I just finished reading Valley Boy by Tom Perkins and it was a great read. Tom Perkins was one of the founders of Kleiner Perkins and is considered by many to be the “father of modern venture capital.” This book is certainly autobiographical, but I don’t know if I would call it an autobiography. Each chapter basically walks through a different part of Tom Perkins’ life and the chapters aren’t presented in any specific chronological or other order. He talks about the dispute that led him to resign from the board of HP, being convicted of manslaughter in France, being briefly married to Danielle Steele among other things.
This was a fun book to read because of the variety of the anecdotes that he relates. There are some great business stories – you get to learn about his role in the early days at HP, his founding and sale of University Laboratories, Inc, and the creation of the original Kleiner Perkins fund. There are also some very interesting personal stories about his love of cars and sailing and his relationship with his wife Gerd. Through the entire book what impressed me was how balanced he was – he freely admits to his faults and mistakes alongside his achievements and writes of others with respect – even those with which he has had well-publicized conflicts. The books comes across as very genuine and that made it both readable and interesting.
Reading Valley Boy reminded me a lot of a couple of other good books I’ve read in the past:
- Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure
- High Tech Start Up, Revised and Updated: The Complete Handbook For Creating Successful New High Tech Companies
Also apparently Tom Perkins has also written a romance-style novel called Sex and the Single Zillionaire. Now, romance novels aren’t really my typical genre, but Valley Boy was so well written I might have to pick up a copy.
dan _at_ denimgroup.com