The Upstarts book review

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Brad Stone's The Upstarts book cover

The Upstarts tells the story of AirBnB and Uber – two companies that shook the foundation of the hotel and taxi industries and became billion dollar businesses in the process

For a flavour of how fast the world is changing, turn to Brad Stone’s The Upstarts. It begins with Obama’s inauguration, reminding us that as he was sworn in, the iPhone 3G was not even seven months old. Stone isn’t interested in the ceremony, but in two young entrepreneurs, Brian Chesky of AirBnB and Travis Kalanick of Uber, who, emboldened by the new technology, went to DC to pitch and network. Though very different – Chesky co-founded his company to help pay the rent, Kalanick so he could travel in limos he couldn’t afford to buy – both quickly reached billion-dollar valuations but ran into resistance as their ‘sharing economy’ model threatened hotels and taxi drivers, while falling foul of city regulations. Both talked to Stone (Kalanick reluctantly) but he tells their stories with the candour you’d expect of a writer whose last book – award-winning Amazon history The Everything Store – bagged a one-star review from its subject’s wife.  

What the publishers say

New York Times bestselling author of The Everything Store Brad Stone takes us deep inside the new Silicon Valley.

Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger’s car, or walking into a stranger’s home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous, but today it’s as common as ordering a book online. Uber and Airbnb are household names: redefining neighbourhoods, challenging the way governments regulate business and changing the way we travel.

In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, a new generation of entrepreneurs is sparking yet another cultural upheaval through technology. They are among the Upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Young, hungry and brilliant, they are rewriting the traditional rules of business, changing our day-to-day lives and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process.

The Upstarts is the definitive account of a dawning age of tenacity, creativity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone’s highly anticipated and riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we find out how it all started, and how the world is wildly different than it was ten years ago.

penguin.co.uk

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About author

Steve Yates

Steve Yates

Steve Yates is a freelance writer and sub-editor for Director

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