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The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors,…
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The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks… (2014)

by Walter Isaacson

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Exceptional - I always felt that I missed something in the internet/WWW thingummy. Gave me some perspective. In conjuction with "the long tail" (chris Anderson) I get it and how I missed it. ( )
  Brumby18 | Jun 18, 2019 |
I read about 10% and then skimmed through another 10% on transistors and microchips. There was more detail than I was interested in wading though.
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
L'explosion numérique n'est pas seulement le fait de quelques génies, c'est une entreprise collective, le résultat d'un travail d'équipes qui ont avancé ensemble, bravant les obstacles les uns après les autres.
  ACParakou | May 28, 2018 |
I wanted to like it a lot but couldn't After having recently read his biography on Steve Jobs, I was excited to see Isaacson out with a new book about the men and women that helped shape the digital revolution today. Starting off with a bang on Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, the author takes the reader thematically through the origins of things like the web, the internet, the personal computer, the transistor, etc.
 
Yet, there was something not quite right. He does really well when writing the biography sections: his part of Lovelace had me hooked, just as his huge tome on Jobs kept me reading. But when he gets into the technical details my eyes glazed over. I thought this was a personal thing--those details bored me in his Jobs bio too.
 
The problem for me was that the book never gelled together. It's very choppy and chopped up. It's divided by concepts or products or ideas, rather than a single flowing narrative. And compounding this problem is his sections on various people. Each major player in each of the big sections get their own biography and then when the timelines converge we see the players interact. I couldn't really bring myself to continue reading but flipped here and there to see if there was anyone or anything that interested me.
 
Other reviews elsewhere criticize this book as being shallow, a lack of original research, etc. As I'm no expert I don't know if I could comment either way, but I will say that I can spot a MAJOR missing concept: the Silicon Valley.
 
As a slice of the San Francisco Bay Area, the SV is currently home to many companies such as Apple, Facebook, Cisco, eBay, Netflix, Yahoo!, etc, and what arguably gave birth to the SV, Hewlett-Packard. HP is no longer the giant it once was and is a shadow of its former self (which could be said of many companies there). But the SV is unique and other cities/countries (New York City, China, etc.) have attempted or are attempting to create something similar to spur tech growth.
 
The history of HP gets a few measly mentions in his chapter on transistors (with appearances elsewhere) and SV doesn't even get an entry in the index. Considering the work Isaacson had done on Steve Jobs, I am surprised he didn't make the connection that many of items he writes about were birthed, worked on, produced, etc. in the area. And that many of the people who he writes about in his transistor chapter are associated with the SV. It didn't need its own chapter, but this almost complete omission seems really odd.
 
It wasn't for me and apparently it's definitely not for a lot of other people either. Isaacson is a great writer, but he mostly flopped here. As other reviews note, this project seems entirely too rushed and has the feel of a bunch of magazine articles hastily pasted together to create a book. Recommend the library, or at least skim though it, especially if you're familiar with a lot of the people who the author profiles.
 
  ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Isaacson does a tremendous amount of research and this book is no exception. Fantastic, very readable history. I knew a considerable amount of it already from other books, but Isaacson wove an expansive story with appropriate breadth and depth.

If you ever programmed with punch cards, or learned assembler, or wanted to know more about ARPANET and Linux...or want to wax nostaglic, this is a great book. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
... even at its most rushed, the book evinces a genuine affection for its subjects that makes it tough to resist. Isaacson confesses early on that he was once “an electronics geek who loved Heathkits and ham radios,” and that background seems to have given him keen insight into how youthful passion transforms into professional obsession. His book is thus most memorable not for its intricate accounts of astounding breakthroughs and the business dramas that followed, but rather for the quieter moments in which we realize that the most primal drive for innovators is a need to feel childlike joy.
 
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(Introduction) The computer and the Internet are among the most important inventions of our era, but few people know who created them.
In May 1833, when she was seventeen, Ada Bron was among the young women presented at the British royal court.
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Innovation requires articulation.
Sometimes innovation involves recovering what has been lost.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 147670869X, Hardcover)

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.

For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:59 -0400)

"Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson's revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail? In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page. This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It's also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen"--… (more)

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