Friday, May 27, 2016

A Beacon of Hope for Lesser People

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up BubbleDisrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Looking for a scary read this Memorial Day weekend? Try “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble” by Dan Lyons.

His memoir is far scarier than anything I’ve read recently by Stephen King – and it’s also funnier (thinking back to the author’s description of how a newsroom might react to Molly the teddy bear) than most anything I’ve read or seen recently, except for HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”

Wait. Lyons is a writer for “Silicon Valley,” and he was also one of my cultural folk heroes from the mid-1990s when he blogged as Fake Steve Jobs. So the “funny” part is understandable.

But why is this book scary?

Because good satire is always scary – and this is a tale of ageism, greed, abuse of power and double-talk. Because it raises important questions, yet again, about the stability and underpinnings of U.S. financial markets. And, finally, because there’s a scene with the author’s young son that chillingly portrays the impact of job loss on family life.

But what of all those young HubSpot workers – the real people (innocent bystanders?) seemingly caught in the middle of this tale?

I feel for them all. And I’m scared for them too.

In the end, Lyons is a solitary figure, fighting against time and seemingly always misunderstood. He winds up paranoid for his family’s safety and worried about his children’s future.

But the very fact that he’s fighting his battles with wit and insight gives me hope.

To steal a favorite closing line from “Mistress America,” a recent Greta Gerwig/Noah Baumbach movie: “Being a beacon of hope for lesser people is a lonely business.”

Namaste.


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