Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Kara Swisher

Book cover for Burn Book: A Tech Love Story
Book cover for Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Kara Swisher

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From award-winning journalist Kara Swisher comes a witty, scathing, but fair accounting of the tech industry and its founders who wanted to change the world but broke it instead.

While tech titans bragged they would "move fast and break things," Kara Swisher was moving faster and breaking news. Covering the explosion of the digital sector in the early 1990s, she developed a long track record of digging up and reporting the truth of this new world order. Her consistent scoops drove one CEO to accuse her of "listening in the heating ducts" and for Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg to once say: "It is a constant joke in the Valley when people write memos for them to say, 'I hope Kara never sees this.'"

Burn Book is part memoir, part history and, most of all, a necessary recounting of tech's most powerful players. This is the inside story we've all been waiting for of modern Silicon Valley and the biggest boom in wealth creation in the history of the world.

While still in college, Swisher got her start at The Washington Post, where she became one of the few people in journalism interested in the emerging field of tech. She was among the first to recognize the potential of the internet, accurately predicting that "everything that could be digitized, would be digitized." She went on to work for The Wall Street Journal, joining with Walt Mossberg to start the groundbreaking AllThingsD conference, as well as pioneering online tech sites.

It's only a slight exaggeration to say Swisher has interviewed everyone. Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Bob Iger, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Meg Whitman, Peter Thiel, and Mark Zuckerberg are just a few who Swisher made sweat--figuratively and, in one famous case, literally.

Despite the damage she chronicles, Swisher remains optimistic about tech's potential to help solve problems and not just create them. She calls upon the industry to make better, more thoughtful choices, even as a new set of powerful AI tools are poised to change the world yet again. At its heart, this book is a love story to, for, and about tech from someone who knows it better than anyone.

Burn Book includes soaring tales of innovation and brilliant entrepreneurs, as well as Silicon Valley's much more complex history of striving, success, and failure. The book details how the commercial internet came into being and how, for all it has given the world, it now sits at the center of global power, creating a clear and present danger to humanity.

About the Author

Kara Swisher is the host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher and the cohost of the Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway, both distributed by New York magazine. She was also the cofounder and editor-at-large of Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast, and coexecutive producer of the Code conference. She was a former contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and host of its Sway podcast and has also worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. This is her third book.

Critical Reviews

"The most recognizable chronicler of the digital revolution."

"Nobody straddles the world of tech and media quite like Kara Swisher... This book isn't just a juicy read, it's also a valuable historical document, giving readers an inside look at the architects of some of the biggest tech moments of the last thirty years."
--Charlotte Alter, TIME

"An exposé that also seeks to avert technological calamity on the perilous road still ahead."

"Funny, smart, chic-y, and insightful."
--Katie Couric

"Burn Book shows how understanding these leaders' pasts can illuminate their current motivations and aspirations."

"The queen of all media."
--Walt Mossberg, former WALL STREET JOURNAL columnist

"Swisher has been the most entrepreneurial of reporters, both in the doggedness of her work and the ever-evolving array of venues where it's manifested itself."

"The book is also deeply personal and frankly, very moving."
--Samantha Bee

"Unlike the mythological Cassandra whose prophecies were ignored, both the 'children' and adults will pay heed to [Kara Swisher's] warnings."

"As existential questions confront both the tech and media industries... Swisher takes no prisoners, offering readers a behind-the-curtain peek at the industry's most powerful and ego-obsessed titans."

"Kara Swisher has always lit fires in her work. The provocateur has chronicled the egos and excesses of Silicon Valley for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and now New York, making a habit of scorching its denizens.... Swisher was smart enough to consider tech a worthwhile beat early on. She helped popularize podcasting and showed Big Media that live events were a path to growth.... In Burn Book, which is just what it sounds like only more so, Swisher once again cuts those grotesquely wealthy, code-smart chuckleheads down to size... To be a woman in a bro's world is impressive. To be a queer person who cut her own path and created a powerful role for herself in that world? Next-level."
--Real Simple's "The Brightest: People, Products, and Ideas That Are Changing the Game in 2024"

"Swisher, the bad-ass journalist and OG chronicler of Silicon Valley and its denizens (almost all of them male because, well, tech world), takes no prisoners in this highly readable look at the evolution of the digital world. . . Bawdy, brash, and compulsively thought-provoking, just like its author, Burn Book sizzles."
--BOOKLIST (Starred Review)

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub date: 2024-02-27
Length: 320 pages
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