‘Under the latest iteration of the American Dream, if you aren’t a billionaire yet, you haven’t tried hard enough.’
At the height of the startup boom, journalist Corey Pein sets out for Silicon Valley to make his millions. Plunging headfirst into entrepreneur culture, he joins the thousands of other — mostly white, male — nerds all hoping to become the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.
But as he moves from overpriced flat to overpriced tent, lines up at tech conferences where white supremacists spout hatred disguised as innovation, and watches desperate would-be entrepreneurs pay to pitch their ideas to billionaire investors, Pein discovers that the positive, feel-good self-image that the tech tycoons have crafted is a lie.
Live Work Work Work Die is a scathing exploration of Silicon Valley tech culture, depicted from the inside. It vividly deconstructs the ultra-libertarian agendas of high-tech leaders and their urgers and acolytes, revealing their insidious visions for our future.
‘All praise to Corey Pein for jumping headfirst into the cesspool of Silicon Valley and returning without having lost his mind or sold his soul. His reports from the front lines of the startup frenzy are hilarious and terrifying. While all eyes are glued on President Trump, a shortsighted and reactionary techno-oligarchy aims to amass a fortune at the cost of the common good. There’s no app that can save us. But this book can at least wake us up to the dystopian future under construction.’
Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
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‘Pein’s absurdly funny journey is a Through-the-Looking-Glass tale for the dying days of tech utopianism. Built on the creative vanity of this new class of talentless speculator and designed entirely without human need in mind, this world of nonsense quickly turns dystopian when seen from the perspective of a worker and renter trying to make his way through it.’
Angela Nagle, author of Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right
‘You sleep in a pantry because you can’t afford a real apartment. You exploit yourself, destroy your health, and ruin the lives of millions when you finally succeed. You think of crime as a great business model. You embrace some of the worst politics ever devised. And you call it progress. Silicon Valley, the capitalist miracle. That is the American nightmare as Corey Pein brilliantly describes it, and it is not a work of the imagination. This is really happening, and soon it will be happening to you.’
Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal and What’s the Matter with Kansas?
‘Both entertaining and damning, Pein’s book unmasks the shell game being run by venture capitalists in an industry that is not nearly as benign as it claims to be.’
‘Deeply unsettling … A clearheaded reckoning with the consequences of the tech industry’s disruptions and the ideology that undergirds it.’
‘Like Jon Ronson, Pein combines serious journalism with humour and his own antics for an entertaining and caustic mix. If Silicon Valley and Black Mirror had a book baby, it would be Live Work Work Work Die.’
The Silicon Valley that Pein uncovers is not unlike dystopian visions we are accustomed to seeing in science fiction.
The New Republic
‘Impressive . . . Reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels in both style and conceit, Live Work Work Work Die is a combination of New Journalism and muckraking told with an anthropological eye. . . . Alternately amusing and horrifying.’
‘Fluent … entertaining … funny.’
Justin Tyler Clark, The Los Angeles Review of Books
‘Despite and perhaps a little because of its lackadaisical approach to its subject, Live Work Work Work Die manages to capture something essential about Silicon Valley that has eluded other authors.’
Nikil Saval, The New York Times
‘Pein's vivid account makes for fascinating reading about Silicon Valley and the tech industry and the often heartbreaking experiences of would-be entrepreneurs/techies struggling to achieve success.’
Lucy Heckman, Library Journal
‘American investigative reporter Corey Pein is the latest to join the so-called “tech-lash”, the global pushback against the supremacy of tech … Pein identifies a growing “tech fascist” movement that embraces dubious philosophies and “neo-reactionary” ideas such as eugenics and the abolition of universities and government.’
Megan Lehmann, The Australian