Remember this odd book of letter-pressed, handwritten-like reproductions of epigrammatic tweets from venture capitalists that got delivered to a group of San Francisco journalists back in June, and no one really knew what to make of it? It was called Iterating Grace, and it turns out it was actually sent to some venture capitalists too, and now New York-based publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux is printing a 10,000-copy paperback run of the book, whose two authors remain unknown to everyone except one person in the publisher's contracts department. I guess that's one way to get published in these woefully non-bookish times.
As the New York Times reports, the "extended inside joke for techies" written by Koons Crooks, a "parody of a burned-out programmer" treats the tweeted-out wisdom of Silicon Valley's most powerful investors as a kind of scripture to be pondered over and dissected. "The answers he’d been searching for had been there," writes the anonymous narrator of the fictional Crooks, "in the Bay Area’s innovation economy, all along articulated, unwittingly, by an elite class of entrepreneurial high priests.”
The story of Crooks' voyage to Bolivia and philosophical musings on these tweets is a mere 18 pages long, and it appears it is not, as some suspected initially, an elaborate bit of marketing for some unnamed product.
Former Re/Code writer Nellie Bowles maybe has the best interpretation of the book, which appears simply to be an art book for art's and satire's sake, saying, "V.C.s have become San Francisco’s de facto philosopher kings, doling out financial, political and spiritual advice while amassing enormous cultural sway. It’s high time people take the whole thing to task."
Of course, Silicon Valley on HBO has already begun doing that with more of an emphasis on the absurdity of startup jargon and the arbitrarily wealthy.
In this case, the authors have refused all interviews and have chosen to remain anonymous, even to their own editor, who has been in touch with them via phone and email. Says the editor, Sean McDonald, "It sounds kind of goofy to say it, there’s a purity in people paying attention to the book itself, and putting a name on that might deflate that."
Some, like Fusion editor Alexis Madrigal believe that there's a code embedded in the names of the original recipients of the book (there were 140 of them in total), which he concluded after his household received a total of three copies of it. And Re/Code remains obsessed with figuring out who these authors are.