Cover image for The silicon boys and their valley of dreams
The silicon boys and their valley of dreams
Kaplan, David A., 1956-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [1999]

Physical Description:
358 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9696.A3 U56284 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order




Jerry Yang
The chief Yahoo of Silicon Valley and ultimate Internet tycoon...the poster boy for immigrant success who went from pennies to millions to'd say Yahoo, too!

John Doerr
The J. P. Morgan of the Valley...the man Bill Gates fears most...bankrolled Netscape and man so wired he has a cell phone built into his ski helmet.

Marc Andreessen
The hottest, coolest, hungriest techno-weenie of his generation...his invention unleashed the World Wide Web and made him a multi-millionaire at twenty-four.

Bill Gates
Darth Vader, Godzilla, "the Leona Helmsley of technology"--he's the guy everybody loves to hate...the richest man in the galaxy and leader of the Evil Empire known as Microsoft.

Jim Clark
Founder of Netscape, daredevil pilot, and owner of the world's greatest cyber-yacht...the serial entrepreneur: "If at first you succeed--try, try again."

Steve Jobs
The prodigal son of Silicon Valley...started Apple Computer, got kicked out, then returned...arrogant, petty, a master marketer--the guy they hate to love.

PLUSThe Valley's No. 1 adolescent...the programmer who could've beaten Bill Gates...Andy "the Mad Hungarian" Grove of Intel...the weirdest town in Silicon Valley...and where to buy eighteen-dollar-a-pound ostrich salami.

It is an American icon -- the symbol of technological genius and ineffable wealth. It is the home to the Newest New Thing, where the digital age was born and keeps remaking itself. It's also the only place in the world where you can buy eighteen-dollar-a-pound ostrich salami. It is, of course, Silicon Valley.

Now prize-winning Newsweek journalist David A. Kaplan takes us on a riotous romp through the history and culture of the Valley. How did Yahoo get started, what nearly killed Netscape, will Apple survive, who's the most powerful person in Silicon Valley? Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jerry Yang, Larry Ellison, Andy Grove, John Doerr, Jim Clark -- the tycoons, the loons, and the hot-air balloons are all here. Based on firsthand accounts and extensive interviews, The Silicon Boys is a portrait of high-tech high jinks and its moneyed lifestyle like no other.

If the Valley were a nation, its economy would rank among the world's twelve largest. Depending on yesterday's stock market close, roughly a quarter-million Siliconillionaires live in the Valley. Here they invented the microchip and video games and Internet commerce. But more important, they created a state of mind that's become part of the American imagination. The Valley has its admirable moments, its venal moments, and, best of all, its absurd ones.

Author Notes

David A. Kaplan is a senior writer for Newsweek. His cover stories have ranged from technology to movies to capital punishment to baseball. An escaped lawyer, he lives with his wife and two sons north of New York City.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In the same way that Tom Wolfe skewered 1970s "radical chic" and 1980s greed, Kaplan takes on the cultural absurdities and excess that typify, as he sees it, Silicon Valley in the 1990s. Kaplan is a senior writer covering technology and society for Newsweek. The picture he paints of Woodside, California, as the Beverly Hills of High Technology is not a pretty one. There are ad nauseam the catered children's birthday galas organized by tony party planners, extravagantly themed social galas, jealousies both petty and grand, and imported toilet fixtures from Japan. Wives are compared to trophies; second (or third) wives are upgrades! Things, though, weren't always this way. Kaplan informatively and entertainingly chronicles the history of Silicon Valley, tracing its roots back through the 1930s, when David Packard and Bill Hewlett were just starting out, to 1909, when Palo Alto's Federal Telegraph Company developed the first vacuum tube amplifier. Now, though, venture capitalists and initial public offering specialists outnumber the fruit groves and canneries that used to dot the region. --David Rouse

Publisher's Weekly Review

While Po Bronson's The Nudist on the Late Shift (Forecasts, June 7) delves into the daily life of Silicon Valley's hungry strivers (some of whom succeed), Kaplan takes a broader view and focuses on the menÄand the Valley bigshots are almost all menÄwho have already become legends and made Silicon Valley into the "Valley of the Dollars." As Kaplan sees it, men like workaholic venture capitalist John Doerr, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon) pay lip service to the Valley ethos of innovation while relentlessly searching for the quickest way to the next buck. In addition to his rough handling of figures accustomed to VIP treatment, he takes a historical perspective, looking back further than the 1970s, when the area earned its name, all the way to the 1930s, when two prized pupils of Fred Terman, a Stanford professor commonly thought of as the "Father of Silicon Valley," started a company. Their names were David Packard and Bill Hewlett. Kaplan, a senior writer for Newsweek, salts his story with tart observations of Valley culture: Where else, he asks, is there a "junior-high curriculum that teaches basic skills in How to be a Millionaire. Every year the first math assignment for seventh-graders is spending one million hypothetical dollars and plotting it on a spreadsheet." Mixing history, reportage and healthy irreverence, Kaplan gently punctures the Valley's most cherished myths about itself, and, in a nod to Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, concludes somewhat wistfully that "the machine has no soul anymore." (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prologue: Woodside 94062p. 1
I. Dreamsp. 13
II. Genesisp. 29
III. Beliefp. 55
IV. Prophetsp. 79
V. Ozp. 119
VI. Moneyp. 155
VII. Profitsp. 185
VIII. Mozillap. 217
IX. Godzillap. 255
X. Yahoop. 303
Epilogue: Lincolnville 04849p. 323
Acknowledgmentsp. 333
Sources and Bibliographyp. 337
Indexp. 343