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It is no exaggeration to say that venture capital has been central to the greatest legal creation of wealth anywhere, and enabled much of the world we live in, yet we know surprisingly little about this strange tribe of financiers.
In The Power Law, Sebastian Mallaby turns his unprecedented access to the industry's central players into a riveting, character-driven account of venture capital and the world it has made. Most of the tech start-ups funded by Silicon Valley venture capitalists fail, but a very few hits succeed at such a scale that they will more than make up for everything else. That extreme ratio of success and failure is the power law that drives venture capital, and the wider tech sector.
Mallaby make sense of the seeming randomness of success in venture capital, an industry that supposedly relies on gut instinct and personality rather than spreadsheets and data. We learn the unvarnished truth about some of the most iconic hits and infamous disasters in Silicon Valley history?, from the comedy of errors that was the birth of Apple to the avalanche of venture money that fostered hubris at WeWork and Uber. And he shows how the power law now echoes around the world.
© Sebastian Mallaby 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022
Venture capital has influenced the American economy for over half-a-century now, and finally we have a book of exceptional reporting, analysis and storytelling to bring that history to life. What makes Sebastian Mallaby's The Power Law a classic is how deeply it takes us into VC's defining successes and failures - which are much harder to get anyone to talk frankly about. I'm not sure this is the book of VCs' dreams, but it's what the rest of us have been waiting for
A fascinating journey through the tightly networked world of the venture capitalists who make Silicon Valley tick, from the scrappy dealmakers of the 1960s to the high-flying global investors of today. Filled with eye-opening case studies and vivid personalities, frank in its analysis of the industry's greatest strengths and most dangerous blind spots, The Power Law is essential reading for understanding our tech-driven economy and where it might go next
As we face urgent man-made existential challenges from climate change to economic inequality, Sebastian Mallaby shows that the capitalists of Silicon Valley are shaping the future in ways few understand. In The Power Law he takes us inside their rarified world, showing the possibilities and shortcomings of their big egos and big bets. Mallaby's deep access enables us to get a rare and unsettling look inside a subculture of unparalleled influence
If you can read only one book on venture capital, this is the one. The Power Law narrates the evolution of venture capital from its origins in Silicon Valley to its emergence in China by following the ambitious and often idiosyncratic investors who finance risky new ventures while recognizing that success is rare, but transformative. The book is a fascinating read, and illustrates well one of its core themes, that venture capital is a network that straddles and offers the virtues of both markets and corporations
This book is a powerful combination of careful research and great storytelling. Sebastian Mallaby portrays many of the world's most successful venture capitalists but also shows how the industry has evolved and why it has become a major source of innovation in our economies. Highly informative and fun to read
Everyone talks about venture capital. We glorify it, we vilify it, and everywhere outside Silicon Valley envies it. At last we have a storyteller with the intelligence to understand venture capital, the diligence to dig out some astonishing tales, and the eloquence to make the journey of discovery such a pleasure. This is a superb book