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The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  8,727 ratings  ·  381 reviews
In the weird glow of the dying millennium, Michael Lewis set out on a safari through Silicon Valley to find the world’s most important technology entrepreneur. He found this in Jim Clark, a man whose achievements include the founding of three separate billion-dollar companies. Lewis also found much more, and the result—the best-selling book The New New Thing—is an ingeniou ...more
Paperback, 349 pages
Published January 6th 2014 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1999)
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Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book which would be of interest to investors and to computer engineers. I read The New New Thing because Michael Lewis is one of the very best investigative journalists of our times. His research into the business side of Silicon Valley during the 1980s and 1990s provides information only those who read the scientific journals would have knowledge of. His biography of Jim Clark tells of his desire to design a robotic sailboat. This has now been accomplished. Students from the Universit ...more
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to fathom Jim Clark, whom this book is really about, lead three different Billion Dollar companies: Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon (WebMD). He and his companies are the focus of this book. The author also gives a heck of a review of the crazy times that were the late 1990s in technology but as well as the stock market. I think Biff Tannen (you know Biff from Back to the Future) would have been better off with this book than his Sports Almanac. Imagine knowing the exact comp ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“Never was a man’s love of risk so beautifully amplified by his environment as Clark’s was in Silicon Valley.”
― Michael Lewis, The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story


I did like Lewis' exploration of the relationship of Investment banking and the information technology companies that seemed to weed up in Silicon Valley during the late 90s. The normal venture technology relationship seemed to invert in Silicon Valley. Power shifted from the money men to the idea men, or perhaps not even the i
Jul 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donated
I think I was on a quest to read every Michael Lewis book at the time I read this. Dude. This book was straight awful. I figured Michael Lewis + Silicon Valley = great novel. Wrong. I remember it was vaguely about technology beginning it's rise, but I swear half of the book about some rich douche and his sailing escapade. Do not read. ...more
Philip Hollenback
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick and fun.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My least favorite of the in-depth Lewis books, but that's not saying much. Unlike Liar's Poker, which Lewis thought would bring sweeping change by bringing some sketchy practices to light but still rings true, The New New Thing feels dated now, 10 years later. Nonetheless, as someone who understood the late 1990s tech boom only peripherally, this book was insightful, both in terms of those companies' business models (or lack thereof, as the case may be) and some of the relevant personalities. (S ...more
Santhosh Guru
This my 4th stop on my journey to know more about the history of Silicon Valley. This book is about Jim Clarke and it gives me a perfect lens to view the history of SGI, NetScape, Healtheon (all of which was founded by Jim Clarke) through Michael Lewis' writing. It was a really an interesting book to listen to.

I was really suprised to hear Jim being quite scared off Microsoft as a competitor, but given the timeframe of events and the dominance of Microsoft in the PC market, it makes a lot of sen
Richard Block
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Hero Worshipping the Devil

Michael Lewis - one of my favourites - often centres his books around heroes - whether nice or nasty - and the New New Thing has his most blatant hero so far - Jim Clark. He is as repulsive as a hero gets, often confusing us with his selfish, ludicrous behaviour. Lewis falls for Clark like a high school sweetheart - blindly in love, yet somehow keeping enough of his senses to avoid being buggered to death.

Jim Clark is a genius, and as such invites our sympathy. Having a
Jul 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
A few tidbits about Jim Clark, and Silicon Valley. That's the only good thing in this book. The rest is a bore about his yacht, and the healtheon venture. ...more
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Quick read, like most of Michael Lewis' books, but it felt less engaging than others. But, despite this book being published over a decade ago, it's still relevant and provides a lot of interesting context for the beginnings of the tech industry as we know it today.

One main takeaway was how Jim Clark helped to shift the startup value system to favor labor (founders) and their ideas/execution over capital (VCs), but that's only true for some companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) but not for others,
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lewis, Michael, (1999) The New New Thing, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY. A witty and insightful look into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Silicon Valley, told as a story of the adventures of Jim Clark, a serial entrepreneur. One of the best books ever written on the Valley.
Maxim Shekhtman
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was a very good book about the internet browser startup craze in Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s. It described the rivalries between Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, which were the two main internet browsers back when the internet was still very new. I believe that a good theme for this book is that great ideas can set the standard for future products. I say this because Silicon Graphics allowed modeling cars, airplanes, and ships. This opportunity lead to dramatic improvem ...more
Travis Tuttle
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Reading this book in 2021 is like opening a time capsule. Very interesting read, and it was very cool to look up where the people mentioned in the book are now.
A Man Called Ove
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-sci-fi
This book felt like a stylish AB De Villiers innings on a flat track against a weak bowling attack. It looks good but doesnt feel good as u know it lacks substance. And you have seen much better by AB.
When I read GR reviews of this book earlier, I came across the same complaint :- This was Lewis' weakest, the style is good but it was unsatisfying. But, I read a couple of books by highly rated authors who called "Netscape" as something that really opened the floodgates of the Internet. And so, I
Mattaca Warnick
The New New Thing chronicles a few years in the life of Jim Clark, billionaire founder of Netscape and Healtheon. Part biography, part internet success story, The New New Thing doesn't have the same focus as Moneyball or The Blind Side, meandering from Clark's various business successes to his obsession with building a computerized sailboat. The book would have benefited from a stronger narrative thread. Lewis's efforts to coin a phrase ("the new new thing") also fall flat.

Ultimately, Clark is
Shivam Sharma
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what Michael Lewis does not emphasize enough in this book (and he should have) is the fact that this is not just yet another story of from rags to riches but the story of just how the mania of the internet bubble came to existence in the 90s and how that influenced not just the traditional investors, wall street bankers and the silicon valley then new venture capitalists.... it shows u how the technicians, the coders, the hackers, the wizards, the architects of the new world who were supposed to ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Lewis' style of writing and have thoroughly enjoyed this book. My personal interest in Web and it's history was one of the reasons why I picked up this book in the first place and although it follows the career of one man, Jim Clark, the founder of Netscape, I still found it very interesting. ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was interesting at points, but could have been much shorter.
Stefan Fergus
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* - good, but not nearly as good as Flash Boys and The Big Short. Interesting stuff.
Anand Kumar
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I came to the Silicon Valley in 2000, just before the crash. I witnessed the tail end of the boom and the prolonged bust. You could not spend an hour without someone day trading and making or losing a few thousand dollars each minute. I saw the overflowing BMW lot at El Camino and 237 swell and shrink and littered eventually with slightly old cars on fire sale. Stories of second mortgages invested in the stock market and crazy AMT left a mark.

I was 5 years too late to arrive and probably
Richard Seltzer
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you pick up The New New Thing, don't expect it to help you understand how the Internet business environment works, or how to create a successful Internet startup. For that kind of insight read books like The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, David Weinberger, and Doc Searls, The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond, and even High Stakes, No Prisoners by Charles Ferguson.

The New New Thing is really an old old kind of book, with more in common with biographies of 19th c
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A humorous and insightful look at Silicon Valley in the 1990s, through the eyes of the serial billionaire Jim Clark. I usually don't care at all for these kinds of biographical-type books on rich people, but the amusing and irreverent nature of Lewis' writing makes it more than bearable, especially since there is actual analysis and discussion about the political economy of Silicon Valley startups and venture capital and tech. You actually do learn something about how tech capitalism works by vi ...more
Hugh Rawlinson
Apr 28, 2021 rated it did not like it
The story is just another saga of the same old rich tech billionaires being shits. It’s a long “isn’t he interesting” piece about a guy who repeatedly managed to hack the stock market to enrich himself. Of interest to others, I’m quite sure, so if it sounds like your bag, I would say go for it.

That is, I *would* say go for it, if the text itself wasn’t pretty consistently indulging in horrific stereotyping of Indian software developers. There’s gratuitous talk of rooms “smelling like curry”, whi
Melissa Stacy
Published in 1999, "The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story," by Michael Lewis, is yet another delightful work of nonfiction by this author.

This book delves into the life of Jim Clark, a technology entrepreneur who helped launch the age of the Internet boom in the 1990s. "The New New Thing" examines Clark's personal history, his extremely adventurous daily life in the '90s, and his work founding Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon (which soon merged with WebMD).

I laughed a lot. I found
Ha Hoang
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Have always been a fan of Michael Lewis and this book did not disappoint! The story about one of the most active mind, “the least happy optimist in Silicon Valley”, from when he started his first company to when he stumbled and when he recovered. Through all ups and downs he managed to stay in touch with his determination and curiosity to fix things in this world.
Connor Gustafson
Aug 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Michael Lewis delivers (yet again) a thoroughly enjoyable story on the Silicon Valley boom in the 90s. The never ending search for the new new thing is as timeless as the people who chase it are mad geniuses.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Michael Lewis is a great storyteller but this one just didn't grab me as much as some of his other books have. ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this solely based on the fact that it was written by Michael Lewis. I had no idea what it was about. Guess what? I loved it. Perfectly written. The subject is Jim Clark (who I barely remember) and the internet boom of the late 90s, which goes hand in hand with the Wall Street bubble created around it (which I recall vividly). I especially appreciated the detail around the sailboat venture; as the daughter of a sailor I know just enough to confirm that Jim Clark is a lunatic!!
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the story of Jim Clark and how he started Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon, and myCFO. Clark helped shape the technology boom in Silicon Valley, from the 1970s on through the present. Oh, and he was fascinated with a big boat.
Ben Dubielak
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Michael Lewis is certainly one of my favorite writers. The story I didn’t find all that enticing, yet he drew me in and it became an easy read with his prose.
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Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

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