The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
2015 Audie Award Finalist for Non-Fiction
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.
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|Listening Length||17 hours and 28 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 07, 2014|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #6,498 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2 in Digital Design (Books)
#4 in Computing Industry History
#4 in Computer & Technology Biographies
Top reviews from the United States
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While it’s true that the world’s greatest innovators were enabled by systems of collaborative support, the framing of it all in this book seemed so planned that it came across as dishonest. All the way to the end when the famous quote came up: ‘you didn’t build that’.
Certain people have a disproportionate impact on human advancement, and no matter how hard you try to replace the main course with a side dish, the main course is the main course. Give credit where credit is due, and that did not appropriately come out in this book.
Moving on to Harold Bloom’s, Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds...
Isaacson, always interested in what makes some people truly significant and others merely dreamers or money makers, focuses on the need for sensitivity to the ability of computers to complement, instead of replace, human intelligence. He also observes that the major figures in computing were able to blend insights from the humanities and sciences and tended to work in close collaboration with others. The myth of the lonely creative genius turns out, at least in computing, to be mostly a myth.
The book travels rather well trodden ground and is not a book for those who want an understanding of the development of computer science. But if you are interested in sketches--almost universally positive as is Isaacson's style--of the major figures in computing along with a simple explanation as to why they're important, this book is a good purchase.
Isaacson's prose is easy to read--I read the whole book in less than day--which means that the book is not only a worthy exercise in lifetime learning but a pleasurable experience as well. I would have preferred more technical descriptions of computer science but I work in data analytics so my opinion may not accord with the majority of readers.
Somewhat simplistic, too universally positive but still an interesting survey of the major figures in computing. Not life changing but I can think of worse ways to spend nine hours than reading a work with as interesting a subject and as polished prose as this book.
That was 1952. It was also the year when Grace Hopper developed the first computer compiler and a computer predicted the winner of a presidential election. We’ve sure come a long way since then.
My telephone story didn’t make Walter Isaacson’s book, The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, And Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, but Grace Hopper’s story did, and so did the story of that UNIVAC computer that predicted the outcome of the presidential election. If you like stories of human ingenuity, and you’re interested in how we got to where we are today in technology, this is the book for you.
Walter Isaacson is an amazing writer and a great storyteller. The book is a selection of stories, beginning back in 1843 with Ada Lovelace, right down to almost the present day with the stories of Wikipedia and IBM’s Watson computer beating the experts on Jeopardy!
There are stories about people that I’m sure you’ve heard of, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Steward Brand. There are also stories of people who aren’t as well-known to the general public.
You’ll read about Paul Baran, who devised the packet-switching technology that makes the internet possible. There’s the story of Ray Tomlinson, who gets credit for creating the first email program. You’ll learn about the powerful influence that World War II had on the development of technology. You’ll trace the genealogy of important tech companies, from Bell Labs through Shockley Semiconductor, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Intel. You’ll learn how George Boole’s system of using algebra for logical reasoning (1847) was used by Claude Shannon almost a century later.
I’ve got a special perspective on this book stories because I’ve been fascinated with technology since I was young, and because I was “present at the creation” when computers were moving from kits to finished goods and computing was changing from mainframe systems to client-server systems. I have first-hand experience with some of the people and situations described in this book, and by and large, Isaacson got them all right.
In A Nutshell
If you’re interested in the history of technology and how we got to where we are today, rendered in well-told, accurate stories, you’ll want to read The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, And Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.
Top reviews from other countries
Well worth a read.
P.S. The section on Wiki’s also encouraged me to write this review and contribute, very convincing!
My one gripe with the narrative is that it does get a little repetitive at times from a format perspective (new tech -> innovator -> childhood and growing up -> what led to the innovation etc) but that can hardly be avoided in a book of this nature.
The fact that he starts from Ada Lovelace and Babbage and takes us all the way through to the present day in one book is really incredible.