- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 29, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001H071HC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
To my utter surprise, the book was not only entertaining, but it brought to my attention some facts about the world that I live in that I had never fully realised:
1) You can choose to be a down and out misfit on the road to nowhere, or you can choose to show 'em all and make something of your life
2) Having decided to do something, there is no actual limit to how big you can think
3) An individual can actually swing the entire economy and all of its big established companies around to a different agenda and different competitive landscape
4) If you are blessed/cursed with the kind of mind that loves to dwell in "pure possibility", is never satisfied with the way things are and can always see how they could be, do what Jim Clark does - get on with changing the world! Actions speak louder than words.
5) Engineers have finally realised that they should be more fairly compensated, relative to the amount of value they create in the economy. The consequence of this is that financiers, who really don't understand what or how an engineer does what he does, must now compete to get a piece of the action. A financier, even if he has infinite money, cannot personally create anything of tangible value with his financial skills. Contrast this to what an engineer with good skills can create and you realise that what really counts is the creation of tangible things that make the human condition somehow better. This realisation is driving the new new economic realities - engineers can build a better world, financiers can only pay for them to do it.
6) You don't have to be especially bright or gifted to change the course of business history, but if you are, you owe it to yourself and others to use those gifts to the best advantage you can
So, all things considered, this book was a revelation and an especially welcome pleasant surprise.
There were two parts of the book I particularly loved: First, the part on the engineers from India was compelling. These kids grow up on the brink of starvation and work their tails off to make it to Silicon Valley to seek their dreams. The book keenly demonstrates how Jim Clark is able to harness these kind of people and let their talents operate in the most productive way, and also make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Second, the best part of the book was the second to last chapter, about how Jim Clark came from absolute poverty in Texas. Clark had to defend his mother from his drunken father, and his mother had only $5 a month after the bills were paid. The book keenly demonstrates how Clark's sense of anarchy and adventure led him to rise far above the hand he was dealt in life.
The story of how Clark has made 3 different billion dollar companies is amazing, and even more amazing is that he is using his talents to create a fourth company instead of only sailing his crazy boat.
You'll learn a lot when you read this book, it will inspire you, and you'll enjoy it. Read it soon, before the next new new thing makes it irrelevant.
Explaining the how's, why's, and differences between the old way of doing things and the new (or new new) way of doing things can be tricky, because it assumes you have some understanding of how the old (or old old) way of doing things works. I'm not a Wall Street investor, but I felt not only capable of understanding Lewis' framework of explanation, but I felt like I could extrapolate deeper meaning from it. He manages to paint fascinating pictures of all the people involved in the pursuit of the new new thing and how their constellation manages to orbit itself as it becomes standard operating practice in the growing tech industry.
I also felt like I could better understand how the minds of billionaire "executives" (as Lewis points out, Jim Clark wasn't exactly sure how to describe exactly what it was he does) and how they anticipate the next new new thing, why it interests them, and how quickly it starts to lose their interest. If you can understand someone like Clark, you can start to understand the industry.
Although I doubt commercial interest warrants, this book could use an updated epilogue, particularly surrounding Healtheon/WebMD, which I have to think does not at all match the original vision.
As usual, very well written and engaging; always the case with Lewis. I didn't find Jim Clark as sympathetic as I think I was intended to, and as a result some of the chapters focused on him personally (especially his flying a helicopter, and sailing his boat across the Atlantic) dragged a bit.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was originally published in 2000 and written over the course of the previous...Read more
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