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The Silicon Boys: And Their Valley of Dreams
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688179061, Paperback)Pop quiz: Where are American kids taught the nuances of being millionaires as part of their junior high curriculum? Where do guests at a posh outdoor party grouse about the defects of high-end flushable Porta-Johns? Where does a school auction rake in $439,000? The answer: Silicon Valley, of course. David A. Kaplan captures all that excess and more in The Silicon Boys.
Kaplan's book is a history of the Valley, from the time when Stanford professor Frederick Terman encouraged David Packard and Bill Hewlett to establish their own company to when Sequoia Capital invested $1 million in a startup founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo. In between are the many Valley legends, including Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Kleiner Perkins, Apple, Oracle, and Netscape--as well as some of its most notable failures and tragedies, such as William Shockley and Gary Kildall. While the book begins with the opulence of Woodside, California, it ends surprisingly enough in Portland, Maine, with Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, who fled the Valley for something "fresher" and "more alive."
As he traces the short history of the area, Kaplan, a senior writer at Newsweek, detects a not-so-subtle change in its values. He writes, "Nobody appears to be having quite as good a time in Silicon Valley. Passions have become mere professions; impulsiveness is now compulsiveness.... The Valley once was a new machine. It changed the world. It may do so yet again. But the machine has no soul anymore." Here's a thoughtful and colorful read for anyone interested in one of the most dynamic places on the planet. --Harry C. Edwards
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:31:34 -0500)
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