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Geek Silicon Valley: The Inside Guide To Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose, San Francisco Paperback – November 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
The Real Silicon Valley
Some people say that Silicon Valley is a state of mind, but the cultural trends that drive us today were actually born in a very real place―the garages and back rooms of the cities between San Francisco and San Jose, California. Geek Silicon Valley delivers Silicon Valley history, taking us from success story to failed start-up and back again as we drive the roads from Menlo Park to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara.
Place by place, readers get the background info on all the addresses that count: Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Stanford University, NASA Ames, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Santana Row, Genentech, and many more.
Journey through a circuitry of places and people―and the stories that created today’s high-tech lifestyle―with Geek Silicon Valley.
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Top Customer Reviews
I've lived in the Valley for nearly 15 years, and yet learned a fair amount from this book, including several places to visit that were new to me. There were only a few curious omissions: e.g., Halted gets a mention, but Fry's does not; neither does Buck's in Woodside; and surely Frank Drake should be mentioned in the section on the SETI Institute? - but otherwise the text is remarkably accurate, despite having condensed many complex histories, each worthy of a book in its own right, into paragraphs or pages. Vance clearly did his homework. My only historical quibble is with his description of the demise of SGI. I thought it was mainly done in by cheap graphics chips from Nvidia and the like; Itanic was just the icing on the cake.
The book mentions his web site and claims additional information can be found there, but so far there isn't anything new. Hopefully that will change over time. Another concern is that quite a bit of the information in the book will date fast; I hope Vance and his publisher refreshes the text (or the website, or both) regularly.
If you live in the Valley, visit the Valley, or you just want to know what the heck the place is about, this book is for you. And if you're a geek too, it's a must-read.
Overall this is solid book that will be of interest mainly to real geeks and those interested in silicon valley history. My favorite parts of the book by far are the ones that tell the history of the various tech companies and personalities.
The formatting is terrible on the Kindle version of this book due to the sidebars. It makes it disjointed and hard to follow at times. I constantly felt like I was re-reading what I had read.
Forget Yosemite, O Traveller. If you want to see how America works in the 21st century, go to Silicon Valley... aka Geek heaven. See the connections.
And what connections they are!
Ashlee Vance is an online journo who has written a lively account of the early history of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View and San Jose and noting the overriding impact of nearby San Francisco. He provides an easy to follow guide to these places together with a lively discussion of the early pioneers like Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.
This book is designed for the curious traveler, indeed the geek traveler, rather than the academic scholar, and, it gives a very good overview of the various small cities that make up "the valley". There is a listing of other Silicon Valley books at the end of the publication, a list of other nerdy sites to look at but no list of restaurants (Don't nerds eat at all?) plus an index. Sadly, the book is spoilt,however,by the poor quality paper used in this edition.
Minor quibble, the book suffers from "young journalist syndrome," where its history, anecdotes and insights are a synthesis of the bibliography in the back. However, kudos to the author for reading more valley history than 99% of other writers. He is headed for greatness when he finds his own voice.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good job by the author at depicting Silicon Valley. It is a good intro to the surrounding area and history of Silicon Valley.Published on February 19, 2014 by Dennis
This is an off-key tour guide that focuses on the history of technology in the Bay Area, with a central focus on San Jose and the southernmost cities of the Peninsula (PA, MP,... Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by Ryan Mease
This book was gifted to me.
If you wish to know more about the history of the Silicon valley and why its the only bay in the world with all major technology companies present... Read more
This proved to be an excellent companion for a few days driving around Silicon Valley -- well-written, with lots of back stories on the personalities and events that shaped the... Read morePublished on December 31, 2011 by Tahl
I found this book very helpful on a recent sightseeing trip to Silicon Valley. If you are interested in a basic history of the Valley, this is a good place to start. Read morePublished on July 31, 2011 by Joanna Whitmire
Great introduction to some of SV's rich history. This is a base starting point , but there is so much more that this book doesn't cover. Wish it was double the size.Published on February 23, 2011 by vincent himpe
Great overview of the valley history and key players who influenced the culture and its success. Ashley's recommendations on restaurants are eclectic and fun as well. Read morePublished on January 12, 2008 by Lawrence Laurich