The New New Thing Book Summary - The New New Thing Book explained in key points
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The New New Thing summary

Michael Lewis

A Silicon Valley Story

Brief summary

'The New New Thing' by Michael Lewis is a biography of Jim Clark, the Silicon Valley billionaire and founder of Netscape. It offers insight into the fast-paced world of technology startups and the mentality of those who seek to disrupt industries.

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    The New New Thing
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    Jim Clark made sure tech engineers received their fair share of company profits.

    Before the advent of Silicon Valley, being a tech engineer in America would earn you about as much industry respect and pay as being a manual laborer.

    The engineer-turned-entrepreneur Jim Clark, who later founded three separate billion-dollar companies, experienced this firsthand, when his pay was reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars and he was denied stock options in Silicon Graphics, Inc. This was despite the fact that he himself had started the company in the 1980s, and his technical innovation – pioneering one of the first silicon-based graphics chips – had been instrumental in its success. 

    Understandably, Clark felt cheated, and he continually argued to his board of directors that the creative team at Silicon Graphics weren’t getting the recognition and pay that they deserved. 

    Later, once Clark had established his own companies, he made sure that his engineers were rewarded fairly by the very companies they helped to put on the map.

    Consider for instance Clark’s second company, Netscape. Although the investors and venture capitalists on its board of directors were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the engineers who’d joined by 1995 were worth at least $10 million each. For engineers to receive such rewards was previously unheard of in the tech industry.

    For example, fresh out of college and just 24 years old, the software engineer pivotal to Netscape's development, Marc Andreessen, became worth $80 million when the company went public on the stock exchange.

    Clark continued to follow this model throughout his career; ensuring that his tech engineers were rewarded richly for their skills. For example, at his third company, Healtheon, engineers were given almost a quarter of the company’s 69 million shares and, as a result, became multimillionaires.

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    What is The New New Thing about?

    This look into the life of Jim Clark, an entrepreneur who created three separate billion-dollar tech companies, is both wild and unbelievable. From his stubborn pursuit to build the world’s most expensive yacht to his boardroom antics filled with curse words and slander, it’s clear Jim Clark sees the business world unlike anyone else. Yet regardless of his unruliness, Clark’s brilliance has an unyielding magnetic effect on engineers and investors, making them just brave enough to risk their riches and blindly follow him towards the next big thing.


    The New New Thing Review

    The New New Thing (1999) by Michael Lewis explores the world of Silicon Valley and the unconventional success of entrepreneur Jim Clark. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With fascinating anecdotes and insights, it unveils the behind-the-scenes stories of the technology revolution, keeping readers engaged from start to finish.
    • The book sheds light on Jim Clark's unconventional approach to business, offering valuable lessons on risk-taking, innovation, and the pursuit of new ideas.
    • Through meticulous research and interviews, Lewis provides a comprehensive understanding of the fast-paced and competitive world of the tech industry, making it a compelling read for enthusiasts.

    Who should read The New New Thing?

    • Anyone who wants to know how Silicon Valley became a tech powerhouse by the 90s
    • Anyone interested in the life and mindset of one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs
    • Anyone fascinated by the way big businesses operate behind the scenes


    About the Author

    Michael Lewis is a financial journalist and writer who has published fifteen nonfiction books, of which eight were national bestsellers in the United States. In 2011, Lewis’ book Moneyball was turned into a major film starring Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s currently a contributing editor to Vanity Fair.

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    The New New Thing FAQs 

    What is the main message of The New New Thing?

    The main message of The New New Thing is the importance of innovative thinking and taking risks in the ever-changing world of technology.

    How long does it take to read The New New Thing?

    The reading time for The New New Thing varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The New New Thing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The New New Thing is an engaging and insightful book that provides a deep understanding of the tech industry. It's definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of The New New Thing?

    The author of The New New Thing is Michael Lewis.

    What to read after The New New Thing?

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