The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 1476708703

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 1476708703

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed The Innovators is a “riveting, propulsive, and at times deeply moving” (The Atlantic) story of the people who created the computer and the Internet.

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?

The Innovators is a masterly saga of collaborative genius destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution—and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. Isaacson begins the adventure 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 is “a sweeping and surprisingly tenderhearted history of the digital age” (The New York Times).

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well. “But Kent would never let me get away with that.” Evans was as savvy about business as Gates was. When they finished the payroll program, Evans made a note in the meticulous journal that he kept: “Tuesday we go to Portland to deliver the program and as they have put it, ‘hammer out an agreement for future work.’ Everything so far has been done for its educational benefits and for large amounts of expensive computer time. Now we want to get some monetary benefits, too.”33 The negotiations

working in his parents’ apartment. Konrad Zuse was finishing the prototype for a calculator that was binary and could read instructions from a punched tape. However, at least in its first version, called the Z1, it was a mechanical, not an electrical or electronic, machine. Like many pioneers in the digital age, Zuse grew up fascinated by both art and engineering. After graduating from a technical college, he got a job as a stress analyst for an aircraft company in Berlin, solving linear

decisive, unlike those run by Noyce, where people tended to hang around as long as possible knowing that he was likely to tacitly assent to the last person who had his ear. What saved Grove from seeming like a tyrant was that he was so irrepressible, which made him hard not to like. When he smiled, his eyes lit up. He had a pixielike charisma. With his Hungarian accent and goofy grin, he was by far the most colorful engineer in the valley. He succumbed to the dubious fashions of the early 1970s

funny, so he was well-suited to video games.”19 At the time, Bushnell had a contract to make a new video game for the Chicago firm Bally Midway. The plan was to do a car racing game, which seemed likely to be more appealing than spaceship navigation to beer drinkers in workingmen’s bars. But before tossing the task to Alcorn, Bushnell decided to give him a warm-up exercise. At a trade show, Bushnell had checked out the Magnavox Odyssey, a primitive console for playing games on home television

named Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, born in 1915 and known to everyone as “Lick.” He pioneered the two most important concepts underlying the Internet: decentralized networks that would enable the distribution of information to and from anywhere, and interfaces that would facilitate human-machine interaction in real time. Plus, he was the founding director of the military office that funded the ARPANET, and he returned for a second stint a decade later when protocols were created to weave it

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