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

Reviewed by Deane Barker tags: history, tech, tech-history

Amazingly wonderful book on the history of the digital age, all the way from Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage through to Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Wonderfully written, always engrossing.

It begins with a long discussion of Lovelace, Babbage, and Turing’s thoughts on whether a machine could ever be human. It ends on the same subject – have we gotten to the point where computers can think for themselves? (No.)

In between are 450 pages of the complete history of how computers were created (and just what is a computer anyway?), the Internet, online services, the Web, hardware, software, and everything in between.

All throughout, the focus is on the people. I noted that most subheadings in a chapter are just a single name of the person he discusses. The focus is not on the innovations, the focus is on the innovators themselves. Along with this is a discussion about just how innovation happens, and it’s a familiar refrain: teams of people, building on existing ideas, to make greater things.

An important book. A wonderful book.

Book Info

Walter Isaacson

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