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Publisher's Summary

A candid, colorful, and comprehensive oral history that reveals the secrets of Silicon Valley - from the origins of Apple and Atari to the present day clashes of Google and Facebook, and all the start-ups and disruptions that happened along the way.

Rarely has one economy asserted itself as swiftly - and as aggressively - as the entity we now know as Silicon Valley. Built with a seemingly permanent culture of reinvention, Silicon Valley does not fight change; it embraces it, and now powers the American economy and global innovation.

So how did this omnipotent and ever-morphing place come to be? It was not by planning. It was, like many an empire before it, part luck, part timing, and part ambition. And part pure, unbridled genius...

Drawing on over 200 in-depth interviews, Valley of Genius takes listeners from the dawn of the personal computer and the Internet, through the heyday of the web, up to the very moment when our current technological reality was invented. The audiobook interweaves stories of invention and betrayal, overnight success and underground exploits, to tell the story of Silicon Valley like it has never been told before. These are the stories that Valley insiders tell each other: the tall tales that are all, improbably, true.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Adam Fisher (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This is the most important book on Silicon Valley I've read in two decades. It will take us all back to our roots in the counterculture, and will remind us of the true nature of the innovation process, before we tried to tame it with slogans and buzzwords." (Po Bronson, The New York Times best-selling author of Top Dog and NurtureShock)

"Valley of Genius is a blast - it's like eavesdropping on a huge party of all the hackers, thinkers and creators that built our digital world. Every page has some crazy detail I never knew before; I couldn't put it down." (Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think)

"A fantastic read! Adam Fisher's history of Silicon Valley is compelling and thorough, full of fascinating and inspiring stories carefully curated by someone who truly knows his stuff. Should be on every entrepreneur's desk!" (Ben Mezrich, The New York Times best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 2 Stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jd
  • 07-21-18

Annoying to listen to

The way the book was put together does not make it easy to listen to. Each chapter is just a bunch of people, each with their own quote, put together in a way to try to tell a fluid story.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

Difficult

The format of each speaker being announced before a quotation makes for a poor audiobook experience.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very difficult listen

The book is more like a transcript identifying the speaker before each sentence, so you dont get a flowing story. It is very painful to listen to. This could be a great book with interesting stories but misses the opportunity.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, but terribly produced.

Super hard to listen to. the narrator was dubbed often with someone else at a different volume. just terrible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

this book is a train wreck

having worked in silicon valley for 20+ years, i expected to enjoy this book. i know or have known a few of the people interviewed for the book. in spite of that, i just did not appreciate the approach, the input or the conclusions. for me, it reflects very little of what i know to be silicon valley. further, this is not a book, exactly. it is basically a transcript of interviews with some talented people, some of whom did not/do not work in the valley. it is impossibly difficult to follow as the reader just yells out a name and then recounts their words.

in the preface, the author spoke of how he had literally cut up transcribed interviews and taped them into a layout. that is what it sounded like to me. no cohesive anything. just constant abrupt lines as if one is table reading a play but with only one actor.

i am embarrassed for the author and reader.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun Perspective

After you get comfortable to the style of constant quotes, it's a personable way to hear about the start of the internet and these companies. Even if you know a lot about them, it's a fun perspective and a lot of interesting details are mentioned. The author does a good job with the flow of the quotes and I blitzed through it in a day.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, not so great performance

The material was good but the performance was choppy at best. Nature of the material introduced a lot of edits and you can hear that with the book. The sound is uneven with the edits and at times even jarring. In spite of the production problems, still enjoyed the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Unlistenable

The whole book is just a series of quotes. Read it physically. The audiobook is unlistenable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

too many names

the story is so broken by listing names that it destroys the story. it seems like every sentence is preceded by the name of the person who said it. I found it distracting from a subject I find very interesting. I recommend the print version.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Rivetting content, terrible production

The book's greatest strength is it's content. it's an interesting view of the history of Silicon Valley. Hearing from the likes of Alan Kay, Jobs etc. added to the "inside out" perspective.
The production quality however was poor, jarring and painful. Getting through the early chapters was an absolute torture. Poor audio editing plagues the book, with abrupt and badly done audio corrections often ruining the experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rob Sedgwick
  • 11-03-18

Unusual format but works well

This is a very interesting story, especially if you have lived through a lot of it even at a distance as most British readers will have done. The author has basically taken other people's words and presented them as a continual dialogue. Nobody ever says more than a few sentences, but it's a very coherent and continual storyline even though Adam Fisher the writer never adds anything of his own (or very little, nothing that I recall anyway) and every snippet (presumably) was said in a completely different context to the one presented. I have never heard a book in this format before. The narrator doesn't use different voices for each person (there are too many so pointless trying) but he prefixes each snippet with the person's name. It works well and I soon more or less ignore the name and just treated it as one continuous story, which is essentially the idea behind the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Thompson
  • 10-21-18

Persevere with the quote nature or skip

The constant quote nature of the first couple of chapters is rather annoying. However, after these chapters it gets more narrated in nature so is more pleasurable to listen too.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joachim Maartens
  • 10-04-18

Silicon's inspiration

Memorable moment: looking ahead, past VR towards MR and coexistence with AI and robotics. Thoroughly enjoyable.