Six years after retirement, I’m often asked if I miss doing my radio show. I usually say no, not even for a day. But sometimes I read a book and wish I could spend an hour talking with its author — especially if they’re as good an interviewer as I am. Case in point: I just devoured “Burn Book,” Kara Swisher’s memoir of three decades of reporting on the world of tech and the man-boys who run it. Since we can’t have that chat, the least I could do was write about it here.

I’ve been a fan of Kara’s work for a long time, from her years at the Washington Post, to her time alongside Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal (the greatest tech reporting team ever), all the way up to her must-listen podcast, “Pivot,” with NYU professor Scott Galloway. Through all of it, Kara has proven her bona fides as a reporter and expert on all things Silicon Valley.

She’s done it again in “Burn Book,” her memoir of stories and people she’s covered over the decades:

  • the geeks who became billionaires, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page;
  • the assholes who became even more so as their wealth grew, like Tesla’s Elon Musk and Uber’s Travis Kalanick;
  • the dot com boom and bust of the 1990s (e.g. Yahoo, AOL, and Netscape);
  • her personal encounters with Steve Jobs and the legacy he left behind;
  • the over-the-top parties the ultra-rich man-boys threw for themselves, even as some of their companies were melting down;
  • Mark Zuckerberg breaking out into a full-body sweat while being interviewed by Kara and Walt.

Having witnessed the often repellant antics of the tech elite and their cluelessness regarding privacy and threats to democracy, Kara has outright disdain for many of them and — as usual — doesn’t hold back in her writing. But she also praises some tech folks she considers “truly thoughtful,” including Steve Case, Meg Whitman, Terry Semel, and Reed Hastings. She also lists some “good techies,” including “Shark Tank” regular Mark Cuban, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella.

Along the way, Kara quite openly rewinds through both her personal and professional life, and explains how she got so many scoops along the way — by having everyone’s phone numbers. There’s a great story in the book about a CEO who had a supposedly secret closed-door meeting with his staff, but when it was over, he got a call from Kara asking him to confirm the things he’s just told his employees, one of whom had tipped her off during the meeting. Another CEO was so mad about something she’d written that he promised to never tell her anything about his company again. She told him that wouldn’t matter because she had direct access to all of his employees.

That’s why she called it “Burn Book,” and I highly recommend it.