by Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001
Michael Lewis has a knack for tapping the business zeitgeist. In Liar’s Poker, he exposed the brittle core of the money- and status-obsessed 1980s. In The New New Thing, he captured the vision and the outsized ambitions of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Now, in Next: The Future Just Happened, Lewis explores a new frontier deÞned by the fringe dwellers of the Web: teenage misÞts, social deviants, hackers, and pseudoentrepreneurs.
Lewis has returned from his trip to the edge with at least two profound insights. First, technology is redistributing prestige. Thanks to the democratization of the Inter-net, we’re in the midst of a “status revolution,” he writes. A new class of achievers — passionate amateurs who are motivated by pure interest, not self-interest — is toppling the professional monopoly.
Which brings us to insight number two: “Capitalists have become edgier, because it pays them to be edgier,” Lewis writes. He cites people such as venture-capitalist-cum-social-theorist Andy Kessler, a Wall Street dropout who looks for opportunities in the conþicts that develop between insiders and outsiders.
The future no longer belongs to an entrenched elite, Lewis proclaims. Status has become ephemeral for all.