unemployed and facing financial oblivion. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not

Kindle Edition, 1 Edition
Published May 26th 2016 by Atlantic Books (first published April 5th 2016)
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Dennis Gibb I don't think he was a jerk. He was a satire writer who had an experience in a world that he didn't understand and couldn't. He took the opportunity t…moreI don't think he was a jerk. He was a satire writer who had an experience in a world that he didn't understand and couldn't. He took the opportunity to write about it and to satirize it. If you watch Silicon Valley you see the same level of satire.(less)
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Laura Bergells
Ugh. The cluelessness! The lack of awareness and growth on the part of the author was a hoot. And horrifying to read.

It's a fish out of water tale. A journalist in his 50's gets fired and needs new employment, fast. His wife is unemployed. He has two young children. He begrudgingly takes a job at a tech startup called Hubspot, hoping to stick it out for a year or so -- in the hopes of striking it rich in their upcoming IPO. It's all naked greed for him.

Although he has covered the tech beat for
Todd N
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the height of his Fake Steve Jobs fame, Dan Lyons gave a talk at Google’s Mountain View campus. I was unable to go due to travel or more likely some stupid meeting, but several friends went. One of them was excited to report that Mr. Lyons was just like me — even down to the acne scars all over our necks.

While I’m a fan of Mr. Lyons and I really enjoyed the book, I’m not sure how I feel about him taking the job at Hubspot in the first place. If you are taking a job with a purposely vague titl
Mark Jacobsen
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gets five stars for its sheer importance. It is a long-overdue takedown of the worst aspects of Silicon Valley culture, employing time-tested weapons for challenging hegemonic wisdom: sarcasm, ridicule, and satire. No sacred cow goes unslaughtered, and the result is one of the funniest books I have ever read. The book is not perfect. Lyons has an obvious axe to grind, his vulgarity is off-putting, and his mean-spirited takedowns of specific colleagues made me squirm. Nonetheless, this ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get it. I’m an old guy working in high tech, but I’ve always been here and in Canada we’re at a slight remove from the unicorn madness infecting some other tech centres. I can understand Dan’s snark and I’ve seen evidence of ruthless backstabbing, hi-tech mean-girling, hare-brained revelations from egotistical narcissists, Kool-aid slurping wage slaves, frat boy brogrammers and more - his just goes to eleven.

But calling out the bro-coders out for their frat boy antics then gleefully recountin
Kim Marques
May 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow ... I hated this book!!

First of all, let's get something out of the way: this book is not funny. It's, I dunno, petty. And a bit vindictive.

But what's the most disappointing is the author makes some good points: about how tech companies are de-valuing labor, about how the funding and IPO model is broken. But he wraps it in such self-aggrandizing, ageist bullshit that it's impossible to take seriously.

In the first 15 pages, he talks about how astounded he is that Hubspot has hired him for a
Apr 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author is so deeply unlikeable and the narrative so unreliable that it's hard to get any wisdom out of it, like trying to understand the ravings of a resentful teenager.

More to this point: He sounds like a nightmare to work with.

He calls people "bozos, graspers and self-promoters, shameless resume padders" for nothing more than setting up a personal website [working in tech], joining Toastmasters clubs to improve public speaking skills, and organizing kayaking outings.

He doesn't like how h
Philip Hollenback
This was a fun read that anyone in the tech industry can relate to.

One reason I knocked my rating down is the "aw, shucks" tone the author takes. He makes it sound like he found the job, worked there a few months, and then realized he would write a book about it. I call bullshit - he went in to the job knowing full well he was going to write about it. I mean, he was a tech writer for Newsweek beforehand so it's not exactly a stretch.

I also felt that the author really downplayed how much of an a-
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Dan Lyon’s LinkedIn post about his book two years back, and have been curious to read his book – especially since some people in Hubspot actually tried to obtain a copy and indulged in coercion to stop the book. I also read co-founder Dharmesh Shah’s mature response (on behalf of him as well as Brian Halligan), also on LinkedIn, though he does not address all the issues in Dan’s book.

Somehow, got to reading it only now. This is an especially interesting read on Tech Startups and does offe
May 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was torn between a 1 star and a 5 star review. The 5 stars because I can't remember the last time I read a book that made me so angry. I was initially really excited to read this - like the author I am a 50+ guy who jumped into the much younger world of start-ups. I was curious about his thoughts and experiences, both good and bad. Given his journalism background, I had really high expectations. I was completely let down. This book was really just a polemic about the evils of start-ups and the ...more
Charlie White
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book affected me at a profound level. I was the oldest employee at various startups for a decade, and Dan Lyons accurately described the absurdity and frustration I encountered at all of them. He crafted his story so well that I felt transported back to that special hell of a fifty-something writer toiling away for years in a frat-house sweatshop with a "team" of ill-prepared (yet oh-so-special) snowflakes.

If you find yourself considering employment at a similar company, and if you're "old"
Emily Lomaka
First up: HubSpot garners zero sympathy from this girl for being exposed in this fashion. I know these places exist because I worked for a "lite" version of them in a different industry. As a woman (and 38 years old at the time), I felt very out of place in a company that encouraged alcohol-infused fraternization with my coworkers both on and off the clock. Mind you I didn't feel out of place because I didn't drink (I love beer!), but because I wasn't partial to making myself vulnerable to peopl ...more
It is with some regret that I give this book 5 stars, because I have met some of the people in this book, and there is a lot here that is undoubtedly a hatchet job (more about that in a moment). But it's so damn entertaining, and bears so many truths about the world of Internet startups, that I have to acknowledge that this is a "must read."

Dan Lyons shows realistically and with great humor that some Internet startups have built a culture that engages in trivialities, is ageist, sexist, and not
Hannah Bloking
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you work in tech and ESPECIALLY if you work for a start up....this is a must read. Being one of the millennials that are constantly referenced throughout the book, I found it enlightening. I found myself bursting out laughing, but then almost crying....because his perception of what "motivates us" is tragically accurate. I can see why his analysis can be interpreted as insulting, but I find it to be more of a reality check. Biggest takeaway: Though it seems like common decency, be very nice t ...more
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An out-of-work, fifty-something journalist takes a job at HubSpot an actual start-up tech company in Boston. The result of this cultural mismatch is one hilariously funny book that also makes serious points about the latest stock market bubble in companies with dubious business plans, flim-flam 'management teams', rapacious venture capital backers, and fishy accounting.

Lyons strips away the trappings of free beer and ice cream, catchy slogans and can-do pep talks to show how companies like HubS
John Dito
Gimme a break, im 49 I work at a "unicorn" startup and this is not accurate for my company or any I know. The author chose a super douchy business segment (marketing) to begin with and got sold a bill of goods by guys who specialize in that. His resentment and characterizations of the "culture' show no empathy at all for people who he points out are new to the working world. He was looking for an IPO like everyone with half a brain is and had blinders on going in.

He is obviously bitter over not
Marco Pavan
Feb 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap, not-to-read
This book is extremely disappointing. I have rarely come across such level of wasteful literature in my life. It's a complete rant of a middle-age unhappy fella who took a job without having a clue what it was about and blaming his inability to understand the environment he was in, on others, instead of himself. I had to give it one star because there was no lower options, but it felt unfair to other one-star books I have seen ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephen by: Virginia Heffernan
This book is an amazing piece of investigative journalism. It took a lot of guts to write. The legal hurdles are enormous, for one, enough to destroy anyone who hasn’t covered his or her bases. And Lyons’s method of truth-telling will make him feared by other companies, enough that it’s doubtful he’ll ever get hired again.

It is obvious from the beginning that the twenty-somethings working at start-up HubSpot do not like Lyons on sight, a “privileged” white man in his early 50s. The need to conf
Dan Lyons had been laid off from his job as a technology editor at Newsweek. In his hunt for a new job he was hired by a Boston start-up company called HubSpot. On his first day of work Lyons realizes he is out of place. He is a 52-year-old, married with children and drives a Subaru outback. His fellow employees are very young, single, wear orange colored clothes (the company color) and sit on beanbags. Lyons states it was like a Montessori frat house. Lyons was hired as a marketing fellow and a ...more
Kaitlyn Concilio
Dan Lyons is a Journalist. I can't emphasize that last word enough. Nor, it seems, can Dan Lyons.

Lyons, a former Time writer and internet content raconteur, found himself in his early 50s without a decent job. After decades of covering the latest 20-something billionaires, he (sensibly) decided he wanted to jump into a startup to try to make his own big hit. Disrupted is his tale of woe, bemoaning the millennials and their shoddy union sensibilities and their loud music (no, seriously).

I don't w
Huyen Chip
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great storytelling, great insights. Dan Lyons managed to expose many things that are wrong with Silicon Valley in a relatively short book. However, I wouldn't call this book an "entertaining read".
There are many cringe-worthy moments in the book. But it could just be that I'm too close to Silicon Valley for comfort.
Cynthia Shannon
This book was a delightful read and I recommend it to anyone who has ever worked, or known someone who has worked, at a start-up.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a) over 45
b) have ever worked for a startup tech or media company
you HAVE to read this book. Its incredibly funny, astonishingly infuriating and an amazingly accurate look at career trajectories for olds in the 21st century. It also provides a very clear description of how VCs and a handful of company executives pillage the funding system for startups to line their own pockets, while convincing young people to work for low salaries and zero job security.

Equally as good: The NYT
Ignacio Elola
Mar 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find a single thing funny, I find all of it sad.
The book is not a funny critique exposing the worst part of tech startups; it is a mean revenge to a former employer, full of bile against the company and against the people working there.

Where to start?

I'm pretty angry about this book, with the book, and yeah, also with the author. I see the book as a huge missed opportunity to talk about all the issue in the start-up world: ageism, sexism, diversity, culture, the bubble... Yes, I kn
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
my god, this guy is annoying. i mean, i wasn't expecting to LOVE this book, it was more of a know-thy-enemy move (i live in the SF bay area) and i was curious. but oh. my. god. while the company does sound incredibly frustrating and poorly run and full of nincompoops, it's far worse to hear this guy whine about how he's not free to make creepy comments about his 19-year-old german au pair in public spaces, lest somebody get offended! wahh! hey, did you know this guy used to work at NEWSWEEK?!?! ...more
Angela Natividad
There's a lot to be said for what you gain in experience, but I worry a lot about how my age will, over time, affect my hiring attractiveness as my career progresses. Dan Lyons does little to dispel this fear and in fact confirms it: In Silicon Valley specifically, ageism isn't so much a practice as it is a value, and the social contract that once existed between companies and their employees no longer exists. What's more, a great startup is now valued more for how hype-worthy it is than for its ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A world full of douchebags, brainwashed dummies, bullshit artists, and "fake, fake, fake!!!" enthusiasm is the HubSpot that Lyons describes in Disrupted. The characters are memorable, and real, and sad in many ways, but also entertaining because Lyons, you get the feeling, has a cynical sense of humour about life and its cohabitants.

Outside of the hilarious depiction of the cultish world at HubSpot, this book is important because it outlines some of the major issues in Silicon Valley.

- Overinv
Abby Goldsmith
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
How many of us wish for the freedom to write a ranty exposé about our workplace? Most people wouldn't dare, for fear of getting blacklisted and destroying their careers, or for fear of getting sued (or harassed) by billionaire CEOs. Lyons went ahead and did it. He was financially unsettled enough to endure a job he hated, yet he also had enough in the way of connections and outside goodwill to find escape routes when he needed them, and lawyers when he needed them.

4.5 stars. This is great satir
Charlie Evett
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wonder if a book can burst an investment bubble all on its own.

Terrific romp through the tech start-up culture. Perhaps a bit self-serving and mean-spirited at times, but generally right on target. Dan Lyons goes from the snarky world of baby boomer journalism into the land of earnest millennial techies. It did not go well.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
- definitely reads like a smear piece
- the company he worked for seems like a really sketchy place. If management was as described, yikes.
- that said, many times the author came across as ornery
- he makes great points about the feasibility of a lot of start-ups - how it's not given proper consideration
- what really is adding value? some cases are obviously adding or taking away value, but some are much more mixed
- brings up very valid concerns about ageism in the tech "culture"
- also diversity
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently the world of tech is just as insipid, hypocritical, ageist, sexist, racist, power-mad, and greedy as its fiercest critics claim. Who would've guessed? Lyons is pretty funny about how awful HubSpot is, but midway through the book his complaints become irksomely repetitive, and by the last few chapters I felt like I was reading a novelized Dilbert cartoon. One wishes that instead of huffily rehashing HubSpot's nasty office politics Lyons had tied his experiences in with a larger critiqu ...more
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