My journey through Silicon Valley continues as I learn more and more about its major events and players. And boy, do all of these guys really like Ayn Rand.
Like many, I was disappointed at the downfall of Gawker. While I felt like the site (and its offshoots) could be too proud of itself and unaware that its establishment as an institution made their criticisms of institutions a little flat, I think it performed an important service to the media in terms of calling out bs.
Being a Silicon Valley apostate, I had no idea who Peter Thiel was until it was revealed he was bankrolling Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit. Moreover, I didn’t know anything else about him until he began whispering in Trump’s ear. So I was glad for this book because I wanted some clarity on the real man and his empire.
I think part of the reason why the reviews on this aren’t as stellar is that it’s not a conventional biography. Peter Thiel is a pathologically private human being and we know little about his world. What Max Chafkin does do a good job of is breaking down how Thiel maneuvered in Silicon Valley, amassing capital and influence for his goal of pushing the US Government even further towards elites and tax cutting. He describes the evolution of Thiel’s views and maneuvers and how he became one of the most powerful people in the country.
Think of this book less as a look at the man and more a look at the avenues to influence Silicon Valley power brokers have over US politics. You’ll appreciate it more.