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4.5 out of 5 stars17
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on 22 August 1999
I seem to take for granted too many of the items, companies and personalities that come out of Silicon Valley. This book is a fascinating history of the whole computer age, spending time focusing on Apple, Netscape, Larry Ellison, and the VC (venture capital) game. The author does seem to focus on the big mistakes that some of the companies have made and how they reacted.
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on 18 June 1999
Readers may be drawn in by author David A. Kaplan's gossipy intro to "The Silicon Boys," excerpted in the June 14 Newsweek, with its sensationalistic "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" treatment of the Valley's new cyber-rich, but they'll find they actually learn something from the rest of this very readable, and sometimes very funny, history of high tech and the money behind it. Kaplan traces the technology industry from the development of the semiconductor to the exponential growth of the internet. He manages to make the most technical of topics understandable and throws in enough juicy details about the personalities of the industry (Larry Ellison's racy e-mails; John Doerr's driving habits; Jim Clark's new boat) to keep one from getting bored with it all. Even the esoteric workings of venture capital are explained. Highly recommended.
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on 6 July 1999
I should have known a hack for the East Coast media establishment would have no clue as to how things work here. A much better book is Po Bronson's "Nudist on the Late Shift." What passes for colorful news back in Schenectady just doesn't relate to how this area really works.
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on 2 July 1999
I had nothing to do with any of what Mr. Kaplan wrote about, and he captured that perfectly. That said, you must read this book. While much of the content has been reported in other venues, the book stylishly recounts some of the "urban legends" of Silicon Valley while adding depth in the telling. A recent Wall Street Journal review took the author to task for his puns, but, honestly where else are you going to get an entertaining, in-depth discussion of reasonably technical material and still get a good chuckle? The fact that Mr. Kaplan is willing to tell us that the World Wide Web's AMAZING FISH CAM "was no fluke" simply tips the scales in his favor. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
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on 23 July 1999
Yup, the Valley stripped of the Big Lie that "we do it to change the world" Nope. This is a place where It's ONLY about MONEY and GREED. This book exposes the hubris soaked lives of the lot of them: the venture capitalists, the engineers and executives, their spoiled brat spawn who take classes in how to manage a million dollars, and throw fits when at the age of 6 they do not get to fly First Class to visit Gradma, the mothers who run families like a human resource department. A silicon Bonfire of the Vanities populated by lives driven only by greed, where "enough" is never enough a place where executives feel they can't get by without owning a 50 million dollar private jet.
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on 29 July 1999
this is just a history book as far as I am concern. not too much in side stores, which is what i was hoping for. a good read if all you want is to get a history of silicon valley.
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on 3 August 1999
Kaplan does an excellent job summarizing the explosive growth and environment in Silicon Valley. With as much history and stories that exist, it's nice to read about the most relevant, impactful, and interesting ones. This book contains some of the more well known stories about Silicon Valley personalities and also some new ones. Kaplan's discussions with and exposure to the very people he has written about offer more of an insider's perspective, yet he is so clearly not in this same league. The result is a refreshingly interesting book which both inspires and entertains.
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on 26 June 1999
When it comes to being persistent, David A. Kaplan deserves the gold medal. He has dug up some juicy details about the male mega moguls who have turned Silicon Valley in a billionaire's boomtown. And yes, what he writes sounds like the stuff Roseann would write for the National Enquirer. However, Mr. Kaplan even felt that he had a right to use stuff he had no permission to use such an alleged message from Larry Ellison to me and one that I supposely sent him. What more can I say. The veiled woman who had a date with Larry Ellison...
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on 4 August 1999
This book is a must for understanding the nuances of the Valley. It is well written and colorful. I do wish more emphasis had been placed on how these leaders got and maintained their success, i.e., through their leadership abilities. I recommend another book along with this one that will go into the detail of how leaders become successful in whatever field they're in. It's on Amazon and it's called "The Leader's Guide: 15 Essential Skills."
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on 2 August 1999
A very poignant view of Silicon Valley, describing the titans in beyond the WYSIWYG format. It traces the computer metamorphosis from mainframe to PC, from stand-alone to networking to the Internet.
It shows what a combination of money and ego can do. It can be both positive and negative. This book is more dimensional and mesmerizing than "The Plot to Get Bill Gates" and "The Nudist on the Late Shift".
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