Despite the variety of his achievements, Clark thinks of himself mainly as the creator of Hyperion, which happens to be a sailboat - not just an ordinary yacht, but the world's largest single-mast vessel, a machine more complex than a 747. Clark claims he will be able to sail it via computer from his desk in San Francisco, and the new code may contain the seeds of his next billion-dollar coup.
On the wings of Lewis' celebrated storytelling, the listener takes the ride of a lifetime through this strange landscape of geeks and billionaires. We get the inside story of the battle between Netscape and Microsoft; we sit in the room as Clark tries to persuade the investment bankers that Healtheon IS the new Microsoft; we get queasy as Clark pits his boat against the rage of the North Atlantic in winter. And in every brilliant anecdote and character sketch, Lewis is drawing us a map of markets and free enterprise in the 21st century.
©2001 Michael Lewis; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
This book gently pokes fun at a man who one of the most widely acclaimed entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Jim Clark is not the richest man in Silicon Valley, or the richest tech entrepreneur, but he is widely regarded as the most entrepreneurial of the super-rich in Silicon Valley.
The book presents him as a likable, slightly tormented, mild misfit. Of course he's a man of nuclear will; all great entrepreneurs are. But this book doesn't portray him as a bellicose tyrant, the way Steve Jobs is often portrayed. And it doesn't portray him as a borderline autistic, diabolical businessman, they way Bill Gates is often portrayed. The portrayal is closer to a character on the popular TV show, "The Big Bang Theory". There is something in the portrayal that it is funny and likable in a way that is similar to almost every geek I've ever known. In this regard the book is very well written. And the narration was excellent.
On a personal note I inherited the office that Jim Clark inhabited as a grad student at the University of Utah, about a decade after him, where I too earned a Ph.D. in computer science. When I moved into the office I found a raincoat and an umbrella standing in the corner, made to look like a mannequin without the mannequin. It was referred to as the "Invisible Grad Student". Rummaging through the pockets of the raincoat I discovered an old printout, on old style computer paper, of the department student directory. Jim's name was highlighted. After asking around I discovered that it was widely believed that the Invisible Grad Student was the work of Jim Clark. But all that was known for sure was that it had at one time been his office. When I pointed out that this might be valuable and inquired about rather the department wanted to keep these artifacts in a safe place, the items were stolen. Since at that time all the grad students had keys to everybody else's office, the list of suspects was intra
I really enjoyed this audiobook. Beautifully narrated. Especially the antitrust trials with microsoft. I must have gone back to that part about 10 times, very funny.
The book was good but I will avoid this narrator for now on. He reads way too fast, and I couldn't enjoy the book. I will have to read this one.
Michael Lewis is a great author and I've enjoyed many of his books - both traditional and audible formats. This book doesn't seem to have the characteristic voice and insights of Lewis, perhaps reflecting the influence of Reizen.
I'm a big fan of this non-fiction genre.
The narrator attempts to give voices/accents to the individual characters in the story. The result is distracting and irritating. For example, his attempt to embody the Indian characters sounds half-way Irish and all the way irritating. I almost stopped listening to avoid being subjected to any more of this narration.
The book itself is too long, punctuated by long descriptions of scenes of minute conversations or details that simply don't sufficiently add to the story to justify inclusion. I would edit the book by 20%. I would also replace the narration.
If you are a fan of Michael Lewis and looking for a book that reflects his quality of writing and insight, skip this one.
The story of Jim Clark is very interesting, but it's hard to make an entire book on his effect on Silicon Valley, as well as differentiate how his interaction with Venture Capitalists is different than Google's or shaped a path that simply wasn't available previously. Michael Lewis does his best though, and it would make for a fun listen if not for a narrator that feels it's necessary to "perform" every character uniquely. The choices for accents and tones proves extremely distracting from the story, and affects the listeners appreciation of Michael Lewis' work.
Worth listening to despite how out of date the book is. Also worth checking out Lewis's earlier writing style, which is very good but not as confident as his more current work.
Seriously, this has got to be the WORST reading of an audiobook I've ever heard. I literally cannot enjoy and/or concentrate on the story because the reading is so bad. It's too fast, and too crisp--you can't relax into the story the way you can with most books (i.e., every other audiobook I've ever listened to).
Not going to spoil the book.
He spoke too quickly. Also, yeah it's great the guy can do voices, but those voices aren't really necessary if the listener can relax into the book. This man read as though he had no understanding of what he was reading--he read too quickly, with no inflection, and the only time he slowed down was when he did one of those voices, but by then he'd done such a horrible job on the lead-up that the voice ended up being more of a distraction than anything. I don't know if he's just normally a fast-talker or he had too much coffee that day, but holy crap it's horrible. You guys should commission a re-reading, seriously.
The voice performance was brilliant and bring out the anglo saxon perspective of a lot of silicon valley elements
When they were on the boat and battling between engineer and software geek.
Yes, when Jim Clark was such a street kid and moved on.
Excellent book. Yet a little bit monotone.
I'm an engineer living in Vancouver, Canada.
Getting to know Jim Clark through Michael's eye.
There was a point when I thought they had replaced Bruce as the sound of his voice changed significantly. It was okay but not sure I liked it that much. I always enjoy listening to the author narrate their own story.
I loved the story. An insight into an exciting time in Silicon Valley only a few get to see firsthand.
3 stars for dry biographical information about a guy and the computer industry in the 1990s.
I read three other nonfiction books by this author and was fascinated. But this book was not as entertaining. It was dry. It felt like newspaper journalism about one guy and his computer industry activities during the 1990s. It felt obsolete. His 1990s companies are no longer around or in the public eye. The author’s other books were entertaining because they showed people doing strange, outrageous, impressive, unexpected, shocking, stupid, or incompetent things. Those kinds of things don’t happen in this book. The best audience for this is someone wanting to study computer industry history.
The author interviewed and accompanied Jim Clark. He interviewed people who knew or interacted with Jim. He read through Jim’s personal materials. The author did not show any criticisms or comments from Jim’s competitors or people who did not like him. It was almost as if the author felt gratitude for access and didn’t want to write anything negative. I could be all wrong, but I wondered.
Jim Clark had a difficult childhood. He joined the NAVY which helped him pay for college. He obtained a computer science Ph.D. He was a concept guy, thinking of new things and starting businesses. He expected others to finish things and keep them going. His company startups included Silicon Graphics, which created 3-D imaging used in movies (filed for bankruptcy in 2009), Netscape (killed by Microsoft), Healtheon (merged into Microsoft’s WebMD), and myCFO (sold to Harris Bank). I added the parentheses information. Some of that happened after this book was published. Jim was behind the first antitrust lawsuit filed against Microsoft. His companies initially made him a billionaire. For several years Jim spent a lot of time creating computer software to run his huge sailboat, Hyperion. The book probably spends too much time on the building and programming of that ship and its maiden voyage which had many computer problems.
NARRATOR: Bruce Reizen was ok, but several times I felt he was speaking too fast – like he was running a race.
GENRE: computer industry nonfiction, biography.
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