Bryan Kim's Reviews > Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry-And Made Himself the Richest Man in America

Gates by Stephen Manes
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Jul 07, 2011

it was amazing

Incredibly well researched and detailed book, almost to a fault. The 460 page tome spares nary a detail or characters from the life and times of Bill Gates and Microsoft... so much so that it becomes specific names, projects and programs start "compositing" themselves into one another, difficult to keep track of individually. Still, the writing is supurb, following a tightly chronological timeline, and effortlessly tying in detail and contexts from a wide variety of primary sources. The narrative flow never gets bogged down in too much bibliographical concerns, and at times feels like a well written fiction.

More than the writing, the account is a fascinating look at a fascinating life in technology. The authors clearly have respect for their subject, but honestly present Gates in all this many quircks and insecurities. Great business book profiling the very uncertain dealings and situations that seem so storybook today, without ever casting Gates in a heroic or stereotypical mold.

Good quote from epilogue:
"Business? Business was interesting, but it certaintly wasn't pure, and as Gates told one interviewer, 'The business side is easy - EASY!' Businessmen were interesting, but Gates had no illusions about their general level of brilliance. For him, it was no contest, the reason he could sell them on almost anything. As former IBMer Ed Iacobucci said, "Put a middle manager on one side of the table and Bill on the other, who can deal with technical issues: WHo wins that deal?""
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