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The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: *God Doesn't Think He's Larry Ellison Paperback – November 11, 2003
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In The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison, author Mike Wilson delivers a fascinating and genuinely interesting portrayal of Silicon Valley's most notorious bad boy, constructed from hundreds of interviews with friends, colleagues, and those unfortunate enough to stand in Ellison's way. There are plenty of behind-the-scenes stories of the growth and worldwide success of Oracle, which Ellison founded in 1977. Plus, there's plenty of the good stuff: tales of Ellison's truly fast-lane lifestyle, filled with big boats, beautiful women, and celebrity friends. While this book probably won't transform you into a fan of Ellison's, you will be grateful for a chance to observe him--from a safe distance.
The punchline is "God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison," of course. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Academics are always shocked when I mention what really goes on in the business world and this book gives an up close look.
The author tried the address the book as a novel, skipping around in time and making it difficult to follow. You go from 1977 to 1989 to 1991 to 1984 to 1996 to ... (you get what I mean). Confusing.
This is the type of book that needed to be more linear in timeline or overlapping in timeline, but not arranged the way it was. Still, very enjoyable and worth the read for those that enjoy the behind the scenes action that shaped technology as we know it today.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book to any (technical) person who is considering working for a high-tech startup for the first time. This is the greatest and most accurate tale (at least in my experience) that is available of day-to-day life in a startup company. Some of the stuff that happens at these types of companies is SO WEIRD that you usually have to see it for yourself to believe it. This book gives a VERY GOOD look at "the weird stuff".
From the title onward, the disjunctive narrative is generously sprinkled with Wilson's "Yes, Master. Yes, Master." rationalizations and cooing adorations of Ellison. Be it Ellison's incessant prevarications and half-truths or be it Ellison's extravagant lifestyle, Wilson cannot even pretend to be objective about his subject.
This Igor-like devotion to Mr. Ellison, strains the credibility of the writer and the sensibilities of the reader if taken seriously. It should be obvious to Mr. Wilson, that the story of how Ellision made his billions in the software industry is one which worthy of being reported and one which people would want to read.
However, if the reader can suspend his/her annoyance at the predictably unctious and serflike writing style, the tale of Larry Ellison and Oracle's rise is one which unfolds with the all classical ingredients of the business start-up tale. There was the complementary business partnership between Ellison's marketing wizardry and Bob Miner's technical genius. There was the bit of luck that the entrepreneurs were able to bring IBM's own relational database research to market before IBM and parlay that into lucrative government sales. There were the problems with hyper growth and consequent setbacks, as well as Oracle's resilient comeback from apparent failure.
All in all, the subject matter manages to carry this software success story despite the narrator. Just a suggestion Mr. Ellison. The next time you commission an authorized biography about yourself, leave Igor behind. Check if Wallace and Erickson are available.
"The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison" is a 'must-read' for anyone considering buying a relational database management system, working in the industry, or for anyone who is simply wants to mercilessly crush their competition with mediocre products and high pressure sales tactics. Larry Ellison makes Machievelli look like Saint Francis. However, like Ghengis Khan, you have to admire his accomplishments.
The book is well written but compared to other biographies that I have read, does not capture and hold the reader. I found some of the chapters very hard going (particularly the discussions of in depth finance) but others held my attention well.
The book is worth reading merely for the information that it contains from realtives, friends and even interviews with Larry.