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New York Times reporter Mike Isaac is writing a book about Uber

Crazy ambition, betrayal, sex, deceit and naked power grabs all make for a page-turner.

former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
Michael Porro / Getty
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The Uber story has crazy ambition, betrayal, sex, deceit, naked power grabs, and lots and lots and lots of money.

Should be a book, right?

Yes, says New York Times reporter Mike Isaac, who is writing a book about Uber.

It’s for publisher W. W. Norton, and he thinks it will be out in 2019. It doesn’t have a name yet. Perhaps you have some suggestions.

Mike — let’s drop the conceit that I’m writing dispassionately about this, because Mike and I used to work together and we’re still friends — has done excellent work covering the Uber story for the past few years. So it makes sense that he’d want to write a book about it.

On the other hand! It’s 2017. How do you write a book about something that’s happening now, that people will want to read in two years?

“It’s a good question,” Mike says. “Which means, I hate your question.”

Thanks, Mike!

Mike then explains that he’s thinking about ideas and themes that will extend beyond Uber’s story. Like, “Can I take lessons from the disasters that happened at Uber and say what it says about Silicon Valley — like how founders have been given total control of their companies and how that’s maybe a mistake?”

Good start.

Mike Isaac
Adam Tow

Mike also points out, while not comparing himself to Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael Lewis, that Andrew Ross Sorkin (“Too Big to Fail” ) and Michael Lewis (“The Big Short”) did a great job of writing books about the 2008 financial collapse, two or three years after the fact.

Is Uber participating? Well, they’re not not participating, since Mike is reporting about them on a day-to-day basis.

But it’s not the kind of book that depends on full behind-the-scenes access, anyway. “I do have good relations with the folks there. They know it might not be the most flattering book, but I don’t think they’ll totally shut me out.”

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