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Geek Silicon Valley [Paperback]

Ashlee Vance

Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; 1 edition (27 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762742399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762742394
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Some people say that Silicon Valley is a state of mind, but the cultural trends that drive us today were born in a very real place - the garages and back rooms of the cities between San Francisco and San Jose, California.This unique book delves into Silicon Valley history, taking readers from success story to failed start-up and back again as they travel the roads in the birthplace of modern technology. Get the inside scoop on the addresses that really matter - including Google, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.Also included in "Geek Silicon Valley" are profiles of the larger-than-life characters who pioneered the internet revolution, the legendary entrepreneurs and inventors who made it all possible, as well as insider information on the coolest and the nerdiest places to stay, eat, and drink!

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of good stuff 15 Nov 2007
By skywatcher - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great little book. Part historical overview, part travel guide, it's written in the breezy, easy-going style of Vance's columns in The Register, the best of the online IT rags (except that the book has been carefully proofread, unlike a typical Register story). In less than 250 pages Vance has covered almost all of the important historic events and personalities behind Silicon Valley, and provided a great set of tips of places for visiting, dining and drinking. There's even a good list of books and web sites for further reading.

I've lived in the Valley for nearly 15 years, and yet learned a fair amount from this book, including several places to visit that were new to me. There were only a few curious omissions: e.g., Halted gets a mention, but Fry's does not; neither does Buck's in Woodside; and surely Frank Drake should be mentioned in the section on the SETI Institute? - but otherwise the text is remarkably accurate, despite having condensed many complex histories, each worthy of a book in its own right, into paragraphs or pages. Vance clearly did his homework. My only historical quibble is with his description of the demise of SGI. I thought it was mainly done in by cheap graphics chips from Nvidia and the like; Itanic was just the icing on the cake.

The book mentions his web site and claims additional information can be found there, but so far there isn't anything new. Hopefully that will change over time. Another concern is that quite a bit of the information in the book will date fast; I hope Vance and his publisher refreshes the text (or the website, or both) regularly.

If you live in the Valley, visit the Valley, or you just want to know what the heck the place is about, this book is for you. And if you're a geek too, it's a must-read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 9 Nov 2007
By DH - Published on
I'm a long-time reader of Vance's articles in the Reg and eslewhere. His articles are always well researched (except when intentionally not!), but it's his biting wit that always brings out the deeply burried tech geek in me. I was hoping for more of the same from this book, and was pleasantly surprised at how much more it offered than I'd hoped. The book is part biography- focusing on the heroes of the tech revolution, part history, and part guide-book. It may just inspire a trip to Silicon Valley. I even enjoyed it enough to recommend it to my 100% non-tech geek mom (who happens to like Silicon Valley).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Indispensable guide to Silicon Valley 2 Feb 2008
By Tech Historian - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book delivers as advertised. A great summary of Silicon Valley. If you've just arrived in the valley it is indispensable. Pick up this book and spend your time learning, visiting and eating through the locales mentioned. (They should hand this out to incoming students at Stanford, and at the immigration line at SFO.)

Minor quibble, the book suffers from "young journalist syndrome," where its history, anecdotes and insights are a synthesis of the bibliography in the back. However, kudos to the author for reading more valley history than 99% of other writers. He is headed for greatness when he finds his own voice.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money's worth 6 Nov 2007
By Valley Vet - Published on
I've lived in Palo ALto for years and still learned a ton from this book. It's the perfect blend of history, context, entertaining anecdotes and insight. Vance manages to describe many "geek" innovations in layman terms, so that the book was especially helpful for a non-geek like me--someone who knew it was past time to learn about his hometown as well as the most important revolution of the 20th century. Who would have thought something so good for me would have caused me to laugh out loud at several points? Just wait until you read about Google's party plane.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!! 10 Dec 2007
By Dirk Steele - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been involved with the tech business for 15 years and know my way around the places and companies in the valley. I found this book hugely entertaining and informative. At first look, it seems more like a travel book or specialized city guide than anything else - which is fine and a worthy accomplishment. However, there's a whole lot more....Ashlee lays out the history of the valley and the reasons why it has developed into the technical center of the world. Along the way, he provides easy to understand explanations of the technology and how each invention and advance launched new ventures or opened new markets. Finally, he delves into the personalities of both the key individuals and companies, which, for me at least, ties everything together and makes it a much more interesting and enjoyable read. Highly recommended....
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