It’s tell-all book season in Silicon Valley
FORTUNE — Silicon Valley is the most fascinating story around. Just ask the people who live and work there.
Hyperbolic or not, those who live for stories about tech should clear their schedules in the next few weeks: They are going to have plenty to read to keep them busy. Three important books about four significant technology companies are coming out soon. Each has been excerpted in a major publication in the last week or so. Each contains delectable morsels that will whet the appetite of the cognoscenti and, if the authors are lucky, attract the interest of the general public as well.
The first excerpt to hit the tech scene was from Fred Vogelstein’s upcoming book, “Dogfight: How Google and Apple Went to War and Started a Revolution.” The book is due out Nov. 12, and its opening section ran in The New York Times Magazine last weekend. Vogelstein worked at Fortune for several years and currently contributes to Wired. The Times excerpt is chock full of instructive details about the early days of the iPhone. If the tidbits about the early days of Google’s Android mobile operating software are as detailed and as good, Vogelstein’s book will be a must read around these parts.
Continuing its techfest, the Times Magazine this coming weekend will run a portion of its own Nick Bilton’s book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal,” due out Nov. 5. Bilton is the newest arrival of the three authors featured here, and perhaps the sharpest-edged and critical observer of the Silicon Valley he has encountered. The excerpt, covering the founding days and apocryphal tales of Twitter, is going to make more than a few people around San Francisco uncomfortable, but none more so than recent Fortune cover boy Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is a co-founder of Twitter, its original CEO, and currently its chairman, all while he also is CEO of Square, a newer startup. Bilton paints a devastating portrait of Dorsey as a deceitful, disingenuous, Machiavellian operator who has massaged his image while manipulating style makers with less discerning eyes than Bilton. (Was I one of the manipulated? You’ll have to be the judge after reading Bilton’s article.) Bilton’s excerpt is gossipy and as such feels like candy to Vogelstein’s heavy meal. It will be interesting, though, to see what other bombshells await in the full book.
Based only on the excerpt we’ve been shown, the best of the new books promises to be Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.” Bloomberg Businessweek, where Stone is on staff, released a massive chunk of the book Thursday as its cover story. (The book itself is out Oct. 22 and already is ranked in the top 100 of Amazon.com’s bestsellers. It will be exceedingly interesting to see how and if Amazon markets Stone’s book.) Sticking with the food metaphor, this promises to be a smorgasbord, with something for everyone. The Businessweek excerpt contains generous expansions of stories and tidbits that have been told before — including in my cover story last year on Jeff Bezos — but goes well beyond anything that ever has been written about Amazon’s (AMZN) ruthless business tactics and Bezos’s mentality as an entrepreneur and manager. The magazine piece concludes with a yarn about Bezos’s biological father that is so gripping that for me to say anything more about it would cast me in the role of a churlish spoiler. So read it yourself. Because guess what? The people and companies in the technology industry are pretty fascinating after all.