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Summary and Review: Bad Boy Ballmer

Book Citation: Bad Boy Ballmer. By Fredric Alan Maxwell. William Morrow, Publisher. New York. 2002. 278 pages.

Brief Summary: Fredric Alan Maxwell provides the a largely complete and controversial narrative of one of the technology industry's most influential players: Steven Anthony Ballmer, former Detroit Country Day School valedictorian who rose to become Microsoft's president and later its Chief Executive Officer. Together with Bill Gates, Ballmer leads the company he and Gates took from less than 30 employees to some 50,000 workers across the globe, and annual revenues from $12 million to more than $20 billion and rising.

The book offers a relatively balanced portrait, revealing the dual nature of Ballmer. The good boy is the boy who cares for his ailing, aging parents and who devotes money and time to cancer research. The bad boy is a ruthless businessman who at the same time devised and led a scorched earth policy against other software developers, a policy that earned him the nickname "The Em-balmer." The book presents all facets of the central figure, also offering what is a definitive explication of the relationship between Ballmer and Bill Gates from their 1974 meeting at a Harvard dorm to the present. Providing fresh insights into the longstanding bond between this odd couple, who describe their relationship as a marriage, the book shows how Ballmer and Gates work together to form Microsoft's heart and soul.

Introduction: This section provides a brief overview of the text and of the central figure, Steven Ballmer.

This chapter establishes the early biography of Ballmer and details his family's history. It illustrates themes that will appear in later life for the subject, such as the pursuit of wealth and success.

Chapter 2: This section describes Ballmer's adolescence in Birmingham, Mi., a upper-middle-class Detroit suburb. Ballmer emerges as a driven man intent on Harvard.

Chapter 3: This Chapte...

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