PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... happily—this is a book about Silicon Valley. It is a record of a single app moving through the place. And in making that record, in hewing closely to Instagram and its founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, while giving new texture to the Valley’s major players, like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, Frier tells the story of how that place works ... The book manages to be cleareyed and objective about the founders and their many flaws, without sensationalizing or oversimplifying—a hard balance to strike in tech coverage right now. Their backdrops are hilarious: Basically all of the corporate drama in the book happens around fire pits, at themed bars or twee espresso spots, in hot tubs and at Lake Tahoe. But mostly fire pits ... Now that that company—and the pleasure it brings us—are so deeply entrenched in the ever-growing behemoth that is Facebook, we need a book like this to explain what it is I’m tapping on all day. I spend hours staring at the screen, and now I have a better sense of who’s staring back.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewWith an anthropologist’s eye, [Thompson] outlines [coders\'] different personality traits, their history and cultural touchstones ... By breaking down what the actual work of coding looks like—often pretty simple, rote, done in teams rather than by loner geniuses—he removes the mystery and brings it into the legible world for the rest of us to debate. Human beings and their foibles are the reason the internet is how it is—for better and often, as this book shows, for worse ... It’s pleasing as he picks up each Silicon Valley cliché, each canard rarely questioned, and dumps it into this wood chip machine ... The new Brahmins lose their power if everyone knows what’s behind the curtain, and that seems to be Thompson’s goal with this book. Algorithms are human tools, not magical spells.