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.
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.
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 write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
“Never was a man’s love of risk so beautifully amplified by his environment as Clark’s was in Silicon Valley.”
― Michael Lewis, The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
I did like Lewis' exploration of the relationship of Investment banking and the information technology companies that seemed to weed up in Silicon Valley during the late 90s. The normal venture technology relationship seemed to invert in Silicon Valley. Power shifted from the money men to the idea men, or perhaps not even the idea men, but the risk men, the development men. It was, and still is, a bit of an aberration in business space and time. This book focuses on Jim Clark, who ended up wet-nursing three different IT start-ups (Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon).
Like his fellow Princeton New New Journalism master, John McPhee, Michael Lewis does a phenomenal job of finding and fleshing out the exact right person to serve as the locus for an even bigger story. This book is nominally focused on Jim Clark, but really is about the technology bubble of the late 1990s. Jim Clark just happens to be a near perfect example of the best and worst of that particular place and time in America's economy.
Not my favorite Lewis. Not because it isn't well written, but mainly subject matter. I'm more of a value man (Graham & Dodd), not a kamikaze investor. The whole idea of the New New thing is both interesting and a bit repellant to me. I love disruptive businesses, but I'm just not a fan of the smoke and mirrors of the early parts of these businesses.
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.
I've read many of Michael Lewis' books and was captivated with the others but this one fell flat. He spends WAY too much time talking about Jim Clark's boat. Also, I'm pretty sure he made a bet with someone that he could use the word "grope" a thousand times in a book - spoiler alert: he won the bet.
interesting story, if you ideas crammed into 300 pages. This story was way too long for its content.
Great author, great encapsulation of the contemporary technology entrepreneur mindset. Must read for anyone looking to understand human beings and the rise of Silicon Valley.
I've listened to a number of Michael Lewis' audiobooks, some of which are more well-known than this, but this one was certainly one of my favorites. For those of us who suspect much of the wealth accumulated by individuals in the first Silicon Valley bubble and the new one we're in now was generated by selling stock in half-baked ideas and not by selling profitable products and services, you will truly enjoy this story. It also provides a nice window into the inner-workings of the venture capital world--most of which I would imagine is the same 15 years later in bubble v2.0.
Despite what some other reviewers have said, I thought the narration was one of the best I've ever heard from an Audible book. Yes Mr. Reizen uses unique "voices" for most of the main characters. And sure, maybe the voice of the Indian programmers sounded a little Irish or Bulgarian, and sure, that Italian guy probably doesn't really talk like he's a hitman on the Sopranos. But that's not the point. The point is that he makes the effort to do the voices at all! In my opinion, after listening to a number of other Michael Lewis and non-fiction audiobooks, this significantly helps me follow the story and remember which person said what. I'm only 75% paying attention when listening to audiobooks anyway--while running, in the gym, in the car etc.--so when you pick up mid conversation and hear that Indian-Irish-Bulgarian accent talking, you KNOW it's that Indian programmer guy talking. That really helps!
For those of you giving Mr. Reizen a bad review, I seriously hope he or his publisher does not take notice because you are doing a great disservice to the audiobook industry if it leads to fewer non-fiction books being read by this fine gentleman or in the character-based style he totally nails!
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