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The Nudist on the Late Shift and Other Tales of Silicon Valley Paperback – 1 Jun 2000

16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (1 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099289075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099289074
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,373,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

By car and by plane, masses of people are heading west to Silicon Valley to make their fortunes. No-one wants to go to Hollywood anymore. Silicon Valley is the only place on earth where you can make mind-boggling sums of money for having talent, ability and just a great idea.

Until now, the world-famous valley has been shrouded in mystery, but in his highly entertaining new book, The Nudist on the Late Shift, Wired journalist Po Bronson reveals the true stories about the real people who are making it happen in the virtual world. Meet the co-founder of Yahoo!, David Filo, worth more than $500 million, who still sleeps under his desk one night a week and thinks nothing of wearing a T-shirt advertising rival search engine Excite. Find out how Sabeer Bhatia dreamt up the idea of a free e-mail service called Hotmail and read how Microsoft's Bill Gates pursued him with unimaginable amounts of money. Meet the programmers who like to split their computer screens in two so they can deal in their own shares and program at the same time; and finally meet the nudist who works the late shift. It's true. There is a programmer who strips off after normal office hours. He does it to assert his freedom.

Po Bronson has spent most of the decade searching for the best true Silicon Valley stories. Before you head west to try to make your fortune, be certain you read this book or at least remember to take it with you. --Justin Hunt

Review

My choice for the beach... The Nudist on the Late Shift is the riveting tale of California's Silicon Valley (Daily Telegraph)

A remarkable piece of reportage - the finest evocation of Silicon Valley to emerge so far (The Times)

Bronson is a snappy writer who goes light on the street slang and technical jargon. Furthermore he is excellent at describing complex processes in simple, easy-to-grasp terms. Like all the best reportage, this is research laced with anecdote and adrenalin (Independent on Sunday)

The world's best, smartest, funniest and most complete tour of the Temple of Prosperity.... To call it a travelogue doesn't convey the elegance of this book. Bronson is one of America's most talented rising young novelists, and brings a literary grace to his reporting (Management Today)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 July 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book thinking it would be of interesting tales about the information technology culture in what must be one of the most dynamic computing environments on earth. Instead I was regaled with a narration of depressing "J.Crew" losers seeking to strike into a million or twenty. I'm not interested in following those pursuing greed as a means to an end, but rather individuals who have offered some striking thoughts and initiatives into the industry. Mr. Bronson doesn't seem to have left the investment bank - his former employer. Pity. Real characters evolve out of strange places, and Silicon Valley sounds strange enough indeed. Too bad this tale is relegated to the size of their overdraft limits.
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By A Customer on 29 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
I discovered Po Bronson when reading "Bombardiers", his Michael Lewis like account of the trading floor but far more hilarious and with more attention being paid to the characters and inner self of the main protagonists. Mr Bronson repeats this anthropologist in a "study" of Silicon Valley. He observes the City species - Valley immigrants, intra-Valley migrants, Vallgroupies and Valley affiliates (NY banks, unwitting investors). In a series of portraits, I felt the Valley was as mad as I could have imagined it. But as this book tells you, you can't imagine the Valley - you "do" the Valley.
Bronson introduces us to the kid-programmers intent on making their code triumph (never mind profitability?), the aspiring French entrepreneur getting funding on the edge of starvation and stranding, the CEO's Calvary during the flotation process, Yahoo!'s Filo bumped out of his below-desk sleeping place (he did pay the rent but can't file his in-tray any longer), the shallow salesman and, Gilder, the idealistic futurist in search of any validation at all of his visions. Of each figure, Bronson brings us the hope, misery, undying belief in self, fatalism in rejection and above all the urge to be there, to try to "make IT". Thoroughly enjoyable, this book is a great read and gives some practical insights into the travails of setting up one's internet business.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DR J LANCHBURY on 29 July 2001
Format: Paperback
One's instant response to Bronson's tale of the highs and lows of silicon valley's cycle of creativity and production is that it perfectly defines, as well as captures, the "Zeitgeist". Within the body of this book is the evidence of the rapidity of change which characterises this industry of driven men, women and ideas. Entrepreneurs who were not fast, clever or well-connected enough to read the last passing wave are chasing deals too small to interest the venture capitalists who had moved from investing $5 million to $50 million, leaving those with a small idea bereft of the means of realisation. The style of writing is intense and forensic - character assessments are the equivalent of the 25 word pitch, and just as effective. The chapters deal with generic groupings - "The Programmers", "The Entrepeneurs", "The Salespeople" - Bronson kept my interest by moving from the often superficial personages adorning the pages of "The Newcomers" to "The IPO" - a riveting inside view of the public floatation of Actuate which is a platform for a description of the evolution of CEO Nico Nierenberg from internally effective, to publicly impressive cyber-industry magnate. It is this privileged access to the guts and personalities of software product development and commercialisation which maintains the readers' interest. If that sounds dry - just take a risk and read it. Bronson's description of the Java programmers who have become the essential generators of companies' web products fascinates. Kevin, Max and Jason are rebels, live for the moment, fly by the seats of their pants (sometimes literally in Max's case) and articulate their dominance by the elegance and robustness of of their code.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Although Po Bronson is well known for slipping into pseudo-economic technobabble in his regular Wired magazine features, this book manages to cobble together many of the best Internet stories.
Amusingly written and with some of the most exciting tales from Silicon valley interweaved with the harsh reality of this environment, The Nudist is one of the best books of this type around.
Definitely more compelling than "Net Slaves", for those people who have read tat similar title.
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By A Customer on 19 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
I've just read it and rushed out and ordered "The First $20 million..." and "Bombardiers", the 2 other books by Po Bronson. Sometimes funny, sometimes cynical, sometimes tender, always sharp, this book is a must for all those who want to know (more) about Silicon Valley. I especially liked the 3 last chapters/essays of the book. Po, if you're reading this, when can we expect for the sequel?
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Format: Paperback
For a nerdy, geeky and young industry this book puts a lot of humanity, commedy and life into an alien place- most of us only dream about!
A truly unique marriage of a business book and a novel!
If you don't read this book and absorb its tales, your grandchildren may disown you because you weren't a part of the Silicon Valley revolution near the end of the 20th century.
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