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No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  50 reviews
No Better Time tells of a young, driven mathematical genius who wrote a set of algorithms that would create a faster, better Internet. It's the story of a beautiful friendship between a loud, irreverent student and his soft-spoken MIT professor, of a husband and father who spent years struggling to make ends meet only to become a billionaire almost overnight with the succe ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Da Capo Press (first published August 27th 2013)
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Brad Feld
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, technology
Yesterday I read No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet. It was awesome and I recommend it for any entrepreneur out there either working on a company or thinking about starting a company.

If you don’t recognize the name Danny Lewin there are two big things to know before you dive into this book. First, he was the co-founder of Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM – currently valued at $8 billion.) Second, he was likely the very first person
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Danny Lewis is not a household name but it should be. This is a man of genius who transformed the Internet and Molly Knight RASKIN's exceptional account should ensure his achievements will never be forgotten.
Born in America, he spent his formative years in Israel. He joined the army after graduation and went for the most elite of the Voluntary Units, the SAYARET MAKTAL. It had also the toughest training, rivalling that of the US Navy Seals and the British SAS. He pushed himself way beyond all th
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Danny Lewin was a bodybuilder, a former Israeli commando, and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lewin founded the Akamai Technologies Company after graduation from MIT. A very simple explanation of Lewin’s work is to say he developed a new way of routing network traffic that allows the major websites to deliver more content faster. This allows millions to read the same news story or watch the same internet video simultaneously. The proof of his suc ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
As an Akamai employee I knew some of this story well. Having never met Danny personally good legacy lives in to the point that I always felt like I knew him anyway. This is a must read for anyone who is working or worked at Akamai. Overall it's a great story about a man who changed the internet and most people don't even know who he is. ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Actually couldn't put it down, a rarity for non-fiction. ...more
Alok Kejriwal
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A page-turner, that will increase your heartbeat every flip. MUST-READ.

I heard about Akamai Technologies 13 yrs ago when I started my mobile games business & became their early Indian customers. I finally understood their magic AFTER this book!

Later Akamai was mentioned in the insider trading case of Rajaratnam / Rajat Gupta.

A real-life, super inspiring, tragic book that captures the INCREDIBLE life of Danny Lewin who 'saved' the Internet from crashing (hint: caching.) It's tragic 'coz Danny die
Bert Edens
From my book review blog at:

Via NetGalley, I received a copy of this galley from Perseus Books Group / Da Capo Press. While I received it at no cost to myself, I am under no obligation to give a positive review.

That said, I loved loved loved this book.

I imagine that most people outside of computer geekdom are probably not familiar with Danny Lewin or Akamai Technologies. But if you enjoy quick-loading websites with video streaming that doesn’t constantly l
Tom Donaghey
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finished reading this book a month ago and have been struggling with the words to express how I feel. This is a magnificent memorial to an exceptional person, a young man who excelled at everything he tried, who led with strength, courage and a stunning mental acuity. From a young age he seemed destined for something more than just an average life, and he exceeded expectations.
When his parents, both of whom worked in the medical field, decided to leave their home in Colorado and take Danny L
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No Better Time is the perfect mix of human interest, business and biography. The story is remarkable in its coincidence and complexity. The fact that the protagonist develops an algorithm to solve the "world wide wait" and has his technology proven on 9/11, the same day he becomes the first victim of the attacks, makes for a story that is as ironic as it is compelling. The author, Ms. Raskin, deserves huge credit for presenting the exceedingly complex world of MIT, theoretical math and the techn ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
While Akamai is a Boston based company that came out of MIT, I didn't know much of their history. The story was interesting. It was surprising to hear the ups and downs and how many times Akamai almost didn't make it. It was also fascinating to hear how the company largely succeeded based on the will power of Danny Lewin. The book's ending is bittersweet with 9/11 both taking Akamai's soul (Lewin) and at the same time, providing the test that the Akamai business needed to be able to show the res ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and previously untold story of a genius, his life's work and how it all collided in a bittersweet way on 9/11. I can't wait for Molly's next story, whatever it is! ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A tough technical start for an IT challenged reader...but a emotional, thoughtful finish. An amazing life and a remarkable legacy.
Richard Gartee
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Before I picked up this book I had never heard of Danny Lewin. I doubt most people have.
As a former software guy who lived through the dot com boom, I found this book fascinating. The author has done a credible job of minimizing tech-speak while explaining how the Internet works in the process of telling Lewin's story. She wisely focuses his biography on two main areas: his larger than life enthusiasm and the company based on his math genius. Although important to the story, his prowess in Israe
Erik Surewaard
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Impressive to read the story of Danny Lewin. Apart from his story, this book contains the story of Akamai; the company of which Danny was one of the cofounders.

I could have not been more amazed by the extremes that Danny Lewin lived in. Being both in the most right and wrong time and place in history. The right time and place is being at MIT at the start of the internet bubble; this leading to the start of Akamai. The wrong time and place is being in American Airlines Flight 11 on 9/11. One of t
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
solid coverage of cdn technology, but not a particularly good account of the cdn space/industry, especially given that it was published in 2013 and skips most of what transpired between 2001 and 2013. of course, this is entirely reasonable since the book is first and foremost about co-founder danny lewin, who died on 9/11 after an accomplished, eventful life tragically cut short.

traces of the classic 9/11 new yorker piece, "the real heroes are dead"

lighter note: the notion of a company trying to
Suzanne Hitcho
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest yet least known stories to come out of the 9/11 disaster. Worth reading as a reminder of how far we’ve come from the beginnings of the World Wide Web back in the early 2000s and to learn about the amazing life of scientist, Danny Lewin, whose breakthrough algorithm ensured the Internet didn’t crash on that fateful day and yet was undoubtedly the first victim on flight 11 out of Boston. Truly a remarkable story of the fateful life and loss of one of the most brilliant souls of ...more
Kenny Green
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Danny Lewin has such an interesting story. Most people don't know his story, but if he was still alive today he'd be one of the big names that everybody knows. Fascinating book. The book tells Danny's life story and explains his research breakthroughs that helped create the internet as we know it today. 4.5/5 ...more
john-Home compton
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

Very interesting book. I had seen with wire shark the name Akamai and wondered what it was. Heard about Akamai and Danny Lewin and it was a recommended read. Glad I did.
Matt Wheeler
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but it really draws you in. Working for a competitor of Akamai, I found it incredibly interesting how the space/technology began and developed. Great read.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book. A remarkable guy.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about a fascinating, brilliant man. Everyone should know this story and his role in 9/11.
Chris Craddock
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A True Titan of the Modern World

No Better Time tells a fascinating story about an extraordinary individual who was at the crux of three major historical events: The rise of the Internet, the rise and precipitous fall of the tech stock market, and the attack on September 11th. An American whose family had emigrated to Israel, Daniel Lewin had been trained in an elite unit of the Israeli Army before coming back to the US to study at MIT with Professor Thomas Leighton. He was a bit of a paradox: at
Fernando Rodriguez-Villa
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It's a remarkable story about a special person, a bit of a shame the writing wasn't a bit better. Too often it felt like a traditional business puff piece, which, if anything, detracted from the power of Lewin's story. I confess I didn't really understand what Akamai did and the book certainly helped with that. ...more
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
"No Better Time" is about exactly what the title suggests. Danny Lewin was a remarkable person, a genius, and the man with the idea that transformed the internet! (No it wasn't Al Gore! Although now I know what Al Gore did to make him say such a thing.) I thoroughly enjoyed this book! As I sit here using my computer, now I know a little bit about how it is possible to have such "high speed" internet. I not only learned so much about the internet, but I also learned what it takes to build your ow ...more
Teri Krieger
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Is there a way to give 1/2 stars? If so, I would say 3 1/2. Having spent most of my career in high tech and predominately with young companies and/or start-up, I was pulled into the story quickly and remained compelled to turn the pages, throughout. That said, there were a few points where I had to slog through a bit, but I always did as I was gripped by the larger story being told. I finished the book early one morning and it "sat with me" in my consciousness the rest of the day. Danny Lewin's ...more
Senthil Kumaran
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a personal history of Danny Lewin, founder of Akamai (my previous company). It is a story about Danny, told through his friends and his business colleagues. It celebrates his acheivements, his life in isreal army, his rise in both academia, tech industry and his contributions to the world, most important one being the company he founded when he was alive. Since it is a history about a person, the book has lot of jewish touch to it and has lots of customary references to the jewish cultur ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, judaism
Amazing story of Danny Lewin, without whom you would not even be reading this review. A genuine genius, Lewin was the man behind the scenes who created the architecture that holds up the internet. A mathematical genius, he solved the problem of web congestion through his study of algorithms at MIT.
This books documents not only the incredible story of Akamai, Lewin's company, but the backstory and characters populating a world rarely seen by the general public.

Danny Lewin was indeed an amazing ma
Susan Fonseca
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredibly well written. Reading about the amazing life of Danny Lewin, co-founder of Akamai Technologies, and the brains behind what made the internet what it is today was exciting and emotional.

I finished the book in tears as I wished I would've met such an extraordinary man. At Akamai, from day 1, as a new employee, you learn of Danny Lewin. His spirit definitely lives on in the culture of the company.

If you read biographies, are interested in technology or simply want to know w
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story of a mathematician, an idea, a company and a tragedy. Each chapter leads with a great quote, then goes on to tell yet another fascinating chapter of this driven entrepreneur.

What I liked best were the added bits, from personal life (the impact of Israeli military service and his own fathers devotion) to the idea (analogies help explain the algorithm fairly well) to the company (not just a simple who were the customers, but why and what problems did they solve).

I hope this author finds
Paul Weier
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I (or rather, my employer) am customer #95 of Akamai. It was interesting to see the flip side of a coin which tangentially I lived thru. Akamai was, and continues to be, a group of people who want to do something great, for themselves and their customers.

The thing that stuns me is the dichotomy of us using Akamai (flawlessly) thru 9/11 - a date that proved Mr. Lewin correct know.

The writing didn't thrill me, but the story of MIT/Akamai did. Read it.
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