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Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! Paperback – January 5, 2016
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The New York Times says the book is "a lot of fun to read" and "an impressive feat."The New York Times also writes, "As Nicholas Carlson demonstrates in MARISSA MAYER AND THE FIGHT TO SAVE YAHOO!, a vivid account of her vertiginous career climb, Mayer is worth paying attention to for reasons that transcend gender. Carlson presents her as a complex personality who defies most stereotypes."―
"A corporate thriller [that does] a superb job of bringing to life the dramatic story of Yahoo."―The Financial Times
"A quick, compelling read...[one that] is, without question, a riveting lens from which to study Yahoo: There are ups, there are downs, there are heroes, and there are villains."―Fortune
"Good books about business and its leaders often come in two forms: a book with a message but without a gripping narrative to tell it, or a compelling narrative bereft of a message. In this extraordinary tale, Nick Carlson takes the reader on an amazing roller-coaster ride, traversing Yahoo's ups and downs, and in the end leaving us not just with memories of a thrilling ride but with wisdom. Once, Yahoo was King of the Internet. Over its two decades, Yahoo recruited able leaders who, despite previous successes, stumbled. Sometimes they were at fault. Sometimes they were defeated by forces Hercules could not control. Among the many virtues of this book is that Nick Carlson strives to understand, not punish, the amazing cast of characters in this long-playing drama. Memories will linger long after this roller coaster stops."―Ken Auletta, author and Annals of Communications writer, The New Yorker
"Nicholas Carlson has written the inside story of one of the most fascinating tech leaders of our time, Marissa Mayer, and one of the most frustrating Internet giants of our time, Yahoo. This is a fast-paced, compelling, and detailed account of Mayer's valiant efforts to turn round a company and culture that helped create the Internet as we know it.."―Richard Wolffe, executive editor, MSNBC.com, and author of The Message
"Before there was Google or Facebook or even Amazon, there was Yahoo. It was the Internet to many in the 1990s. But it has been sick for more than a decade. In this fascinating, deeply reported tale, Nicholas Carlson, for the first time, tells us why. It's an astonishing story of mistakes and missed opportunities polluted by a startling lack of vision almost from the beginning. If you want to understand what truly scares big shots running companies in Silicon Valley, read this book. They all worry about becoming Yahoo."―Fred Vogelstein, author of Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, and contributing editor, Wired magazine --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Nicholas Carlson is Business Insider's chief correspondent. His investigative reporting re-wrote the histories of Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon. His coverage of Yahoo won Digiday's award for "Best Editorial Achievement" of the year. Carlson is a frequent guest on CNBC and contributes to the Bloomberg biography series, Game Changers.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is fast paced and well written, taking the reader through each episode of Yahoo’s beleaguered history. I read this book, 341 pages, in one night, failing to put it down as each chapter kept my interest and excitement at how things were panning out. I knew of Yahoo’s many failures (attempt to buy Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc) but what I didn’t know was the real story behind those. Fascinating.
What was fascinating for me to learn was just how many CEO’s Yahoo went through that never knew technology - one never even used email! This was ultimately the failure that lead Yahoo to be where it is today; two founders that never had the business ambition of Page/Brin. Got the sense they were never really that passionate about the business.
Yahoo created the very industry that made it irrelevant. Netscape, an early pioneer under Jim Clark/Marc Andreessen, had the decency to call it a day and realize it was no longer in the game. Yahoo suffers the same fate, however, management have checked out, but HR haven’t been told so the payroll continues.
The sheer size of the company was staggering to learn, the amount of projects (400+) it was supporting, all with their own infrastructure and languages. There was no standard. No unifying business strategy. An example was Yahoo Photos competed with Flickr (an acquisition Yahoo made) for many years.
The only reason that Yahoo is still in the game today, is due to a $1B investment it made in Alibaba (the chinese online marketplace company) a number of years ago. This has resulted in Yahoo’s stock to be in excess of $37B. This is a good problem to have, however Yahoo’s stock is trading high not because of what it is doing back at home, but how it’s investment in Alibaba is doing.
The book is unfinished. Mayer is only just getting started in Yahoo and while it is easy to quickly snap to judgement I believe there is more to come on the Yahoo story.
This is a story, not a book. If you are looking for a page turner - the kind of story you will get through in a day - pick this up. The author tells the story in way that makes you feel smart and holds you in suspense. Adding this one to your mantle of conquered titles won't take long since you won't put it down.
Much like The Empire Strikes back, this is a cliff hanger, since the jury is still out on Yahoo's next phase.
The title and cover feature CEO Marissa Mayer prominently, but the real subject of the book is Yahoo- a company that has repeatedly been failed by its leadership. Mayer's chapter is unfinished, but, Carlson concludes, that it may represent another chapter of disappointment. The biggest revelation to me was the Board's repeated failure to make the right choices. Yahoo exists today despite these poor decisions, but things could have been much different. I will remain transfixed as Mayer continues here effort to transform Yahoo and return it to its past glory.
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