This is the first book I've read by Neal Stephenson. It's one of those iconic sci-fi books that people talk about. I first heard about it while I was reading some Heroes boards; a number of people were comparing the Hiro in the TV show to the Hiro in the book. Other than the name and the sword carrying I'm personally not sure there's a ton of common ground.
I found it kind of interesting, but it took me quite a while to get into it at all. At least the first half just felt like a chore. It did get more engaging eventually, but it took a while. I think it had more to do with the writing style than anything, a lot of it felt really disjointed.
A lot of the ideas in it are interesting (and a little scary!) Corporations are basically in charge of everything, there's no laws to speak of... there doesn't seem to be much in the way of personal connections. The "internet" in the book seems really nifty though! It's the 3-D, avatars, virtual reality version that movies frequently use.
It was an interesting book and I'm glad I read it, there's a lot of movies and things that I can see got some of their inspiration from it, and that's always nifty to see. But I'm not sure I'll read anything else by the author for a while.