Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Get Your Zombie-Eaten Brain Ready for Some Big-Think Tech Books

First off: I can reassure all my readers that I will not be coming out with an opus on Yahoo’s turmoil in 2012. Nor rounding out a trilogy of books on AOL in 2013, for that matter, full of lessons learned and bridges burned.

But that’s not true for other players in Silicon Valley, including three sure-to-be prominent books coming out in the next three months.

First off, on Jan. 25, will be the work of Fortune magazine writer Adam Lashinsky, who turned his cover story on the inside workings of Apple into a book called … “Inside Apple.”

The subtitle, “How America’s Most Admired — and Secretive — Company Really Works,” promises the “secret systems, tactics and leadership strategies that allowed Steve Jobs and his company to churn out hit after hit and inspire a cult-like following for its products.”

Apparently, we’re all about to find out about concepts like the “DRI” — or assigning a Directly Responsible Individual to every task (which I call DYS, or Do Your Story, here at AllThingsD); and the Top 100, “an annual ritual in which 100 up-and-coming executives are tapped a la Skull & Bones for a secret retreat with company founder Steve Jobs.”

Sadly, not anymore on that retreat, but I am still looking forward to reading more about the management techniques of the late tech visionary.

On Valentines Day, well-known VC, entrepreneur and Start-Up Whisperer Reid Hoffman’s book with co-author Ben Casnocha also comes out, touting lessons from Silicon Valley.

Titled “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career,” it is described as a “blueprint for thriving in your job and career in today’s challenging world of work by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs.”

Let’s hope it’s not the dudes from Color handing out the advice!

According to the authors, “the key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.”

If I were a start-up, I would sell virtual doughnuts. Hey Reid, gimme a badillion dollars!

Finally, on March 12, the grumpy investor Peter Thiel teams with entrepreneur Max Levchin and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov for “The Blueprint: Reviving Innovation, Rediscovering Risk, and Rescuing the Free Market.”

It’s funny that they, and also Hoffman, are using the hopelessly analog term “blueprint,” but I like the retro feel.

No surprise, Thiel’s posse is unhappy with the pace of innovation, presumably underwhelmed by “Plants vs. Zombies” compared to the internal combustion engine.

“Challenging the notion that we are living in an age of technological progress, three of the world’s most original thinkers demonstrate that we have become a risk-averse society, hobbled by tort laws and government regulations, short-term financial thinking, and mind-numbing complacency,” the book’s description reads. “Eager to end ‘paper entrepreneurialism’ and avoid another financial meltdown, they propose that we expand research and development in breakthrough ‘disruptive technologies,’ create millions of jobs through science-based engineering and genuine innovation, shore up our crumbling infrastructure, stop squandering money on misspent ‘horizontal education,’ and restore financial discipline.”

Phew! And here I was very pleased that I can Instagram filtered pictures of my dinner last night around the world.

In any case, before the zombies arrive to steal them, get your brains ready to think big thoughts.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work