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Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure Paperback – 1 Oct 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin USA (P); Reprint edition (1 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140257314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140257311
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions has helped more than 3 million students achieve their educational and career goals. With 185 centers and over 1,200 classroom locations throughout the U.S. and abroad, Kaplan provides a full range of services, including test-prep courses, admissions consulting, programs for international students, professional licensing preparation, and more.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 25 Sept. 1998
Format: Paperback
I bought the book amidst lot of hype from my friends and relatives who have read this book. I didn't find it so exciting as to place it on the top shelf. This book definitely gives a very close encounter with the 'happenings in a corporation's entire life' in silicon valley. Some useful insights into how the industry works, which include dealings with Apple, IBM, AT&T, Microsoft are captured very well. Slightly boring in parts. And a completely one-sided view of the world, obviously.
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Format: Paperback
Good book, I liked it a lot. I have lived a couple of startup by myself, it's not a manual or a cookbook for business. It's a nice novel, telling the adventuros story of a Silicon Valley startup.
And you will read it in a couple of days, since it's written like a thriller, but it's a startup life which is just thrilling, isn't it?
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By A Customer on 29 Aug. 1997
Format: Paperback
Although I think the story of Jerry Kaplan and GO is great and worth reading, this poorly written book makes it extremely difficult to get into the meat of the story. Here's an example of what I'm talking about in Chapter 6: The Proposal:

"In my years of making business trips, this was the first time my host ever met me at the airport. Norm Vincent was accompanied by his wife, Donna, a practical and even-tempered woman thirteen years his junior. Her short brown hair and trim figure suggested an interest in sports. As with everything else in town, they seemed the perfect pair: he looked like a model for Grecian Formula, she looked like an athlete on a Wheaties box."

This style of writing is evident throughout the book and it is annoying. The style is "talk about things that have absolutely nothing to do the subject at hand." In other words, do I really care that the woman has a trim figure that suggests an interest in sports? Only if it is important later in the chapter or book. So far, I haven't seen it. Maybe I skipped it in my zeal to get around the drudgingly boring parts, of which there are many in this book.

Jerry - when you write a book about Onsale, please leave out all the descriptive aspects that are not necessary. Please also leave out the structured dialog that sounds fake and canned. People don't talk like this in real life.

Again, like I said, great story - GRATE writing!
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Format: Paperback
The book tells an entertaining story about the ins and outs of a startup in Silicon Valley. The good parts of the book are very compelling, but there are some parts that just plain boring. To Kaplan's credit, it is not because of the writing, but just because a startup spends a significant amount of time on mundane tasks such as contract negotiations or canned presentations. The surprising part was how much Kaplan shares of his personal life including his dad dying, a worker who quits because of having HIV, etc. Not to say that these scenes were not touching, they were, but placement in a book that is essentially a business book is slightly awkward. This is something I did not expect when I first bought the book.
However, in total the book is very entertaining and quite insightful. Two current issues make this book particularly relevant: the fact that Kaplan has now started Onsale, and the current anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft (Go got worked by Microsoft).
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Format: Paperback
"Startup" chronicles a tale of the late eighties and early nineties, before the Internet exploded into public consciousness (and publisher's rush-to-press lists). Maybe that accounts for its unusually well-rounded portrayal of the *human drama* in Kaplan's David-and-Goliath struggle. Whatever the reason, I hope the story's humanity expands its readership, from its natural base of businessmen and gearheads to everyone who's ever cheered for an underdog.
Although "Startup"'s wisdom alone justifies reading it, as others have pointed out it might seem a bit dated amidst the flood of books on the subject these days. It's Kaplan's warm, candid, savvy style that truly singles it out. Highly recommended.
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By A Customer on 20 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Just finished this book and found myself anticipating the next chance I could find to read what happened next to GO, a company with a seemingly unshakeable future but doomed by forces outside of its control (mostly). A very insightful look into why good ideas don't always make a successful company. Interesting when set against the backdrop of the success of pen based PDAs of today (Palm Pilot in particular, which I suspect would prove to be an interesting story itself). Sprinkled with quick sketches of many hi-tech bigwigs such as Gates and Ballmer @ Microsoft & Sculley formerly of Apple, even includes a complete email from Gates in the appendix. Not the smoothest prose I've read, but a great story of the valley.
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Format: Paperback
Startup detailed the life of a technical venture from birth to death in a fast-moving and entertaining style. Kaplan does a great job of explaining what it was like to be there and what obstacles they faced in their journey to bring the first pen based computers to market. Kaplan gives an appropriate level of detail when descibing situations without being 'dry'. While another reader didn't like this book because of the superfluous descriptions, I thought this made the book even better -- it gave me a *feeling* of what it would have been like to be there in person. I missed many "bedtimes" when reading this book and I highly recommend it if you're interested in business stories, start-ups, or technology stories.
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