Business reporter Sarah Lacy received rough treatment in today’s New York Times, which ran a review of her new book on modern entrepreneurism in Silicon Valley, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good.
Though scoring a review in Sunday’s Times can be like landing beachfront property in Southampton, the real estate given Lacy may do more damage than good to book sales. Among other criticisms, the reviewer — former New York Times’ technology reporter Katie Hafner — observes that the book’s title doesn’t make sense. Though she credits Lacy with delivering a “fascinating portrait” of serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, Hafner wonders why Lacy also focused the book on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; Kevin Rose, who cofounded the social bookmarking site Digg; and Max Levchin, a cofounder of PayPal and the founder of Slide, which allows people to customize slideshows for their friends. Yes, they’re the hot entrepreneurs de jour, suggests Hafner, but however richly funded Slide is (it has raised $58 million from VCs so far), Levchin has yet to prove himself a successful serial entrepreneur. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg and Rose are, of course, still working on their first companies.
I can’t comment on the book because I haven’t read it, but it has received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, including from several entrepreneurs. (Yes, they could, perhaps, on some unconscious level, be trying to curry favor with Lacy, who is today a columnist for Businessweek.com and a co-host of the show “Tech Ticker” on Yahoo Finance. They could also be big fans of the book.)
I also applaud anyone who writes a book. I’m finishing up one right now and have new appreciation for the whole process.
Meanwhile, I’ll miss the regular features of Hafner, who left the Times to write her own book, on virtuoso pianist Glenn Gould. I especially loved her 2007 portrait of Critical Path cofounder David Hayden, who, as of last spring, was selling off furniture and his art collection to pay back debts incurred during the bubble. If you missed it, it’s worth reading.