Perhaps more than anywhere else, Silicon Valley in the latter part of the 20th century has come to represent the essence of the American dream. Its economy has resembled the various rushes and booms of the 1800s. The Valley is a unique place in a unique time, where just about anyone with a good idea, an aptitude for hard work, and a boatload of luck has a chance to make it big--really big. In The Nudist on the Late Shift, Po Bronson intends to capture the spirit of the Valley, leading us through a series of vignettes that takes us from a "near brush with sudden wealth" to a $400 million buyout; from life on the edge with a group of Java programmers to the plight of a futurist writer with the looming deadline for a 9,000-word article. For Bronson, the appeal of the Valley is this:
Every generation that came before us had to make a choice in life between pursuing a steady career and pursuing wild adventures. In Silicon Valley, that trade-off has been recircuited. By injecting mind-boggling risk into the once stodgy domain of gray-suited business, young people no longer have to choose. It's a two-for-one deal: the career path has become an adventure into the unknown.Like Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine, what makes Bronson's book work is a talent for narrative. He presents compelling stories about those who make it--for example, Ben Chiu (Killerapp.com, C/NET) and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail)--as well as those whom we'll never hear of again: the database salesman working on the "hockey stick" at the close of the quarter and the "kiss-ass entrepreneur" who's taken up COBOL programming to make ends meet. The Nudist on the Late Shift is for anyone who has wondered what life on the modern frontier is like--and for those who are already there, the reflection might be revealing. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Having satirized Silicon Valley in his novel The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Bronson now turns a much rosier eye on the pulsing heart of the information age. As Bronson examines the pursuit of high-tech entrepreneurial glory, his method recalls the way Robert Altman's Nashville gave moviegoers a sense of the chase for country music stardomAexcept there's very little pathos here and a lot of blue sky. Though he dutifully presents the long odds facing the would-be founders of the next Yahoo!, Bronson thrills to the culture of the Valley because he believes it fuses the often contradictory desires for security and adventure. "By injecting mind-boggling amounts of risk into the once stodgy domain of gray-suited business, young people no longer have to choose. It's a two-for-one deal: the career path has become the adventure into the unknown." Bronson clearly likes the wild-eyed optimists and masters of uncertainty he profiles. There's Sabeer Bhatia, the Indian-born founder of Hotmail, who established a company and, against the advice of more experienced heads, rejected several buyout offers from Bill Gates until Microsoft paid $400 million for Hotmail. There's the exec who let Bronson be a fly on the wall during the ulcer-inducing process of steering a company through an IPO. And there are the talented programmers, many of whom, though not yet 30, have Ancient Mariner-like tales of rejecting stock optionsAand thus forfeiting millionsAin companies that were bought or went public. Bronson is tuned in to the quirks of both personality and culture. His prose, often funny, maintains impressive velocity and is well suited to the manic life of the Valley and its colorful menagerie of characters. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The first few chapters were compelling, humorous and downright thoughtful. After that, the format became a bit tired. Read morePublished on March 17 2004 by doug1022
I enjoyed this book; I liked the way Bronson chose the themes for each Chapter, such as The Enterpreneurs, The Programmers, The Salespeople etc. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2003 by Keith Appleyard
'The Nudist on the Late Shift' is an above average commentary on life before/during the birth of the dotcom. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2002 by Travis J Smith
I felt this was a fairly interesting and relevant story. It seems that Bronson is trying to perform in the shadow of Michael Lewis and unfortunately finds himself as a second... Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2002 by "h20jock"
Well I'l leave that for you to figure out as to who and where the nudist is but I had fun reading this book. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2001 by Jeremy
For an industry that moves as fast as it does and for a stock market that is even more fickle you would think this book would only be relavant fow a month or two after its release. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2001 by Brian Doyle
This is a very good book. Po Bronson presents us a collection of stories that really gives the reader an insightful view of Sillicon Valley. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2001 by Luc Richard
Considering that somewhere in the book, the author throws statistics on the (low) percentage of people who go on to become the successes defined by Silicon Valley, the perspective... Read morePublished on Dec 10 2000