New Uber Tell-All Book Coming September 10
If you’re a fan of books, September 10 might be already on your calendar as the release date of Margaret Atwood’s follow-up book to The Handmaid’s Tale, called The Testaments. While you’re in your local indie bookstore picking up a copy, consider stopping for another book that might be just as monumental – Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by journalist Mike Isaac.
Uber is a huge part of modern culture, so it’s not surprising that a book like this is coming out. Considering how many skeletons Uber has out in the open, with issues concerning sexual harassment and driver compensation winning headlines every month, we shudder to think what they could still have hidden under the rug. Isaac might have some truly good dirt, as he not only researched in publically available information, he interviewed current and former Uber employees that saw and heard everything.
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One of the revelations from Super Pumped has already been released in the run-up to the book’s debut: When Uber started to charge a $1 “Safe Rides Fee” in 2014 that money didn’t go to drivers at all. It was used to pad the bottom line. Some estimates put the earnings from that fee alone for half a billion dollars.
Mike Isaac is a technology journalist for The New York Times, and he’s been covering the Silicon Valley and San Francisco for almost 10 years. Early reviews are singing its praises, with Owen Thomas of the San Francisco Chronicle saying that it manages to cover the convoluted history of the company, movements against it like #DeleteUber, and the mind of co-founder Travis Kalanick without being too convoluted or boring. As to non-journalist reviews, Goodreads is mum so far. We wonder if the information in the book is sensitive enough that there were no preview copies sent out, which is usual practice for new books.
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This potentially explosive book is being published by W.W. Norton Company, an indie publisher known for printing one of the first translations of The Odyssey by a woman and Pulitzer Prize-winning The Overstory by Richard Powers. We might pick it up as an audiobook instead and listen to it as we drive. That seems the most appropriate way to consume the information and make us thankful to be behind the wheel of our own ride, instead of an Uber.