Book picks similar to
Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin
Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age
Michael A. Hiltzik - 1999
And they did it without fanfare or recognition from their employer. Hiltzik's Dealers of Lightning provides a fascinating look at technohistory that sets the record straight. In Dealers of Lightning, Hiltzik describes the forces and faces behind the revolution that the Xerox PARC team single-handedly spawned. The Xerox PARC group was composed solely of top technical minds. The decision was made at Xerox headquarters to give the team complete freedom from deadlines and directives, in hopes of fostering a true creative environment. It worked perhaps too well. The team responded with a steady output of amazing technology, including the first version of the Internet, the first personal computer, user-friendly word-processing programs, and pop-up menus. Xerox, far from ready for the explosion of innovation, failed to utilize the technology dreamed up by the group. Out of all the dazzling inventions born at Xerox PARC, only a handful were developed and marketed by Xerox. However, one of these inventions, the laser printer, proved successful enough to earn billions for the company, therefore justifying its investment in the research center. Most oftheteam's creations would go on to be developed and perfected by other companies, such as IBM, Apple, and Microsoft. Drawing from interviews with the engineers, executives, and scientists involved in the Xerox PARC, Dealers of Lightning chronicles an amazing era of egos, ideas, and inventions at the dawn of the computer age.
The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal
M. Mitchell Waldrop - 2001
C. R. Licklider, whose visionary dream of a human-computer symbiosis transformed the course of modern science and led to the development of the personal computer. Reprint.
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
Michael Lewis - 1999
He found this in Jim Clark, a man whose achievements include the founding of three separate billion-dollar companies. Lewis also found much more, and the result—the best-selling book The New New Thing—is an ingeniously conceived history of the Internet revolution.
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
Jon Gertner - 2012
From the transistor to the laser, it s hard to find an aspect of modern life that hasn t been touched by Bell Labs. Why did so many transformative ideas come from Bell Labs? In "The Idea Factory," Jon Gertner traces the origins of some of the twentieth century s most important inventions and delivers a riveting and heretofore untold chapter of American history. At its heart this is a story about the life and work of a small group of brilliant and eccentric men Mervin Kelly, Bill Shockley, Claude Shannon, John Pierce, and Bill Baker who spent their careers at Bell Labs. Their job was to research and develop the future of communications. Small-town boys, childhood hobbyists, oddballs: they give the lie to the idea that Bell Labs was a grim cathedral of top-down command and control.Gertner brings to life the powerful alchemy of the forces at work behind Bell Labs inventions, teasing out the intersections between science, business, and society. He distills the lessons that abide: how to recruit and nurture young talent; how to organize and lead fractious employees; how to find solutions to the most stubbornly vexing problems; how to transform a scientific discovery into a marketable product, then make it even better, cheaper, or both. Today, when the drive to invent has become a mantra, Bell Labs offers us a way to enrich our understanding of the challenges and solutions to technological innovation. Here, after all, was where the foundational ideas on the management of innovation were born. "The Idea Factory" is the story of the origins of modern communications and the beginnings of the information age a deeply human story of extraordinary men who were given extraordinary means time, space, funds, and access to one another and edged the world into a new dimension."
Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom)
Adam Fisher - 2018
It will take us all back to our roots in the counterculture, and will remind us of the true nature of the innovation process, before we tried to tame it with slogans and buzzwords." -- Po Bronson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nudist on the Late Shift and NurtureshockA candid, colorful, and comprehensive oral history that reveals the secrets of Silicon Valley -- from the origins of Apple and Atari to the present day clashes of Google and Facebook, and all the start-ups and disruptions that happened along the way.Rarely has one economy asserted itself as swiftly--and as aggressively--as the entity we now know as Silicon Valley. Built with a seemingly permanent culture of reinvention, Silicon Valley does not fight change; it embraces it, and now powers the American economy and global innovation. So how did this omnipotent and ever-morphing place come to be? It was not by planning. It was, like many an empire before it, part luck, part timing, and part ambition. And part pure, unbridled genius...Drawing on over two hundred in-depth interviews, VALLEY OF GENIUS takes readers from the dawn of the personal computer and the internet, through the heyday of the web, up to the very moment when our current technological reality was invented. It interweaves accounts of invention and betrayal, overnight success and underground exploits, to tell the story of Silicon Valley like it has never been told before. Read it to discover the stories that Valley insiders tell each other: the tall tales that are all, improbably, true.
How the Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone
Brian McCullough - 2018
In How the Internet Happened, he chronicles the whole fascinating story for the first time, beginning in a dusty Illinois basement in 1993, when a group of college kids set off a once-in-an-epoch revolution with what would become the first “dotcom.”Depicting the lives of now-famous innovators like Netscape’s Marc Andreessen and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, McCullough also reveals surprising quirks and unknown tales as he tracks both the technology and the culture around the internet’s rise. Cinematic in detail and unprecedented in scope, the result both enlightens and informs as it draws back the curtain on the new rhythm of disruption and innovation the internet fostered, and helps to redefine an era that changed every part of our lives.
Robert X. Cringely - 1992
Accidental Empires is the trenchant, vastly readable history of that industry, focusing as much on the astoundingly odd personalities at its core—Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mitch Kapor, etc. and the hacker culture they spawned as it does on the remarkable technology they created. Cringely reveals the manias and foibles of these men (they are always men) with deadpan hilarity and cogently demonstrates how their neuroses have shaped the computer business. But Cringely gives us much more than high-tech voyeurism and insider gossip. From the birth of the transistor to the mid-life crisis of the computer industry, he spins a sweeping, uniquely American saga of creativity and ego that is at once uproarious, shocking and inspiring.
Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made
Andy Hertzfeld - 2004
Revolution in the Valley traces this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and beyond.The stories in "Revolution in the Valley" come on extremely good authority. That's because author Andy Hertzfeld was a core member of the team that built the Macintosh system software, and a key creator of the Mac's radically new user interface software. One of the chosen few who worked with the mercurial Steve Jobs, you might call him the ultimate insider.When "Revolution in the Valley" begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple's first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II. He sees that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company's most brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort the Macintosh. Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team, and the rest is history.Through lavish illustrations, period photos, and Hertzfeld's vivid first-hand accounts, Revolution in the Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book's portrait of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the Macintosh team. Now, over 20 years later, millions of people are benefiting from the technical achievements of this determined and brilliant group of people.
In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
Steven Levy - 2011
How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes readers inside Google headquarters—the Googleplex—to show how Google works.While they were still students at Stanford, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized Internet search. They followed this brilliant innovation with another, as two of Google’s earliest employees found a way to do what no one else had: make billions of dollars from Internet advertising. With this cash cow, Google was able to expand dramatically and take on other transformative projects: more efficient data centers, open-source cell phones, free Internet video (YouTube), cloud computing, digitizing books, and much more.The key to Google’s success in all these businesses, Levy reveals, is its engineering mind-set and adoption of such Internet values as speed, openness, experimentation, and risk taking. After its unapologetically elitist approach to hiring, Google pampers its engineers—free food and dry cleaning, on-site doctors and masseuses—and gives them all the resources they need to succeed. Even today, with a workforce of more than 23,000, Larry Page signs off on every hire.But has Google lost its innovative edge? With its newest initiative, social networking, Google is chasing a successful competitor for the first time. Some employees are leaving the company for smaller, nimbler start-ups. Can the company that famously decided not to be evil still compete?No other book has ever turned Google inside out as Levy does with In the Plex.
Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
Linus Torvalds - 2001
Then he wrote a groundbreaking operating system and distributed it via the Internet -- for free. Today Torvalds is an international folk hero. And his creation LINUX is used by over 12 million people as well as by companies such as IBM.Now, in a narrative that zips along with the speed of e-mail, Torvalds gives a history of his renegade software while candidly revealing the quirky mind of a genius. The result is an engrossing portrayal of a man with a revolutionary vision, who challenges our values and may change our world.
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
Paul Graham - 2004
Who are these people, what motivates them, and why should you care?Consider these facts: Everything around us is turning into computers. Your typewriter is gone, replaced by a computer. Your phone has turned into a computer. So has your camera. Soon your TV will. Your car was not only designed on computers, but has more processing power in it than a room-sized mainframe did in 1970. Letters, encyclopedias, newspapers, and even your local store are being replaced by the Internet.Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham, explains this world and the motivations of the people who occupy it. In clear, thoughtful prose that draws on illuminating historical examples, Graham takes readers on an unflinching exploration into what he calls “an intellectual Wild West.”The ideas discussed in this book will have a powerful and lasting impact on how we think, how we work, how we develop technology, and how we live. Topics include the importance of beauty in software design, how to make wealth, heresy and free speech, the programming language renaissance, the open-source movement, digital design, internet startups, and more.
How Google Works
Eric Schmidt - 2014
As they helped grow Google from a young start-up to a global icon, they relearned everything they knew about management. How Google Works is the sum of those experiences distilled into a fun, easy-to-read primer on corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption.The authors explain how the confluence of three seismic changes - the internet, mobile, and cloud computing - has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers. The companies that will thrive in this ever-changing landscape will be the ones that create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom the authors dub 'smart creatives'. The management maxims ('Consensus requires dissension', 'Exile knaves but fight for divas', 'Think 10X, not 10%') are illustrated with previously unreported anecdotes from Google's corporate history.'Back in 2010, Eric and I created an internal class for Google managers,' says Rosenberg. 'The class slides all read 'Google confidential' until an employee suggested we uphold the spirit of openness and share them with the world. This book codifies the recipe for our secret sauce: how Google innovates and how it empowers employees to succeed.'
Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire
James Wallace - 1992
Part entrepreneur, part enfant terrible, Gates has become the most powerful -- and feared -- player in the computer industry, and arguably the richest man in America. In Hard Drive, investigative reporters Wallace and Erickson follow Gates from his days as an unkempt thirteen-year-old computer hacker to his present-day status as a ruthless billionaire CEO. More than simply a "revenge of the nerds" story though, this is a balanced analysis of a business triumph, and a stunningly driven personality. The authors have spoken to everyone who knows anything about Bill Gates and Microsoft -- from childhood friends to employees and business rivals who reveal the heights, and limits, of his wizardry. From Gates's singular accomplishments to his equally extraordinary brattiness, arrogance, and hostility (the atmosphere is so intense at Microsoft that stressed-out programmers have been known to ease the tension of their eighty-hour workweeks by exploding homemade bombs), this is a uniquely revealing glimpse of the person who has emerged as the undisputed king of a notoriously brutal industry.
The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company
Michael S. Malone - 2014
The legendary inventors of the microprocessor-the single most important product in the modern world-Intel today builds the tiny “engines” that power almost every intelligent electronic device on the planet.But the true story of Intel is the human story of the trio of geniuses behind it. Michael S. Malone reveals how each brought different things to Intel, and at different times. Noyce, the most respected high tech figure of his generation, brought credibility (and money) to the company’s founding; Moore made Intel the world’s technological leader; and Grove, has relentlessly driven the company to ever-higher levels of success and competitiveness. Without any one of these figures, Intel would never have achieved its historic success; with them, Intel made possible the personal computer, Internet, telecommunications, and the personal electronics revolutions.The Intel Trinity is not just the story of Intel’s legendary past; it also offers an analysis of the formidable challenges that lie ahead as the company struggles to maintain its dominance, its culture, and its legacy.With eight pages of black-and-white photos.
The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone
Brian Merchant - 2017
But packed within its slim profile is the fascinating, untold story of scientific, technological, and business breakthroughs--global in scope, sometimes centuries in the making, and coming from vastly different disciplines--that enabled Apple to create the most profitable product in history.For all the time we spend swiping, tapping, and staring at iPhones, you think there would be few things we didn't know about these gadgets. But think again. is a Magic School Bus trip inside the iPhone--traveling into its guts, peeling back its layers, and launching explorations that take us to the driest place on earth and a Mongolian lake of toxic sludge, down the Silk Road, into 19th century photography, and all the way back to Cupertino, California, where members of the original design team reflect on the earth-shattering work they did.As multifaceted as the invention it follows, The One Device is a roving, wide-lens approach to tech history that engages the imagination as it explores the marvel of engineering that millions of us use each day.