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Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins Paperback – October 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592404030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592404032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A"Tom Perkins is a man of extraordinary passions, among them deals, venture capital, entrepreneurs, ocean racing, vintage cars, and extraordinary women. Valley Boy is a heady mix of picaresque adventure and high finance - more fun than most novels - told in a charming, intimate style as if you were a privileged guest on one of Tom's legendary yachts.A" James Stewart, author of the bestselling Den of ThievesA"Perkins's account of the egos and tensions at play in the HP boardroom in early 2006 makes for an entertaining read.He writes with boyish enthusiasm and self-deprecating humour about his love of fast cars; his quest to build the Maltese Falcon, the world's most advanced sailing yacht; his fleeting marriage to Danielle Steele, the romantic novelist; his conviction for manslaughter in France after a disastrous yachting accident; and his own novel-writing project Sex and the Single Zillionaire."The Financial Times, 3 December 2007 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tom Perkins co-founded the leading venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 1972. He had previously served as administrative head of the research department and general manager of the computer division at Hewlett-Packard. Most recently, he joined the HP board of directors, retired, and officially rejoined the board days before Carly Fiorina’s firing. Also the author of Sex and the Single Zillionaire, he lives in the San Francisco area. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the book so much I have since given several copies away to friends.
Derrick G. L. Stevens
It was very slow and it seemed as if the author was not very interested in even his own story more so just his point of view.
Dylan
As an aspiring young entrepreneur, I found Tom Perkins' Valley Boy a most enjoyable read.
Alex Capecelatro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The good parts are great. But there are also slow parts. First of all, this is not a biography although it is a shortened version biography. The first two chapters cover controversial periods of his life where he wants to get his side of the story heard, most notably the HP board spying controversy overwhich he resigned. Once he gets this off his chest there are some exceptional short stories, particularly his career at HP of which I had no idea. Obviously this experience is how he became the wealthy venture capitalist through the invaluable experience in the growth of HP and his close access to Packard and Hewlett as well as the many other Valley stars who were there at the time.

Where this book loses its way or becomes less interesting is when the author branches in to subjects that are diverse and of interest to him but maybe not the reader. For example, his sojurn into writing a cheesy novel which I previously read may not be of interest. Or, a reprinted interview about his short-term second wife, novelist Danielle Steele may not be of interest. Particularly when he insinuates that the interview cannot be believed. One thing is for sure, if you have no interest in sailing, this boat is definitely not for you as that is his passion including a complete chapter on a favorite novelist specializing in Clipper ships who he befriends. This is about 1/3 of the book.

All these sections have their own interest but I cannot overstate the value of his business discussions about HP and subsequently starting the famous venture capital firm which made him incredibly wealthy. this covers about 33% of the book.

There is one part of the book that is not covered sufficiently, the story of his wife of over thirty years who dies of cancer.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Colleen10014 on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don't expect "Valley Boy" to be a full autobiography of Tom Perkins. He seems to be much too private to reveal the most intimate aspects of his life--his wife's death serves only as an introduction to a race he got involved in as a way of dealing with his loss, his children are barely mentioned, and his marriage to and divorce from novelist Danielle Steel is only dealt in a "celebrity interview"--but the stories he does tell are absolutely worth reading.

Writing about his beginnings as "one of American venture capitalist's founding fathers," a race that ended up with him being charged with manslaughter in France, his purchase (and help with the design) of the largest private sailboat in the world, fights at the San Francisco Ballet, or his resignation from Hewlett Packard, Perkins offers his stories with candor and (refreshingly for a man of his power and wealth) a sense of humor about himself. Even if you're not particularly interested in Silicon Valley or sailing, you'll enjoy this book, by a man who has lived a very full life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By dandy don on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tom takes the opportunity to get his view of events in his life on the record. Very doubtful as biography, this book is more of an attempt to sway public interpretation of events in his long career, spanning early years in Hewlett Packard, the formation of the Kleiner Perkins venture capital firm, his sailing exploits, his marriage to Danielle Steele, and how he chose to use his vast wealth to influence events and people he encountered. Right up front he deals with the spying incidents at Hewlett Packard when Pattie Dunn was the chairwoman (very condescending), as well as his relationship with Carly Fiorina (very confrontational and rocky), but most of it comes off as self-serving and slanted to his view. Yet, the book is interesting as an peek into the restless and eclectic mind of the ultimate bootstrapper, a man who leveraged his times and opportunites into one of the most successful careers on record. Despite this, it also serves as a warning to those who believe great wealth is matched with great wisdom, since clearly, his wealth was poured into his world class collection of toys and houses. Take heed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mj on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"I'm not a writer," claims Tom Perkins. But plop into a chair with "Valley Boy" and you discover a wonderful storyteller recounting an accomplished life pursued full sail. Perkins entertains with unique experiences from the top of the food chain, written in a friendly tone, often self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek.

By the end of the memoir, you feel you've spent a fine evening with Tom Perkins, that he is your friend. Yet, he drops plenty of hints that he can be an asshole, creating tension just by entering a room. And only penultimate self-absorption could spur a man to build a boat that far exceeds the dollar and technology equivalent of a Stealth bomber.

The fascinating aspect of this book is to question why anyone with such excessive wealth would share his life so openly. Yes, there is some effort to describe his past controversies in the most attractive light. (BTW, it's Raab not Robb). Yes, he flings some last dirt over his enemies. And maybe he senses his time has come, that he will soon succumb to a multi-generational heart murmur.

Perhaps he revealed his motivation when he admitted to the Commonwealth Club that he checks his Amazon reviews daily. Even as the most successful venture capitalist ever, Tom Perkins still needs validation. Like Citizen Kane, this fascinating Valley Boy needs a rosebud. Who can resist reading about a complex man like that?
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