Automotive Deals HPCC Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Crown the Empire Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer harmonquest_s1 harmonquest_s1 harmonquest_s1  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis Enter for the chance to win front row seats to Barbra Streisand Segway miniPro
Customer Review

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy, pretentious and shallow is no way to write a book., December 30, 1999
This review is from: The New New Thing : A Silicon Valley Story (Hardcover)
A lot of the commentary on this book has focused on Jim Clark, the allegedly brilliant computer geek and machine-freak. Clark might be an interesting subject, but it will be left to another author to tell us why. To steal from Dorothy Parker, Lewis explains Jim Clark's life from A to B.
It's hard to criticize specific points of the book, because it attempts to achieve so little. In a biography it would be a sin to mention, as Lewis does, that the first 25 years or so of Clark's life cannot be discussed because Clark does not want to talk about them. The fuzzy bit about Clark apparently being married twice would be another sin, if it were a biography. But Lewis is not promising to tell the story of Clark's life. In the same way that Lewis claims Clark is not a scientist or an entrepeneur or a manager or a financier, his book is neither a biography nor a business case study nor a history of the Valley. Instead it is a shallow set of ramblings of Jim Clark stories as viewed through the eyes of our intrepid writer. Any incident not personally witnessed by Lewis is given short shrift, as he obviously has neither the time nor inclination to do actual research. Apparently, his editors didn't either. One egregious fact failure was his comment that Microsoft (no, despite being Redmond, I do not nor have I ever worked for the evil empire) is the largest company on the New York Stock Exchange. For a former investment banker (see "Liar's Poker") to confuse the NASDAQ with the NYSE is unbelievable, especially since it is widely known that the NYSE has been practically begging Microsoft to move its listing from NASDAQ to the NYSE since its IPO.
The book is also lazy. There is a scene where a team of people from Healtheon is explaining their strategy to some outside investors. Lewis writes that they were no more able to underastand software than he or his readers could. Well, Mr. Lewis, your job as a writer is to tell us stories and explain things for us. If you don't understand your subject I recommend that you leave this to writers who can.
The writing style is another annoying feature of the book (after reading about Clark I now feel to let my annoyance run free). Lewis mixes Hunter Thompson's first-person gonzo style (do we need to know that Clark invited Lewis onto both is yacht and his airplane?), with the repetition of "Bonfire of the Vanities" ("the new new thing!" "Masters of the Universe!"), and a very shallow simalcrum of "The Soul of a New Machine." All of these other authors give us more, and make better use of these literary techniques.
And that's the problem here. Clark and his companies are more than worthy to be the subject of a great book. When Tracy Kidder takes the time to write that book, I'll be first in line to buy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2015 2:50:53 PM PDT
Dirk Gently says:
What book were you reading? The New New Thing is not a minute-by-minute chronicle of any single human.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Redmond, WA United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 38,506,289