The Plot to Get Bill Gates: An Irreverent Investigation of the World's Richest Man... and the People Who Hate Him

Gary Rivlin, Author Crown Business $25 (360p) ISBN 978-0-8129-3006-1
Gates bashing has by now become an obsession in some parts of the world (at least in Silicon Valley, where rival tycoons resent him, and in the Justice Department, where antitrust lawyers burn the midnight oil). Though Rivlin (Drive-By; Fire on the Prairie) takes his shots at Gates, he also takes aim at his rivals, the heads of companies like Novell, IBM and Sun. He chalks up hatred of Gates and Microsoft to a ""king-sized obsession among one-dimensional workaholics who'll do practically anything to win""--making Gates haters sound a lot like the tyrannical drone they themselves make Gates out to be. Rivlin has little tolerance for Gates's famous arrogance and explicitly takes apart Gates's reputation as a coding whiz. On the other hand, he is frustrated with Gates's complaining competitors, seeing them as doing little more than making business personal. Rivlin's writing, never less than lively, is sometimes truly funny. His thesis--that the little guys banded together to slay the Microsoft dragon when they should have been minding their own businesses--is persuasive. He has succeeded in writing a disinterested account of the software wars of the 1990s: this is neither a defense of Microsoft nor a screed against Gates. But it is also a little uninterested, as well. Rivlin appears more concerned with repeating the epithets the moguls have flung at each other than with the substance of their business. As entertaining as the book is, many readers will find Rivlin's pox-on-all-their-houses attitude too smug by half. Author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-8129-9073-7
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