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Publisher's Summary

In the weird glow of the dying millennium, Michael Lewis sets out on a safari through Silicon Valley to find the world's most important technology entrepreneur, the man who embodies the spirit of the coming age. He finds him in Jim Clark, who is about to create his third, separate, billion-dollar company: first Silicon Graphics, then Netscape - which launched the Information Age - and now Healtheon, a startup that may turn the $1 trillion healthcare industry on its head.

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • LEESBURG, VA, United States
  • 07-07-10

A fun book about Jim Clark

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

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-01-16

Disruptions and Disruptors

“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.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • LONG BEACH, CA, United States
  • 02-13-14

Desperately in need of editing; painful narration

Would you try another book from Michael Lewis and/or Bruce Reizen?

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.

Has The New New Thing turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm a big fan of this non-fiction genre.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

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.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The New New Thing?

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.

Any additional comments?

If you are a fan of Michael Lewis and looking for a book that reflects his quality of writing and insight, skip this one.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dreadful Read - Way too much filler

What disappointed you about The New New Thing?

The book was laden with filler and nonsensical information not necessary to tell the story of Jim Clark's wealth growth in the tech market by purchasing the right stocks at the right time.

What could Michael Lewis have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The nearly 10 hours of listening and 350 page book could have been shortened to probably 100 pages and 3 hours. The narrator trying to use voices & dialects when telling stories was lame, I nearly jumped out of my chair when he would scream profanities.

Would you be willing to try another one of Bruce Reizen’s performances?

Maybe - I fault the author's content rather than the narrator, I think he was trying to make the book interesting.

What character would you cut from The New New Thing?

Not necessarily characters as the number of lame tales that seemed to have no purpose in telling the story of Mr. Clark. Not a style of biography writing I enjoyed.

Any additional comments?

Was given this as a first read in a start-up book club at work, I spend a great deal of time driving and working long hours. I thought audible may be the easier way to get through the first book during a busy time at work. I can guarantee I'd never have finished the book if sat down to read. On the plus side I found the monotonous nature of the story helped me focus and come up with a new outlet for white noise. I can't wait to find out who picked this miserable book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sort of interesting

Given the subject manner it seems this could have been made quite a bit more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Palm Desert, CA, United States
  • 12-15-17

Excellent story, marred by hurried reading

I’m a great fan of Michael Lewis but I was disappointed that his fine story lost its impact due to an unnecessarily fast reading pace

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story Ruined by bad narration

Good story about Jim Clark that is ruined by the narrator trying to give each character a unique voice. Interesting review of startups from the 90’s.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good as his Wall Street books.

I enjoyed Flash Boys and The Big Short. Those stories had me looking forward to each commute to find out what happened next. I grew tired the repetitive description of the protagonist's personality by the middle of the book but hung on hoping you would get better. The voice talent was amazing however and kept my interest.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful