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ZDNet Review of Gates' New Book 44

Jerky McNaughty writes "The ZDNet review of Gates' new book is pretty harsh. Noteable quotes: "he can't write worth a lick" and "Faced with the prospect of rereading this book, I would rather have my brains ripped out by a plastic fork." Ouch. " Well, combine that with the asking price and you've got a winner, ladies and gentlemen. Update: 03/24 11:13 by H : Yeah, yeah, the price is for a 24 pack of books. But it's funny, anyway.
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ZDNet Review of Gates' New Book

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  • I thought we all figured out yesterday that the high asking price was for a 20 pack of books, not a single volume.
  • It really figures. I mean, when was the last time you saw a CEO or President able to write anything other than unpunctuated scrawl. That's what their secretaries are for. Anyway, yeah...


  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Wednesday March 24, 1999 @05:25AM (#1965351) Journal
    Anyone who took a peek at The Road Ahead, or has read/listened to interviews with Gates realizes that the guy just isn't the most scintillating thinker in the world. He's boring. No one with a reasonable number of clues on the topic is going to shell out cash to hear Gates say things like, "The key to the managers of the future is digital connectivity and computer aptitude." Haber's review on Amazon [] (sorry, I can't link to the exact page) sums it up pretty well: "I can hear the trees screaming in my dreams."

    Unfortunately, I'm an elitist, and I believe strongly that there are a lot of people out there who are completely without clue. They'll make sure the book sells.

  • I thought that ZDnet was slaves to the Big Brother effect of Microsoft? Could it be that ZD is actually becoming more open-minded in their reporting?

    Then again, when a book sucks, a book sucks.

    "Your 'Gin n'tonic Futon Brain' sure makes you smart!"
    "That's 'Positronic-photon Brain', you idiot!"
  • That seems more of a "realist" approach to me!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Note to self:
    1. Sell stock in Ziff Davis before Microsoft moves their advertising budget elsewhere because Gates ain't gonna like this review.
    2. Buy back stock in Ziff Davis. ZD owns not only ZD-net but PC-Magazine, so Gates can't afford not to advertise in PC Magazine -- all of the Linux companies would fill the ad space he let go.
    3. Buy stock in Linux companies.
    For all the humorless types out there, please realize that not only do I not own stock in any of the above companies, I'm not qualified to comment on them. I just think it's funny that the World's Richest Man is so-o-o-o boring.


  • I think a lot of this book's "sales" will be traced to bookstores in towns with Microsoft sales offices in them. Kind of the same way Scientologists buy up palette loads worth of Dianetics to keep it on the best-seller list.

    "If you act now, you can win a free copy of Bill Gates' new classic, Business @ The Speed Of Thought! And if you don't win, you get two copies!"
  • ......must have been written by Micro$oft flaks. With the exception of two or three entries, most of them laud the book. Maybe pointy-hair bosses straight out of Dilbert. Nothing like stuffing the ballot box......

  • That's utterly shocking. Are you saying that people whom may know only Windows and Office as their sole OS/Business package would enjoy a book by Mr. Gates.. that's almost as scandaleous as a typical slashdotter liking Linux! I can't believe the gull of some people.

  • must have been written by Micro$oft flaks

    Or maybe they might also be people with a monetary reason to want to see Amazon sell copies of the book (like they own Amazon stock or something). If its not one ulterior motive, its another. :-)

  • I can't believe the gull of some people.

    What do birds commonly found near large bodies of water have to do with anything? Seriously, I think you mean "gall". :-)

    Seriously though, why do you think NT needs third party "evangelists"? Microsoft has oodles to spend on advertising. Evangelism is for those that don't have huge advertising and PR budgets.

  • If I buy the book, follow his 12 steps religiously, and don't end up getting rich beyond my wildest dreams, who can I sue?
  • They are hype.
    The current trend is to bash Microsoft,
    and they're just hopping on the wagon.

    A year ago Linux was ridiculed and laughed at by ZDNet,
    Now they have sections on "why should I use it".
    We shall not forgive and not forget.

  • Who's stiffer and more boring? Nice review ripping Bill a new one! Maybe ol' Billy shoulda bought someone else's (more interesting) business bio and published it under his name, eh?
  • All right,
    They got a bad review,
    what's now?

    Now they'll sell SP1.
    This fixes many typos,
    and makes the book a little bit more interesting.

    These fixes will be out on April and expected to sell at $10 a pop.
    MS President Steve Balmer reports it will fix the "Snooze" and "Sleepy" issues.

  • I think it would be better titled Business@ the speed of theft

    btw i'm sure this book has real life left out

    (it reminds me of the edited (duh)picture from a sun employee with a cuppa java down the road on the "the road ahead" cover)
    anyway the good ol penguin has some new paper to *ahem* on.

    i'm sure there are inaccuries in the above.. but i like complaining...
  • The reviewer assumes that the "real" Bill Gates has important and useful insights, but for some reason has decided to hide behind a bland persona and hand out a few platitudes. Another interpretation is that what you see is what you get: Gates doesn't have any insights, no vision of the future. Maybe he doesn't even have a clear idea of how he reached his dominant position.

    No doubt the guy is smart. You have to admire the Microsoft Internet turnaround from a business point of view, even if you don't like the implications. But I don't think he teach us anything because his success is largely an historical accident.
  • Hm. They both invented the internet too. Being boring must come with the territory, or be a mark of genius!

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • "Kind of the same way Scientologists buy up palette loads worth of Dianetics to keep it on the best-seller list."

    You mean.. Microsoft and Scientology aren't the same thing?

    Damn, I've been sorely misled for too freakin' long..

  • What does ZDNet expect, the Secret Diary [] of BG? (it's old I know, but still love it, hehe)

  • If you take a moment and read the posted responses at the end of the article you can find a few people who hail from "Washington" -and they don't seem to like the review very much. Surprise.
    One guy even said ZDnet was becoming a joke with their recent attempts to cover more of the Unix world and to occasionally knock the MSoft. I never did like ZDnet much because they used to seem to knock everyone except MSoft.
  • Is it just my imagination, or does Bill Gates seem to be transforming into a strange cyber-version of L. Ron Hubbard? I've been to a number of developer events, and with all the Microsoft love going on, I'm hard pressed to think that they view Bill Gates as something less than a messiah. Regardless, we might come to expect these periodic moronic books, much in the same way you do L Ron Hubbard books. (The man has been "dead" for over 10 years, yet there seem to be "new" works by him every so often.)

    I think that if Bill Gates moves onto a boat we're all in trouble.

  • They won't fix the original, they'll sell a collection of revised pages that you must install yourself.

    Improper installation can rupture the binding and make all the pages fall out. At which point you will have to buy all 20 books again.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.

  • An amalgamation of L. Ron Hubbard and Frank Lloyd Wright (as far as cult-of-personalitiness goes).

    Microsoft recruits directly out of college so their employees never have any experience of life at other companies (so as to keep the culture pure).

    The way they can marshall so many otherwise intelligent people to defy the government and good sense is really horrifically amazing.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why is whenever ZDNet (or the other big news sites) publish anything disparaging about Microsoft, they get a bunch of painfully naive people replying to stick up for good ol' Bill? Maybe they're the same 'thousands of people who have pledged their support in the ongoing trial'? (L-TF-OL)

    I'd swear that one of the (bitter) reader replies to the 'Sloth of Thought' review was written by The Soulless Lawyer-Spawn himself.

    Ah, it's only a matter of time now...
  • If I buy the book, follow his 12 steps religiously, and don't end up getting rich beyond my wildest dreams, who can I sue?
    Actually, Bill will then sue you for making him and his book look bad by not getting rich. (Not that he needs help making himself and his books look bad or anything... :)
  • Maybe it's a bit of projection on the author's (Temple Grandin) part, but in "Thinking in Pictures", it's stated that Bill Gates has some personality traits that are quite like a high functioning autistic.

    The good thing about it is, it allows him to focus quite intently on what he can do well (theft and marketing), the bad thing is, it doesn't leave much room for what he can't do well (writing).

    It's too bad Paul Allen didn't have more friends, way back when.
  • There are some reviews [] up at now and while I suspect most of them were written without reading the book, there was one legitimate looking one that said something which shocked me:

    Most remarkable of all are the sections related directly to the earlier book and his revised thinking on the blueprint for the future which it contained. The reader meeting "The Road Ahead" when it was first released would hardly have guessed that Mr. Gates's next work would contain such direct acknowledgements that his corporation will not be a competitor for very much longer in the operating systems market, the area which has traditionally brought so much of its income. The frank discussions about the technical superiority of Open Source software development methods and Microsoft's planned funding of the Linux project and the Free Software Foundation will have historians talking amongst themselves for centuries to come.

    Wow. If anybody out there has actually read the book, could you comment on how accurate this is? I really don't want to have to buy this book, but I'm dying to know exactly what Gates said that prompted these comments. It sounds like he's seen the light, but then again it also sounded like that when Microsoft desperately needed to license Java to give their fledgling IE a shot in hell at becoming widely used, so I'm definitely not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Amazon almost never screens user-written reviews, unless their attention is drawn to them by an irate publisher.

    Case in point: A lot of bogus (and hilarious) reviews of the Family Circus anthology Daddy's Cap is On Backwards stayed on Amazon for weeks, most of them written by the denizens of the Dysfunctional Family Circus []. Keane's publisher finally got wind of it (after its existence was published in a newspaper), and they have since been pulled down.

    So, yeah, you can write anything you want and get it posted on Amazon as a review. They do effectively no checking.


  • The guy was just being funny.
  • What about it makes it "obviously" a joke? It would fit in line with the Halloween document which wasn't a joke. Are you saying this because you've actually read the book?
  • >An amalgamation of L. Ron Hubbard and Frank Lloyd Wright (as far as cult-of-personalitiness goes).

    So I'm not the only one who has noticed the connection between an international criminal organization & Microsoft. And rather than being glad about this shared perception, I am worried: rather than fighting a vicious business that makes crappy software, we are now fighting a well-funded cult of personality.

    At least Microsoft software works better than Hubbard's laughable pseudo-philosophy (which is to say feebly versuses NOT AT ALL).

    And although Wright did create a cult around him, he was a true genius who advanced his field -- which sets him above both Gates & Hubbard. History will forgive Wright's follies (which are many) & relegate the other two to short footnotes.

  • I haven't read the book, and even I can tell.

    Setting aside for the moment the queston of whether BillBorg is that farsighted (which, given the "Internet Fad" remarks, I doubt), it's obvious based only upon what you've already seen if you read the ZD review.

    Do you think that the reviewer could have ignored a bombshell like that in his review? Not a chance. It's a joke.

  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by Akira410: quiry.asp?userid=2MQNVP8SWJ&mscssid=8PAV46 J2UJS12MG100LHRV18M8FMAX6F&pcount=0&isbn=044616807 6

    Someone sent a barns & nobles link to an $18 copy.
    Heres another link to a $504.00 Copy. Hehe That must be the NT Server version.

  • I don't think you have to be very farsighted to see that open source will dominate at some time in the near future. Gates may very well know this. But you do have a good point about this not being mentioned in the ZD review - it probably doesn't contain anything so substantial.
  • One of the perplexing things about this review is the fact that the reviewer was expecting a baring of the soul, or some illumination of the genius Bill Gates used to become so rich and powerful.

    Why is this perplexing? Because the man has no soul and no genius. He fell ass-backwards into a string of incredibly fortunate opportunities and merely had the presence of mind to act upon them. Most of Gate's success was laid at his feet with little effort upon his part. Is it any wonder that the man has no character?

    He is shrewd. And perhaps a little clever. But he didn't earn much of his power. Power granted in this manner is never respected and usually lost.
  • Anonymous Coward writes:
    Why, you dorky geek propellor-head linux nerds!!!!!!!!! Don't you realise that Bill Gates is bloody brilliant?!?!?! In the real world, everything's all about money, not Star Wars and sad arcane systems with software that only people with too much acne would want to run!!!! Before Windows 95 came along, I didn't know how to work a computer!!!!!!!! Bill Gates should be knighted for his services to the GUI, multitasking, and general productivity, but I expect those will be foreign words to the fanatical Linux evangelists who are jealous of Bill's well-deserved success!!! What you lot forget is that no-one's interested in what you sad no-life anoracks have to say...
    Well, OK, Anonymous Coward hasn't actually said it yet, but it's only a flippin' matter of time isn't it?!??!?! ;)

    (Note- for all you slow people, the above comments are not too serious...)

    Old Fart!!! Of tha SENIOR DADS!!!!!

VMS must die!