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'Burn Rate' is a quick read with a strong sense of humor

Burn Rate
by Michael Wolff

Simon & Schuster Trade, $25

Review by David Mandeville

Web posted on: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 3:45:18 PM EDT

(CNN) -- In only five years the Internet has been transformed from a playground for college students and system operators to a multi-billion dollar information and commerce network. In "Burn Rate", Michael Wolff performs an insightful post mortem of his own efforts among the visionaries, money men, and schemers who drove that explosive growth.

A former journalist and publisher, Wolff created "NetGuide" and the NetBooks series. His publishing firm became of one of the first content companies to try its hand on the Internet, putting him in the front seat of a personal and financial roller coaster.

Wolff's fast-paced narration makes for a quick read with a strong sense of humor. He goes beyond the press releases to the receptions, offices, and conferences where the deals were formed, contrasting the up, downs, and eventual end of his own efforts against those of other Internet pioneers.

Financial and Internet followers will recognize many of the figures and happenings he describes, and get some insight on how it came to be. Newcomers will gain a whole new perspective on how business is done.

David Mandeville is a Senior Webmaster for CNN Interactive.

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