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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See the creatures and laugh
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 approach in a "study" of Silicon Valley. He observes the City species - Valley immigrants, intra-Valley...
Published on 17 May 2004 by Kurt Steiner

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simplot all over again
As someone who works in the computer industry and has read George Gilder's "The Spirit of Enterprise", I found very little here that was new. Basically the book is portraits of individual entrepreneurial vitality, in Gilder's style, in the domain of internet software startups. I don't want to knock it too hard because it's written with flair, and it has...
Published on 27 Jun 1999


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simplot all over again, 27 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
As someone who works in the computer industry and has read George Gilder's "The Spirit of Enterprise", I found very little here that was new. Basically the book is portraits of individual entrepreneurial vitality, in Gilder's style, in the domain of internet software startups. I don't want to knock it too hard because it's written with flair, and it has bits of insight and humor now and then. I'll just knock the blurbs on the back cover. One says the author is "a genuine voice of a new generation". It's true that he is genuine, he has a voice, and he's relatively young; but he has little to say that's fresh. Another blurb is "Nobody is better at writing about digital technology". This is highly misleading -- he writes practically nothing about technology. Another blurb is that he conveys "the human energy that fuels Silicon Valley". This is somewhat misleading, because the book is about the energy that fuels internet startups, Silicon Valley is much more than internet startups, and internet startups needn't be done only in Silicon Valley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See the creatures and laugh, 17 May 2004
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
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 approach 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight and colorful characters, 5 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
I read Bronson's other two books and think his latest is quite good. Considering the tight time frame and internet time, he has put together a very good account of what's happening in SV.
He has witty accounts of salespeople, engineers, writers, bankers and others. He has good access to big names in the industry such as George Gilder. He notes that Gilder is one of the few futurists that will actually make a specific prediction. I must say, however, Bronson's stabs at Gilder's politicial views were really unnecessary.
The book contains one of only three accounts of the IPO process.
He also has a good story about the man who founded Hotmail.
He always has plenty of insight such as his noting early in the book how the professional barriers between the professions have compressed i.e. engineers trading stock and bankers talking about software.
Reading this book I found out about "rusers" and that there are headhunting firms looking for headhunters.
The Valley is where it is at and he's there writing an account in real time. Tom Wolfe (Bonfire of the Vanities) enjoys his work. Bronson and Wolfe are two of the few writers that actually deal with modern American life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Reprint of His Best Wired Articles, 26 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
I love Po Bronson's writing -- really I do. Every time I see an article in Wired with his byline, I devour it. His descriptions, particularly those of the people involved, crystallize a wide range of details into focused and evocative prose. His characters are exceptionally memorable.
Which is the problem.
Most of the essays in Nudist appeared in similar form as articles in Wired. I know this because the details in those articles stuck with me. I remember the lady with emphysema and her gift for closing software sales. I remember George Gilder's knee swelling because of his caffeine-fueled excess on a hotel treadmill. I remember Danny Hillis. And on it goes.
For someone who has not read all of the Wired articles, this book is great fun. Bronson's skill with details places the reader right smack in the middle of the chaos that is Silicon Valley. You can practically smell the hot asphalt.
But if you are a regular Bronson reader, save your money. I wish I'd known ... but who can deny a guy a way to make a quick buck on work that's already done?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Reading, 20 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
I read this book in a day.
Very enjoyable reading. Really well-written and contains fascinating info. I learned a lot.
I like the way he takes the long view and puts the Technological Revolution into a historical context. He is an insider without being a tech-head, and he makes that whole world VERY accessible for the rest of us who aren't in the industry.
He doesn't get carried away with the power and fast money of this world, and I enjoyed his clear-eyed analysis.
He writes with affection and honesty about the people he comes across. For this reason, I think Bronson is best suited to write non-fiction, although I did enjoy The First Twenty Million Is Always the Hardest.
He humanizes the Digital Revolution and without resorting to hype lets the passion, excitiment, and phenomenal risk associated with Sillicon Valley come through loud and clear.
At the end of this book, it was all I could do not to pack my bags for California. Seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd Rather Go to Silicon Valley than to DinsneyWorld, 11 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
A great description of the Silicon Valley "scene". I have read about the 10,000 year clock in a mag article, and wondered of its status. I realy liked the personal descriptions of Danny Hillis, and Sabeer,the brains behind Hotmail.
As a newcomer to the networking scene (CNE), I enjoyed finding out about Eric Schmidt, the Java guru of Novell, and the spot that spawned all the new technology. Po Bronson was able to lift the veil of this fascinating yet heady village. I would truly like to visit Silicon Valley and/or read more about it. The technology seems to have been enhanced in a three dimensional fashion by Po with his "behind the scenes" descriptions.
I visited DisneyWorld in 1988, and seen the network they have there. Silicon Valley would hold more fascination for me today. Hope to read more from Po Bronson in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ready to move back to Silicon Valley, 23 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
I lived in SV before the boom, in the mid 1980's and after reading this book, I am ready to go back!!!
I really enjoyed Bronson's writing style. His descriptions and stories of the people who make up the book seemed pretty believable to me. I currently work in IT field in the midwest, but ground zero of the IT world is the SF pennisula. It is the computer geek's Mecca - our holy land. (at least for me it is - it's the center of the computer universe - but I'm biased).
I think that this book is pretty accurate and will inspire a lot of people to take that risk, and try to hit it big. I know that after I finished the book I started brainstorming and writing down my ideas! - I am ready to go!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny and fresh look of Silicon Valley, 27 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
The book is very entertaining to read and has a "fiction" tone throughout the book. Po did a great job to portrait variety of characters in Silicon Valley, successors and failures alike. I was laughing out loud (created a few funny looks from fellow passengers) and could not put it down.
The book is also very edcucational revealing behind the scenes from startups to IPO, though I would not use the book for my businees practice. Highly recommend it!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Insight into Silicon Valley, 31 Jan 2004
By 
Curns "curns" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley (Hardcover)
Po Bronson has produced a very well-written and extremely readable insight into the craziness of 'dot com' fever in Silicon Valley. Clearly spending a great deal of time with both the entrepreneurs and employees involved 'The Nudist on the Late Shift' gets behind the ideas, the passion and the money.
The madness that meant people spent every waking hour in the office (some even sleeping under their desks) and meant that companies provided on-site laundry facilities for workers without the time to do their washing, is reflected well in the stories of the individuals involved.
The book tells of a time of optimism where the future can be changed by technology and wealth can be earned on the back of an unproven idea. Bronson concludes the book questioning if it's too late to join the party or not. Reading it now, with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge of the crash that came, makes the book all the more entertaining. The reader is drawn into the individual stories and wants to warn the visionaries that it's all about to go wrong for them.
A recommended insight into a unique time in business history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shame it's no longer in print, 29 Aug 2011
I recall this as being a great read for anyone in the IT industry. It was written during the dotcom bubble when software developers were as sought after as movie or sports stars. This book is a classic! JP.
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