The prologue is the story of the history of Silicon Valley - William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor - the device that started the computing revolution; and his band of the "traitorous eight" - the original entrepreneurs who fathered companies that laid the foundation of Silicon Valley are featured in much detail.
On May 10, 1857, a non-descript soldier fired at his English officer in Meerut cantonment to herald the first war of Independence against the British. The next day, a young man from Idrishpur village near Meerut setout on horseback towards Delhi.
It is not the story of India´s independence, but that of Raj Singh, whose great-great-grandfather was the young man to lead his fellow villagers for fight against the British. Raj Singh has become famous for successfully leading his two companies, Cerent and Siera and bringing $12 billions in a single year for his investors and employees. Raj Singh is credited to have helped Vinod Khosla to don the mantle of VC supremo the following year.
"We are all technological pioneers. We love building something from nothing. We love the thrill of going somewhere where nobody has gone before. I know because I have had that thrill",says Umang Gupta, who like Raj Singh is one among nine Indians featured in the book.
Others who are featured in the book are Sabeer Bhatia, Kanwal Rekhi, K. B. Chandrasekhar, B. V. Jagadeesh, Narayanamurthy and Pradeep Kar. Though Narayanmurthy and Infosys are International names, Narayanamurthy belongs to Bangalore and so does Pradeep Kar. In the preface of the book, author explains why he included these names. He has made out a case that Bangalore is Silicon Valley of India. In a chapter called Silicon Valley, the author has traced historically the developments of two Silicon Valleys and has compared Bangalore with Silicon Valley of California.
A note about Chandrababu Naidu is appended in the book. It is heartening to note that there are forward looking political leaders like Chandrababu Naidu in India.
Within the business and management style, technological breakthroughs and struggle for survival in the foreign land, the book is filled with many interesting personal anecdotes of the persons covered.
The book has useful material for a large cross-section of readership. For younger readership, the characters are presented as role models. For those who are at the early stages of their career, there is plenty to learn from the examples set by these great men to turn their dreams into reality through hard work. It is also a recipes-book for entrepreneurs. Non-Indians would discover a lot about Indian family values, their culture and education system. For them, the book is a window to all that is Indian about Indian-Americans. Above all, it is a readable biography for all ages and cultures.
On flip side of it, the book is heavy on hand. Those of you who have practice of reading a whole page in a single breadth will find small paragraphs distracting. In all, with its large size, attractive color jacket and hardback, the book would enhance the look of any bookshelf. Its a collectors item and an appropriate gift piece. To sum up, I would borrow the line from Chandrababu Naidu: I have no hesitation to recommend the book to readers who want to know about some of the IT personalities of this country.
*Garima Thockchom is a mother of two small children. In her spare time, she is a Product Line Manger at Sun Microsystems. She has been a popular writer in India. She occasionally takes out time to write in print and web in Silicon Valley as well in India.
Silicon Valley Greats Indians Who Made A Difference to Technology and the World
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