How We Got Here: A Silicon Valley and Wall Street Primer

Andy Kessler, Author . Harper Business $14.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-06-084097-6

This pasted-together romp through 300-odd years of technological advancement and financial development reads as it is billed: material cut from the manuscript of Kessler's 2004 book, Running Money . Per the brief foreword, Kessler's aim is to provide a list of "five simple creeds" that have helped him "explain the explainable" and "peer into the fog of the future": lower prices drive wealth; intelligence moves to the edge of the network; horizontal beats vertical; capital sloshes around seeking its highest return; and the military drives commerce and vice versa. His proof is delivered in a whirlwind tour of the industrial and digital revolutions. The first half of the book is a game of hopscotch through the Industrial Revolution and the evolution of early capital markets. The second half tells the story of the computer era and the growth of today's capital markets. Sandwiched between the two is an oddly abbreviated two-chapter section, 10 pages in all, that covers the development of the telegraph, telephone and power generation. Kessler returns to his "simple creeds" here and there, but the only real unifying force is hokey, techy wisecracks. The result is rehashed history often bewilderingly unconnected in theme and chronology, though many individual anecdotes are well told. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
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