The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley

Po Bronson

ISBN 10: 0767906039 / ISBN 13: 9780767906036
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: First ] Publisher: Broadway Pub Date: 5/2/2000 Binding: Paperback Pages: 288 First edition. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: As a novelist and writer for Wired and other publications, Po Bronson has earned a reputation as the most exciting and authentic literary voice to emerge from Silicon Valley. In his national bestseller The Nudist on the Late Shift he tells the true story of the mostly under-thirty entrepreneurs and tech wizards, immigrants and investors, dreamers and visionaries, who see the Valley as their Mecca. Taking us inside the world of these newcomers, brainiacs, salespeople, headhunters, utopians, plutocrats, and innovators as they transform our culture, The Nudist on the Late Shift is a defining portrait of a new generation in the whirl of an information revolution and an international gold rush.

Po Bronson is the author of two novels and one book of nonfiction. Bombardiers, a dark satire of high finance, was an international bestseller that was translated into twelve languages. The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, soon to be a feature film from 20th Century Fox, is a comedy of Silicon Valley.  His third bestseller, The Nudist on the Late Shift and Other True Tales of Silicon Valley, demonstrates that Bronson's wit and imagination apply as well to nonfiction as to fiction.

Review: 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

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