MixedThe Washington PostLepore, a Harvard professor and New Yorker writer, unearths decades of archival evidence to support the book’s bold claim that Simulmatics is \'a missing link in the history of technology\' ... But Lepore is less convincing when she claims that Simulmatics \'incubated\' modern-day Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Palantir and Google ... If Then may be most instructive as a parable for well-intentioned technocrats: the \'What-If Men\' who ask questions about how the world could be improved but bristle when those same questions are asked about their own impact on the world.
RaveWiredIsaac’s meticulously reported account still finds jaw-dropping new lows ... an essential read, functioning, in a way, as a reverse translation engine—techspeak to plainspeak—to decode the industry’s dizzying ascent over the past decade, to the point where decisions made by a roomful of men on Market Street now have the power to change the face of a city or dictate wages and tips (or lack thereof) for millions of drivers ... avoids the easy option of villainizing Kalanick ... Compared to the vividly rendered blow-by-blows of Kalanick’s power struggles with his investors, the passages of context are hand-wavy about the tech industry\'s flip from utopianism to disillusionment. When Kalanick’s employees finally turn on him, it’s unclear whether it was out of genuine ethical crisis or because working for Uber now failed \'the Bay Area cocktail party test\' ... [a] fair-minded book.
PositiveWired...as much as these professional entrapments might seem like dotcom-era phenomena, the practice of sweetening the deal for tech employees dates back to the ’70s as a way to ward off labor unions ...That insight is just one of many in Berlin’s new book, Troublemakers. While piecing together a timeline of the Valley’s early history — picture end-to-end sheets of paper covered in black dots — Berlin was amazed to discover a period of rapid-fire innovation between 1969 and 1976... Contrary to assumptions that Silicon Valley has always been hostile to women, Berlin points to a highly publicized push in the late ’60s to make tech more inclusive.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...the most comprehensive narrative thus far. The cast of characters has been established over the years since Ulbricht’s arrest, but Bilton’s impressive reporting gives more space to a story that could use some sprawl ... Bilton’s focus is on the hunt, and the book seems determined to sustain the suspense, even when it’s baked into the plot. Many chapters end with a cliffhanger, which adds a cinematic quality but veers into pulpy true crime when it feels like there’s more pathos at stake ... Ulbricht’s rise and fall is like the start-up hero’s journey reflected in a black mirror.