No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet

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Overview


No Better Time tells of a young, driven mathematical genius who wrote a set of algorithms that would create a faster, better Internet. It’s the story of a beautiful friendship between a loud, irreverent student and his soft-spoken MIT professor, of a husband and father who spent years struggling to make ends meet only to become a billionaire almost overnight with the success of Akamai Technologies, the Internet content delivery network he cofounded with his mentor.

Danny ...

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No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet

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Overview


No Better Time tells of a young, driven mathematical genius who wrote a set of algorithms that would create a faster, better Internet. It’s the story of a beautiful friendship between a loud, irreverent student and his soft-spoken MIT professor, of a husband and father who spent years struggling to make ends meet only to become a billionaire almost overnight with the success of Akamai Technologies, the Internet content delivery network he cofounded with his mentor.

Danny Lewin’s brilliant but brief life is largely unknown because, until now, those closest to him have guarded their memories and quietly mourned their loss. For Lewin was almost certainly the first victim of 9/11, stabbed to death at age 31 while trying to overpower the terrorists who would eventually fly American Flight 11 into the World Trade Center. But ironically it was 9/11 that proved the ultimate test for Lewin’s vision—while phone communication failed and web traffic surged as never before, the critical news and government sites that relied on Akamai—and the technology pioneered by Danny Lewin—remained up and running.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Friends and colleagues of Danny Lewin have never forgotten him, but if he is remembered by strangers, it is likely only as the Flight 11 passenger who was the first to die on September 11th. His heroic attempt to foil an aerial hijacking, however, was only the last worthy act in the brief (1970-2001) life of the American-Israeli mathematician and entrepreneur. With unforced enthusiasm, Molly Knight Raskin's No Better Times retrieves stories of this engaging, brilliant man who co-founded the internet-supercharging Akamai Technologies while he was still in his twenties. A winning biography of the man so accurately described in this book's subtitle.

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 8/1/13
“Bittersweet but celebratory.”

Booklist, 9/1/13
“Little-known but thoroughly captivating life story… A superlatively written and well-deserved tribute to an overlooked internet pioneer and true American hero.”

Tablet Magazine, 9/11/13
“[A] terrific new biography.”

Winnipeg Free Press, 9/9/13
"No Better Time is the chronicle of a man who gave his life to technology and gave his life for mankind."

The Daily Beast, 9/17/13
“This is Lewin’s fascinating biography, but it is also a history of the Internet, and those who took it from clunky dial-up service to the speed-of-light marvel. It is also the story of the September 11 attacks themselves, and how they ground the exuberance of the 1990s to a halt. Raskin has meticulously reconstructed the buoyancy of the ’90s dot-com boom, and her restraint in covering the attacks lends a sober poignancy to Lewin’s story.”

BusinessInsider.com, 11/7/13
“Awesome…I recommend it for any entrepreneur out there either working on a company or thinking about starting a company… Molly Knight Raskin, writes beautifully, deeply, and thoughtfully. She combines an origin story (for Akamai), a coming of age story (for Lewin), and a tragedy (for Lewin, his family, his extended family, and Akamai.) …[A] great biography of an entrepreneur, his company, and his all too short life.”

Jewish Review of Books, Winter 2013
“An engaging tale of a continent-straddling and action-packed but all-too-short life. Raskin’s story of one man’s stunning success also elicits a nostalgia for the excitement of those years—when the Internet was new.”

Kirkus Reviews
An account of the tragically brief life of mathematician Danny Lewin (1970–2001), whose innovative algorithms "[changed] the Internet forever." When the Denver-born former Israeli Defense Forces soldier entered MIT in 1996 to begin work on a doctorate in mathematics, the Internet was still very much a work in progress. It offered limitless possibilities as the information superhighway, but its "complex architecture" was plagued by an ever-present congestion that no one seemed to know how to alleviate. While working with Tom Leighton, the graduate adviser who would become his business partner and close friend, Lewin wrote a set of algorithms that would transform the Internet from the "World Wide Wait" into a faster, more efficient communication tool. His aim was to become an academic like his mentor, but the desire to provide a better life for his family motivated him to turn his ideas into a business. In 1997, he and Leighton entered the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition in hopes of attracting the money they needed to fund a content-delivery company they christened Akamai Technologies. Although they lost, Lewin continued to pursue their dream with a passion that caught the attention of both high-level venture capitalists and brilliant young computer scientists. By late 1999, Akamai boasted clients like Disney, Apple and Yahoo and had made Lewin and Leighton into billionaires. Lewin died--though with his military training, "not without a fight"--when his plane crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11. Ironically, it was his trailblazing technology that helped online news sources like CNN and MSNBC withstand the colossal worldwide demand for information about the attacks that killed him along with thousands of innocent bystanders. Bittersweet but celebratory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306821660
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 117,060
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Molly Knight Raskin is a Columbia School of Journalism graduate who has reported for Scientific American Mind, Psychology Today, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Her television credits include two PBS documentaries. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two daughters.
MollyKnightRaskin.com
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    I just finished reading No Better Time, and was completely fasci

    I just finished reading No Better Time, and was completely fascinated by this unique story of a brilliant man, the brilliant technology he created for Internet transmissions, and which undoubtedly contributed to the operation of this website and millions of others, and to his tragic death as "the first victim of 9/11". Molly Knight Raskin weaves together a nonfiction story that reads like fiction - the elements of humanity, science, technology and tragedy told in a way that holds the reader's attention to the very end. Well done!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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