Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley

In 2015, Corey Pein, a journalist with a tech background, flew to California to experience firsthand the "gleaming consumer paradise of boom-time San Francisco." There he would work his way into the intense world of the tech industry by attempting to sell his idea for an ambiguously legal app for smart phones. The "quasimythical tech industry elite" all but laughed him out of the city (and sometimes they did, in fact, laugh--loudly and openly). But the joke is on them, because Pein has captured the whole ordeal in wry and scrupulous prose in Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley.

It opens with Pein already skeptical of what he might find in San Francisco. He knew, for example, that rents would be high. But even he was surprised at the city's punishing cost of living: an outdoor tent he rents through Airbnb turns out to be his most pleasant sleeping arrangement.

By the book's end, he reveals Silicon Valley to be far more dangerous than what the average Luddite might expect. A popular economic vision to emerge from the place, says Pein, is that of a "technofeudalist" state. He also draws a direct line from the "nerdy sociopathic" tech dudes with fascist ideas to the rise of white nationalism across the United States. By turns very funny and deeply unsettling, Pein's Live Work Work Work Die is a scathing takedown of the tech industry that anyone with an Internet connection would do well to read. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor

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