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Schmidt, Page, Brin, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, Bezos: Read About Them All

Summer 2012. Holiday time for millions. MBF Blog keeps a watching brief on the summer technology/social/hot topic stories you might want to keep in touch with…..

To while away those lazy, hazy days of summer holidays (whatever the weather) on beach, mountainside, city or caravan, some useful reading is recommended for our readers.

Additionally, to find out about the computer/internet giants of our age may be time well spent for our budding entrepreneurs and those who enjoy researching the lives of others.

From books to films, from harsh truth to gossip, the successful dynamos of the digital era are subject to more public scrutiny than a wayward politician or overrated footballer.

MailBigFile gets in on the act with this round-up of research material that is informative at one level to downright salacious at the other.

Bill Gates: The Top Ten Books

Variously described as the youngest self-made billionaire in history, Gates’ story from Harvard drop-out to a seat at the top table of the rich and great is a great read. Depending, of course, on who does the writing and from what viewpoint.

There are many books about Gates, some authorised, some not. Barbarians Led By Bill Gates: Microsoft from the Inside by insiders Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller seeks to lift the lid on the company history from the early 80s to the present with ‘juicy bits of gossip and humour’. Highlights include the Netscape vs Explorer wars and Microsoft’s trial with the US Justice Department.

Des Dearlove’s Business the Bill Gates Way offers the business secrets in a motivational way that the reader can apply to him or herself. Bill Gates by Jeanne M Lesinki is an overview, an easy read packed with photos and shedding light on his childhood as well as his latest charity.

Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace by James Wallace focusses on 1992-97 with the browser wars treated ‘like a good spy novel’ when he ‘captured the internet highway’. Wallace teamed with Jim Erickson to produce Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, which is an unofficial look software programming tactics, managers spying on staff emails and allegations of abusive behaviour against female workers.

Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews wrote Gates: Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry as a ‘bracing, comprehensive portrait of the industry, the company and the man.’ Bill Gates Speaks by Janet C Lowe has transcribed Gates’ own words from articles, essays, interviews and newscasts that tell much about the inner man.

Bill Gates’ Personal, Super-Secret, Private Laptop by parody writers Henry Beard and John Boswell folds out like a laptop and is quite funny. Bill Gates: Billionaire Computer Genius (People Need to Know) is aimed at young adults and is by Joan Dickinson who hits the right balance between biography and information.

A collector’s item is Business @ the Speed of Thought by the man himself. He justifies new technology as good for business and the need to regard it as an asset rather than an expense. He said, ‘I have the simple but strong belief, how you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose’.

Steve Jobs: More Mystery Than Most

Kim Bhasin wrote on Business Insider about the author Malcolm Gladwell who has speculated about whether Gates or Jobs will be remembered in future. ‘I firmly believe that 50 years from now, Gates will be remembered for his charitable work, no one will even remember what Microsoft is. And of the great entrepreneurs of this era people will have forgotten Steve Jobs’.

In the meantime, Jobs is an iconic figure. Courteney Palis published on the Huffington Post, Feb 12, an article about some of the books there are about Steve Jobs. The biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson looks set to be a best-seller for years yet, but Palis said that Adam Lashinksy’s Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works together with Ken Segall’s Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success both ‘strive to explain all there is to know about Apple….’

Lashinsky took the view that secrecy wouldn’t work for every business but some could look at what they say publicly. His assertion is that it’s love of Simplicity that has been the one constant that truly powers Apple, never mind the engineering and design skills.

People tended to have a love/hate relationship with Steve Jobs, none more so than comedian Mike Daisey. His comedy monologue is not a book you can take on holiday, but his interpretation of the Jobs’ phenomenon is a fitting tribute to the man, his methods and his achievements that can be both frustrating and inspiring.

Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Those Google Guys

Possibly the best on the current market is One Click, Richard L Brandt’s account of Amazon’s business model as ‘deceptively simple’: make online shopping so easy and convenient that customers won’t think twice. It can be summed up by the button on every page: ‘Buy now with one click’ is compelling reading.

The description of Bezos’ life and how he took the risks and exhibited courage, vision and drive to create the world’s biggest bookshop and then into potentially the world’s biggest online store is very readable. Bezos’ focus has always been on the customer experience, even over and above profit.

Amazon stocks 425 items that are books about Bezos, including such intriguing titles as Inside the Giant Machine, Bankable Business Plans, Founders At Work, Jeff Bezos: Founder of Amazon and the Kindle and The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Have Redefined Business.

If you want to read about Mark Zuckerberg, there are Facebook Creator, The Facebook Effect, Ten Lessons in Leadership and The Accidental Billionaires: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal.

If you want to see it rather than read it, catch The Social Network film on DVD, but take some of the facts with a pinch of salt (says Mark Zuckerberg).

The Google founders’ names (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) are not household, yet still there are Founders of Google, The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds, Google Speaks and Inside Larry and Sergey’s Brain (as if they have one brilliant one between them).

Plenty to keep you busy this summer. So which is good, bad or ugly?  Your choice. We have to be careful of litigation lawyers!


Top Authorized and Unauthorized Books About Bill Gates, by Mary Bellis.

Huffington Post, Steve Jobs Books, Courteney Palis.

Business Insider, Kim Bhasin, History Will Remember Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs.

Image: Joi Ito