Lab Rats by Dan Lyons

Lab Rats

At a time of soaring corporate profits and plenty of HR lip service about "wellness," millions of workers--in virtually every industry--are deeply unhappy. Why did work become so miserable? Who is responsible? And does any company have a model for doing it right?For two years, Lyons ventured in search of answers. From the innovation-crazed headquarters of the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, to a cult-like "Holocracy" workshop in San Francisco, and...

Details Lab Rats

TitleLab Rats
Release DateOct 23rd, 2018
PublisherHachette Books
GenreNonfiction, Business, Science, Technology

Reviews Lab Rats

  • Sharon
    This is a more important business book than most people realize. In its pages, Dan Lyons take apart the conventional wisdom of Milton Friedman's "burn out and churn out" style of shareholder-based business and shows why the model is completely non-sustainable.If you've wondered why you're feeling less valued at work, it's because you are. When human beings are treated like copy paper (human "resources"), it's easy to pretend we don't matter. Yet,...
  • Rob Enderle
    Boy if there was ever a book every kid planning a career in tech should read this is it, and for a lot of folks in tech, this book suggests you are all idiots for putting up with the amount of abuse a bunch of rich dot-com losers are handing out. This book will piss you off because it is well researched, points out that way too many tech leaders are flim-flam artists and way too many of us are the suckers. The result isn't trivial either depressi...
  • David
    What use is outrage?Outrage is motivating. It can be unifying. It can even be inspiring. With a little discipline, it can power you enough to produce a first draft of a book. After the first draft, the outrage must be controlled, limited, and shaped if you wish to address anyone other than people you agree with already, or motivate people to participate in a constructive response.This book has an outrage issues.It disappointed me because the thin...
  • Marks54
    The author is a writer and business journalist. He wrote a book - Disrupted - two years ago which chronicled his time spent with an Internet startup he joined after being laid off at Newsweek. I enjoyed the book and thought it an insightful and humorous memoir of changes in the workplace in light of the spread of the Internet economy. There are, of course, lots of these books around but Lyons provided a look at a much hyped development as someone...
  • Bob Varettoni
    To be sure (a phrase that introduces many paragraphs in this book), I never expected Dan Lyons’ latest to be as good as “Disrupted” — which was based on first-person stories, and devastating humor and satire. This book is more of a research project, with hyperbolic claims made about the impact of certain blog posts, published opinion pieces and Powerpoint presentations. I think the truth is more gray, considering, for example, how even ...
  • Hải
    Kinda depressing. You already knew it happened out there in the real technology and startup world, but still, reading about it was uneasy.About the book, I would rate it somewhere between 3 and 4. I was hesitant for a while but then put 4 for it. My problem with it, and the way author Dan Lyons expressed his ideas was there was so much negative energy. Looked like the author exaggerated lots of things and was angry with everything. Not only in th...
  • Daniel
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Lyons. He used to work for Newsweek but tried to work for a tech company when he was retrenched. There was so much positive feedback from people for his first book Disrupted that he realised his experience is not unique. Why are we lab rats of Silicon Valley? Lyons laid out the villains:1. Frederick Taylor, who proposed scientific management. So he timed every action in the pig iron factory. Unfortunately the sto...
  • Meagan Houle
    I was not a fan of "Disrupted," but "Lab Rats" really impressed me. Lyons uses concise, accessible language to describe complex concepts without straying into oversimplification territory. I particularly liked his four-point summary in the introduction; it frames the rest of the book beautifully, and helps the reader keep all the details straight. The way he observes that Silicon Valley is more interested in what works for machines than in what w...
  • Greg
    Dan Lyons is one of the more unlikely critics of Silicon Valley culture despite being a long time satirist, making his splash with his Fake Steve Jobs (FSJ) blog (and mediocre novelization). His irreverent portrayal of a smack-talking, faux new-age Steve, seems a bit short in retrospect. It was clever, candid and most of all funny, but never eclipsed the caricature of the on-the-spectrum, eccentric, once-hippie tech billionaire. In the end, in th...
  • Ernst Hafen
    Excellent and entertaining read with a workers' perspective on the problems with shareholder value driven capitalism that shows its excesses most strongly in hip Silicon Valley companies. The description of the working culture at Amazon and Netflix (we are a team not a family) makes one think twice to order from these companies. Sad to see how big companies like Ford, GE and IBM bend over backwards to emulate the Silicon Valley culture. Dan Lyon ...
  • Glenn
    Working as a software engineer for 30+ years, I can relate to some of the new management concepts covered in this book. I agree with the author that many are fads that companies follow that really don't have any lasting benefit to their organizations, and that continual change for the sake of change results in unhappy employees which in turn hurts organizations.I have long thought that for public companies that have three tiers of constituents to...
  • Kakali
    Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of UsInteresting for all who are in tech. Dan Lyons goes into a lot of depth discussing some of the concepts that are ruling the tech world today such as scaled Agile, minimum viable product, open offices, a futuristic workforce ruled by AI and Robotics. It is a somewhat disturbing look into the inner workings of the startup culture and some of the big tech oligarchs.
  • José Iván García Rosales
    Insightful and up-to-dateThis is a captivating read with a lot of insights that portray reality at the time of writing in an accurate, globally relatable way. The topic itself is a bit of a downer, but the author does a good job of revealing the silver linings.
  • Travis
    Pretty much...
  • Kent Winward
    I read three books in succession and each did well for what their authors set out as their goals. Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane is the Utopian version of where technology is taking us. Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us provides the Dystopian view. While Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence contains the more nuanced approach. The wonder of technology is that a...
  • Venky
    We are living in times, where under the ruse of change, perpetual upheavals are rocking the inner functioning of the Corporate World. In a bid to keep up with the expectations of shareholders and earnings forecasts of analysts tracking every metric of the company, corporations are constantly looking to ‘reinvent’, ‘repurpose’ and ‘re-engineer’ themselves. This insane endeavor in turn has spawned a new cottage industry where Management...
  • Ro Laberee
    In this book, Lyons introduces us to the tech guru’s world. Wow. It sounds practically pornographic in its exploitation of its workforce and its astounding, short-sighted greed. The stories of employee humiliation, degradation, and abuse are intended to shock the reader. They do.According to Mr. Lyons, tech bosses have recast the workforce, placing clever but morally incomplete children at the helm. What do you have at the end of the day? A pla...
  • Nestor Rychtyckyj
    Dan Lyons gives us both an entertaining and very sobering look at the current state of the American worker in his very aptly-named “Lab Rats”. The subtitle “How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us’ summarizes perfectly what the next 233 pages will show us. In fact, the subtitle should be amended to say that work is even more miserable for employees of Silicon Valley companies as any person that is working for Uber, Tesla...
  • Rajiv Bais
    So capitalism does harm under social security applying and the physically and internally ugly Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman's (another ugly person) philosophy of not treating workers well? Not shocked.Silicon Valley's venture capitalists (what the fuck is the point of having them?) and tech (tech techy tech tech techy tech tech techy tech tech techy tech tech tech tech ta) is classist, racist, homophobic, and sexist based on Peter Thiel ironically...
  • Mbogo J
    If you have ever worked in an office setting, you might have come across some management practices and activities you deemed suspect at best and at worst a modern reincarnation of snake oil salesmen, but you never said anything. You were raised to be civil and the thoughts are buried in the deepest recesses of your brain. Ever wondered if those thoughts could be turned into a book?...This is that book.Dan Lyons is a journalist who worked at Newsw...
  • Vaughan
    Silicon valley has bred a toxic culture where corporate greed and "bro culture" have supplanted norms and decency. So why are otherwise good companies using them as role models? Why are we taking management advice from people who have had product ideas, or funded successful companies, but not actually been the ones managing the companies through their growth phases?Taken to extremes I can see how easily some workplaces can abuse these ideas and e...
  • David Churbuck
    From my blog at’m finishing Lab Rats by Dan Lyons and feeling thoroughly depressed but laughing about it. The feeling is like a go-to-bed-pull-the-shades-suck-my-thumb level of depressed while watching the Three Stooges. I was laughing before I finished the foreword.Lab Rats follows Lyons’ 2017 best-selling Disrupted, and as a bit of a sequel, it takes a horrifying look at the peculiar culture of cont...
  • Popup-ch
    Why has the workplace become a cross between a kindergarten and a Scientology assessment centreWhy does work involve such infantilisation?Daniel Lyons has a way with words, and writes entertainingly about the modern workplace, but that does not hide the fact that a large part of the book is just him ranting and complaining about how unfair everything is. Sure - a lot of research has gone into the writing of this book, but it's pretty clear that h...
  • Ron
    What is it like working for a VC funded startup or a large tech company? Well, with some perks, it may not be so great. Long hours and lousy health insurance. Lab Rats is about the human experiment on working people to the point of breaking and then replacing them. They can be fired for any reason, even if the boss is just having a bad day. Companies (big and small) jump from one new management system to another which requires training and more t...
  • Ann
    Dan Lyons had cracked me up with his book "Busted" and this follow-up didn't disappoint. Whereas "Busted" was a personal memoir of his own experiences in a marketing start-up, this book is more of a survey of the various management techniques that are currently in vogue. It's easy to laugh at some of the sillier philosophies described in the book, but underneath, there is the very serious question of how corporate culture has become so cut-throat...
  • Iurii
    "In order to impress an employee, first you need to impress the machine" That what I can call scary truth of current industry that is hiding behind very fancy office environments. You can have yoga rooms in the office, art rooms, whatever, but it doesn't mean that you are safe at work. Without even noticing this you can possibly under tiny stress every day, I really loved this quote:But to test an antidepressant you need a depressed test subject....
  • Cropredy
    First of all, Dan Lyons' last book - Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble - was one of the funniest books I've ever read and very timely for anyone who works in the tech sector these days. I gave it 5 stars.So, for the holidays, my wife bought me his next (and latest) book. From an entertaining read perspective - what a disappointment. Lyons makes the case that Silicon Valley has introduced styles of management that make employees in...
  • Ben Jakuben
    There was a point in the middle section of this book where I was feeling pretty depressed thinking about the four problems the author describes for modern employees: low pay, job insecurity, the stress of constant change, and dehumanization. Those are undeniably true for a lot of people in a lot of companies, and I hear and feel shades of those at different times. While these types of work environments are a real problem, I do think change is slo...
  • Carol
    Dear Fellow Reader,This week’s book is a bit different from my normal reading.  First of all, it is nonfiction, which while not completely out of my norm is still different.  It is also not biographical or history. The full title is Lab Rats – How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. And to prove that I can remember to tell you (sometimes) I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.Ready for my unbi...
    So it’s not just me then...Dan Lyons has become the Michael Lewis of neo-corporate bullsh*t - funny, informative, journalistic, etc.This is a terrific takedown of a grow-at-all-costs culture that has infected big tech and is bleeding its way into other industries, taking a horrendous human toll as it does so, uncaring about the fact even where it shows the self-awareness necessary to consider it..There is an emerging voice, gaining both confide...