The New Imperialists (How Five Restless Kids Grew up to virtually rule your world) by Mark Leibovich is a book I read recently. Though the book that talks about 5 technology leaders and visionaries is little old (it was written in 2001/2002 and a lot happens in technology industry in 5 years) I still purchased the book as I got it for a steal in Landmark sale last year (Rs.149 against the original price of Rs.1025, a saving of nearly $22).
Leibovich a technology reporter for the Washington Post sets out to explain why he selected this particular 5 people whom he calls “The New Imperialists”. The list of 5 are AOL’s Steve Case, Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, Cisco’s John Chambers, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and of course Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Leibovich tries to show throughout the book that these men’s ruthless drive must stem from childhood and the reason he calls them imperialists are because they are near equivalent of modern-day emperors. Leibovich’s narrative style which makes the reading very lively and you can’t keep the book down without completing it. If you thought you know a lot about these 5 people, Leibovich tries his best to show a side of them public haven’t seen before. At the same time the book is not intruding their privacy and most of it seem to be written with the individuals (or their PR) permission.
He talks about Ellison’s Larryland near hills of Woodside designed by a Japanese Zen Monk; about how Jeff Bezos wrote the business plan for Amazon on a car trip with his girlfriend to Seattle and about Jeff’s thing; How John Chambers battled dyslexia and for a time believed he was stupid; The equation and friendship between Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer and how the loss of his best friend Kent Evans 30 years affected Bill Gates; How Steve Case saw with clarity what was happening with the connected world.