"This is the most important book on Silicon Valley I've read in two decades. It will take us all back to our roots in the counterculture, and will remind us of the true nature of the innovation process, before we tried to tame it with slogans and buzzwords." -- Po Bronson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nudist on the Late Shift and Nurtureshock
A candid, colorful, and comprehensive oral history that reveals the secrets of Silicon Valley -- from the origins of Apple and Atari to the present day clashes of Google and Facebook, and all the start-ups and disruptions that happened along the way.
Rarely has one economy asserted itself as swiftly--and as aggressively--as the entity we now know as Silicon Valley. Built with a seemingly permanent culture of reinvention, Silicon Valley does not fight change; it embraces it, and now powers the American economy and global innovation.
So how did this omnipotent and ever-morphing place come to be? It was not by planning. It was, like many an empire before it, part luck, part timing, and part ambition. And part pure, unbridled genius...
Drawing on over two hundred in-depth interviews, VALLEY OF GENIUS takes readers from the dawn of the personal computer and the internet, through the heyday of the web, up to the very moment when our current technological reality was invented. It interweaves accounts of invention and betrayal, overnight success and underground exploits, to tell the story of Silicon Valley like it has never been told before. Read it to discover the stories that Valley insiders tell each other: the tall tales that are all, improbably, true.
About the Author
Adam Fisher grew up in Silicon Valley playing Atari, programming computers, and reading science fiction. He now lives on an island in the San Francisco Bay and writes overlooking the water for Wired, MIT Technology Review, and The New York Times Magazine. This is his first book.
"This is the most important book on Silicon Valley I've read in two decades. It will take us all back to our roots in the counterculture, and will remind us of the true nature of the innovation process, before we tried to tame it with slogans and buzzwords."—Po Bronson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nudist on the Late Shift and Nurtureshock
"VALLEY OF GENIUS is its own kind of genius. Original in its construction, prodigious, funny, raw and polished, it is an amazing work of reporting from a skilled writer with an insider's love of Silicon Valley. You feel like you are in the room with some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds-men and women-of our time, listening to history in the making."—Julian Guthrie, New York Times bestselling author of How to Make a Spaceship
"The beauty of oral histories is that enough time has passed for people to say what really happened. And what really happened is one of the great stories of our day. Gripping."—Chris Anderson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Long Tail and Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
"A fantastic read! Adam Fisher's history of Silicon Valley is compelling and thorough, full of fascinating and inspiring stories carefully curated by someone who truly knows his stuff. Should be on every entrepreneur's desk!"—Ben Mezrich, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires
"VALLEY OF GENIUS is a blast-it's like eavesdropping on a huge party of all the hackers, thinkers and creators that built our digital world. Every page has some crazy detail I never knew before; I couldn't put it down."—Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think
"Much of the modern world was invented before the public noticed what was happening in the emerging Internet. Idealists and innovators worked together to invent the future that we live in now. VALLEY OF GENIUS is their story, told well, and I really enjoyed it."—Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
"The stories Adam Fisher weaves together in VALLEY OF GENIUS alone make the book a fascinating read: tales of heroic innovation, risk and reward, boom and bust cycles. But Fisher achieves something even more important with this 'autobiography' of Silicon Valley: an understanding of how momentous technological changes in society come about, and how they can sometimes surprise even their creators with their broader impact."—Steven Johnson, bestselling author of How We Got to Now
"Adam Fisher has given us an animated, incisive account of Silicon Valley history, with all of its iconic heroes and villains, told in a symphony of testimonials from the very people who had a seat at the revolution."—Brad Stone, bestselling author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts
"If you want to hear how technology changed the world, why not hear it from those who did the changing? VALLEY OF GENIUS captures the voices of a revolution as they tell the biggest story of our time."—Steven Levy, author of Hackers
"VALLEY OF GENIUS is the creation story of our digital universe straight from the sweaty, brilliant (and often surprisingly funny) gods themselves. A fast, fun, and important prose poem that runs Atari to Zuckerberg. This is like an oral history of rock n' roll, if only rock n' roll was half as creative, smart, dirty, or new."—Charles Graeber, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Nurse
"In VALLEY OF GENIUS, Adam Fisher tells the Valley's autobiography quote by quote from a remarkably complete cast of characters. The resulting tale is a thoroughly engaging ride though recent history as told by the technologists, investors, and hangers-on who have made the Valley the world's magnet for technology innovation."—John Markoff, author of Machines of Loving Grace
"Based on more than 200 interviews and bristling with facts, personalities, and gossip, [Fisher's] inside account brings to life the 'future obsessed and forward thinking' culture that gave life to our current digitized world...An immensely readable account of America's wild cauldron of innovation."—Kirkus (starred review)
"A lively oral history...Fisher captures the cultural lore of Silicon Valley in the voices of its more prominent players."—Publishers Weekly