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How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets [Paperback]

Andy Kessler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 14, 2005

Best-selling author Andy Kessler ties up the loose ends from his provocative book, Running Money, with this history of breakthrough technology and the markets that funded them.

Expanding on themes first raised in his tour de force, Running Money, Andy Kessler unpacks the entire history of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, from the Industrial Revolution to computers, communications, money, gold and stock markets. These stories cut (by an unscrupulous editor) from the original manuscript were intended as a primer on the ways in which new technologies develop from unprofitable curiosities to essential investments. Indeed, How We Got Here is the book Kessler wishes someone had handed him on his first day as a freshman engineering student at Cornell or on the day he started on Wall Street. This book connects the dots through history to how we got to where we are today.


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This pasted-together romp through 300-odd years of technological advancement and financial development reads as it is billed: material cut from the manuscript of Kessler's 2004 book, Running Money. Per the brief foreword, Kessler's aim is to provide a list of "five simple creeds" that have helped him "explain the explainable" and "peer into the fog of the future": lower prices drive wealth; intelligence moves to the edge of the network; horizontal beats vertical; capital sloshes around seeking its highest return; and the military drives commerce and vice versa. His proof is delivered in a whirlwind tour of the industrial and digital revolutions. The first half of the book is a game of hopscotch through the Industrial Revolution and the evolution of early capital markets. The second half tells the story of the computer era and the growth of today's capital markets. Sandwiched between the two is an oddly abbreviated two-chapter section, 10 pages in all, that covers the development of the telegraph, telephone and power generation. Kessler returns to his "simple creeds" here and there, but the only real unifying force is hokey, techy wisecracks. The result is rehashed history often bewilderingly unconnected in theme and chronology, though many individual anecdotes are well told. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

After turning $100 million into $1 billion riding the technology wave of the late 1990s, Andy Kessler recounted his experiences on Wall Street and in the trenches of the hedge fund industry in the books Wall Street Meat and Running Money (and its companion volume, How We Got Here). Though he has retired from actively managing other people's money, he remains a passionate and curious investor. Unable to keep his many opinions to himself, he contributes to the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and lots of Web sites on a variety of Wall Street and technology-related topics, and is often seen on CNBC, FOX, and CNN. He lives in Silicon Valley like all the other tech guys.


Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (June 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060840978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060840976
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer on the American Economy October 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mr. Kessler weaves a fantastic narrative describing how technology and markets grew separately and together to create the engine for the dramatic economic material advancement of the modern western world. With the way politicians talk about Wall Street today you would think exchanges and the traders are sucking all the productive capacity out of the labor force, when in fact, those exchanges provide the fuel to allow innovation to realize its massive potential by enabling many investors, small and large, to pull their resources together (and share the risk) to fund very large development and production initiatives.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in factors that enable productivity growth at the macro level.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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An easy to read history of the development of modern technology since 1600.
One does not have to agree entirely with the author's thesis to enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summary of the history of technology March 20, 2016
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I found the book easy to read and full of factually based explanations for many of the technologies we take for granted originated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Fascinating to see how products evolved as inventions can together and compounded over time
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars September 21, 2016
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Interesting take on historical developments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work October 19, 2012
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I'm a fan of Andy Kessler. I've read Grumby and Eat People, and I loved both of them. This book seemed a bit disjointed. I feel there were some gaps with the story he was presenting. I plan on reading his other books, but I doubt if I would recommend How We Got Here.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the doctor ordered June 27, 2005
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Andy, you finally did it. In the nearly 20 years we've been friends, you finally answered my most frequent question. Find me a book that could help a business graduate better understand technology. He not only let me know, but he wrote the book. Written to help engineers better understand the economics of their wares, it helps me better understand the engineers. My first position out of business school was with Honeywell, where I was one of, if not the first, non-engineer to sell electronic components. The results were outstanding, as marketing trumped engineering skills. Andy's book now helps me with my understanding of technology again as a securities salesman.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story telling about history. September 15, 2005
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Kessler has the unique ability to tie the history of finance, technology, and Wall Street shenanigans into a great tale. This book would make a great introductory textbook for highschool and college students about "How We Got There". The book is a fun read, and I learned a great deal about history. The underlying cautionary tale is to remember nothing is new, history just repeats itself; the same mistakes about "this time it is different" occur every time a new technology emerges.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
If this book does not include "Lewis Howard Latimer" in relation to Edison it's complete garbage
Published on October 12, 2014 by Jonathan White
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
kind of boring.
Published on July 21, 2014 by Ting-Yi Lin
5.0 out of 5 stars Used to be free on his website - Now for sale? Is this reallly...
Andy wrote a book that was an early part of my education in becoming one of the best traders I've ever met or known. Read more
Published on April 10, 2014 by AMRJS
3.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, little boring, hardly financial
Judging from the subtitle, it was in the 'investing' section of the bookstore and the author has written 'financial' books before....... Read more
Published on August 22, 2010 by Stephen Samperi
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have been much better.
I really liked this book, it was good, but it could have been much better. The author does a good job telling the story of technology and the stock markets but I think that better... Read more
Published on May 25, 2010 by Christopher Obert
5.0 out of 5 stars How we got here
This is book is priceless. That is the only term I have for this book, nothing else. It is the book that any college student would want to own in his first year. Read more
Published on March 7, 2009 by Sree
1.0 out of 5 stars A hack job, at best
Having enjoyed Wall Street Meat, I figured this was worth a try. Indeed, since that book was biographical he actually had something to say. Read more
Published on December 13, 2008 by jumpy1
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