In the years since the Valley of the Heart’s Delight evolved from orchards and vineyards to computer chips and code, a plethora of articles, films and books have documented the phenomenal transition. Los Altos resident Skip Vaccarello joined the gathering gang emigrating from the East Coast to become vice president of operations with VisiCalc and soon established himself as one of the many innovative and knowledgeable members of the computer technology revolution.
He, too, has published a book about the astounding conversion of Silicon Valley, but his perspective reveals the neglected but no less remarkable revolution quietly infiltrating the unique horde of immigrants. He eschews reporting on his personal successes or those of the new migrants, instead exploring and exposing the subtle transformation currently spreading throughout the area in his book “Finding God in Silicon Valley: Spiritual Journeys in a High-Tech World” (Creative Team Publishing, 2015).
It is what the title calls it: a unique insight into the spiritual conversions and transitions quietly consuming many of the talented and successful entrepreneurs, scientists, technicians and executives who have initiated and continue the explosion of communications, systems, the Internet and the introduction of revolutionary physical devices informed with equally innovative software.
Search for spirituality
Vaccarello does not presume to interpret the heart and soul of the contributors to his book. He has engaged 27 prominent leaders in the Valley to describe their search, conversion and the benefits resulting from embracing the faith they had dropped along the path or exploring the spiritual life they had not sought before.
Each of the successful entrepreneurs relates a different path toward finding spirituality, but each reached a similar conclusion and joins Vaccarello in inviting readers to seek the same peace and fulfillment. Vaccarello provides a short introduction to each section, then releases the individual contributors to relate their journeys to belief and the resulting benefits and blessings.
Thousands of books and articles on science and technology and centuries of documents on Christianity and its believers are available, but few demonstrate the conjunction as clearly as “Finding God in Silicon Valley.”
Vaccarello’s own journey from childhood religion through negligence and his return to faith and spiritual passion centers the book and unites the stories.
The book is well organized, revealing his scientific discipline. It is divided into four topics: “Faith and Success,” “Reason, Science and Faith,” “Struggle, Pain and Faith” and “A Higher Calling.” Vaccarello steps offstage and allows the contributors to relate their experiences and how their journeys affected their personal and professional lives.
The foreword by Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware Inc., sets the tone for the biographies. Each memoir is succinct and personal but presented without drama or exaggeration. Gelsinger begins with his family’s return to Silicon Valley, “the center of technology and innovation.” He explains that Vaccarello’s book contains “stories of intellectual, innovative leaders who are finding critical impact in their lives from a relationship with a vibrant God.” That clearly defines the dichotomy of this book.
The wide range of local professionals who share their experiences include Paul Ely, former Hewlett-Packard Co. executive; John Dearborn, M.D., orthopedic surgeon; Dr. William Hurlbut, Stanford consulting professor; Kevin Compton, Radar Partners venture capitalist; Jaida Im, Freedom House founder; Reggie Littlejohn, Women’s Rights without Frontiers founder; Kirk Perry, Google Inc. president of brand solutions; Deb Liu, Facebook Inc. executive; and Dave Evans, co-founder of Electronic Arts Inc. and educator.
There are many books, articles and pamphlets currently available that offer suggestions on how to find success. Vaccarello flipped the goal and found successful men and women willing to share how they found God and moreover “found Him in a unique place – Silicon Valley – which makes their journeys of faith even more remarkable. The region’s orientation is secular.”
The book offers an engaging, intimate chat with many of our neighbors. It is interesting enough to merit an endorsement by someone who achieved success and recognition in a completely different occupation. Brent Jones, who achieved fame as a San Francisco 49er, now a managing director at Northgate Capital, said: “I highly recommend that you read ‘Finding God in Silicon Valley.’ It could change your life!”
“Finding God in Silicon Valley” is available at amazon.com.