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The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great…

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

by Jon Gertner

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Excellent book of its type. There will never be another Bell Labs which
influenced all history forever with things like transistors which allowed the
development of computers and space travel etc etc. ( )
  PaulRx04 | Apr 15, 2016 |
A fascinating look into what had to be the premier private industrial research lab of the century (maybe of all time). Interesting people, interesting and world-changing discoveries and inventions abound. It make me almost thankful that ATT was allowed to operate as a monopoly for so long. It is unlikely Bell Labs could have accomplished what it did under any other circumstances. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
An interesting, enlightening, and at times confusing history of not only Bell Labs, but communication on a whole. The story seemed to jump around history as it followed one person after another, and only the dates were an indicator where we were at on the timeline. This book looked at many of the key players not only in the telephone but military development of radars, radios, and more. Highly recommended as an historical study, or leisure read, but not for those trying to follow the story in one straight line. ( )
  Ermina | Feb 25, 2016 |
There's a lot of interesting history here, but not a lot of depth. Most of all, I feel a bit like Gertner is a bit too focused on the positive side of the Bell Labs phenomenon, but steps lightly around the monopolistic and domineering side of the operation. Still, tons of interesting background and biographical information on the various personalities involved. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
We wake up in the morning, turn on our televisions and computers that stream digital information everywhere, check our cell phones to see what has bounced off of towers and satellites, and we don't think about any of it. We don't think about how long that cell phone has been in the hands of human kind, we don't think about how television has changed, we don't think about how the satellites got put together to do what they do or where they get their power from. It's all just there. This book will make you realize what amazing things man has accomplished since the beginning of Bell Labs.

Well written and thoroughly enjoyable, this isn't your average book on technology and invention. There is no dry rambling here, everything is entertaining and engaging, bringing the reader into history so perfectly that you feel as if you were inside one of the buildings, or out in the fields on a picnic with the families of the workers. One can't help but wonder how much we could accomplish if more places of invention and progress were set up the way Bell Labs had been arranged, creating environments of free invention.

Being of the generation who was young just as the first computers were coming around, there were parts of this book that I was able to relive with a new, adult perspective, but there were also elements that came before my time where I found myself surprised at what had once been and how quickly times had changed. I think this will be a wonderful book for anyone of any age, whether the reader wants to relive their past or learn from something that happened before their time. You won't often hear this said about books dealing with invention and technology, but this one was a real page turner. I couldn't put it down. ( )
  mirrani | Mar 30, 2014 |
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Highlights achievements of Bell Labs as a leading innovator, exploring the role of its highly educated employees in developing new technologies while considering the qualities of companies where innovation and development are most successful.

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