Somewhere or other NealStephenson said he started out wondering if he could make a SysAdmin an engaging character. He succeeds marvelously.
Heavy emphasis on crypto, startups (and VultureCapitalism?), AntiCorporatism? and Nazis.
Read it. If you don't do it now, you'll kick yourself when you finally do.
A list of frequently asked questions about the book (with answers by NealStephenson) is at .
Replaced the link above above after finding the original broken on 2003-01-07. --MarkReed
I found the book entertaining as well. One problem for me was that I had already read a lot of the real cypherpunk material, and the book was rather tame in comparison. (It's fiction, so it has to make sense.) I also thought the book would have been better a few hundred pages shorter (it is over 900 pages), but it was a nice leisurely change of pace from my usual 350-page books. (Even the book's FAQ says "the book is lengthy and somewhat discursive".) Perhaps I was just too familiar with the material--much of the "crypto" material was about as exotic to me as a description of a cellphone would be to most people. Most people don't have AppliedCryptography on their bookshelves, however. --CliffordAdams (still on the "coderpunks" list)
I had much the same reaction, to the material on zeta-functions: this used to be within my professional competence. I finished the book, somewhat regretting having spent the time though. Not a book worth rereading, in my opinion. -- CharlesMatthews
By the way, the unofficial FAQ for the CypherPunks mailing list is called the Cyphernomicon.