American nonfiction writer and journalist Michael Lewis caused a stir on Wednesday when, during an interview with Bloomberg TV, the bestselling author made a reference to people living with autism when talking about the residents of Silicon Valley. A nickname for the area of the San Francisco Bay Area known for its tech culture, Silicon Vally is the root of such giants as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Tesla and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few.
Wednesday's conversation focused on a book Lewis published in the late '90s called The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story. "The New New Thing was the single hardest book I wrote," Lewis said during the interview. "It's a hard place to write about because there's a lack of emotional content. It's a cold place."
"It's basically a bunch of autistic people wandering around," Lewis said during the interview. "People get artificially excited about technology but it doesn't feel warm or hot."
People with mental disabilities, such as autism or down syndrome, have frequently been on the receiving end of offensive jokes or remarks.
Lewis' comments were in response to a question about his next subject — specifically, if he plans to tackle the inner workings of the tech community's frontline. Lewis has penned a number of books, many of which explore the worlds of business and finance. A smattering of his works include 2003's Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, 2009's Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity and last year's Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.
Lewis, a resident of Berkeley, California, delivered Silicon Valley a parting blow. "I wouldn't live in Palo Alto. If all I knew of California was Palo Alto, I would't have stayed. It's a nice place to visit, the streets are clean and everybody's rich. But it's hard to find something you love there."
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