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


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More by Walter Isaacson

Email Address. Sign In. Access provided by: anon Sign Out. The innovators: how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution Isaacson, W. In How the Internet Happened , he chronicles the whole fascinating story for the first time, beginning in a dusty Illinois basement in , when a group of college kids set off a once-in-an-epoch revolution with what would become the first "dotcom".

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. At the time, the company was already well-known for doing things differently, reflecting the visionary - and frequently contrarian - principles of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If Eric and Jonathan were going to succeed, they realized they would have to relearn everything they thought they knew about management and business. 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?


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What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

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He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J. This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen. This book is a grand and gratifying overview of the Innovators who have played a major role in forging today's dynamic technology and our high-tech society, with its main focus on the last 80 or so years. Only Walter Isaacson, who has written bios of Jobs and Einstein, would have the brilliant ability to research on the shoulders of a wealth of prior research , comprehend and assimilate all this intriguing and highly complex information and transform it all into an inquisitive and fascinating look at our technological Innovators, coherent and clear enough for the average reader to understand AND enjoy.

I took away a much more informed perspective of how we got here and a distinct reverence for the innovators in the text and generally for the human capacity for incredible intellect and curiosity as well as our enduring and limitless creativity. The following quote gives the best overview, in my opinion, of the book to an average reader such as I : "Most of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this book had one thing in common: they were product people.

They cared about, and deeply understood, the engineering and design. They were not primarily marketers or salesmen or financial types; when such folks took over companies, it was often to the detriment of sustained innovation. Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking.

Even the personal computer, which was originally embraced as a tool for individual creativity, inevitably led to the rise of modems, online services, and eventually Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare. Machines, by contrast, are not social animals. Despite all of the proclamations of artificial intelligence engineers and Internet sociologists, digital tools have no personalities, intentions, or desires. They are what we make of them. This book is due all exceptional acclaim.

The stories are woven together to give the book a cohesive flow and it reads like a novel. For technology fans, some of the stories won't be new These are geeks' stories told lovingly by someone who clearly respects them and what they've done. I listened to the audible.

I highly recommend this book to those interested in technology or innovation. I have a PC, a laptop, a smartphone, an Ipod and an electronic keyboard. I'm not boasting. Most people in the West who aren't embroiled in poverty probably own a similar range of digital devices. These digital machines have taken over the World and occupy large chunks of our time. And I'm not complaining. I get huge pleasure listening to talking books a gift of the digital age and browsing the internet.

I hadn't heard of internet or email, There was no Wiki, Google or Facebook. I find this dramatic recent change in our way of life astounding. And I'm not a computer geek at all. I have no idea how they work, I just enjoy the way they present information, entertainment and interactions with my old friends whenever and wherever I want them. So this book is the story of how that all came about. The visionaries and eccentrics who took the series of steps, starting with adding machines and progressing to the first personal computers, video games, the internet, search engines and social networking.

It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it a fascinating listen. The research behind this book is impressive and useful for those teaching a history of the industry.


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  7. But it is dry and dull. It is like listening to the required standard textbooks in Uni. It was nearly impossible to fight my mind from drifting. I hardly made it through 3 chapters, and I wanted to learn the content. Maybe this is easier to learn from in print. But in audio form, it can only compete with the audio version of a Drivers manual. Isaacson covers the transistor, the microchip, microprocessor, the programmable computer and software.


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    He also covers videogames, the internet and web, search engines, touch screens taken together it is called the digital revolution. The digital revolution has changed many things for all people. Some people call this the third industrial revolution. The first based on coal, steam and iron, the second on steel, electricity and mass production. The author tells the story of how the digital revolution happened, through the accomplishment of many individuals. Isaacson draws attention to organizations that, for a time hosted groups that were more than the sum of their individual parts.

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    It has been called the most important invention of the 20th century. The creative teams at Intel, the key company in development of the microprocessor industry and Xerox-PARC probably the single most fertile source of electronic innovation in the s, they created the Ethernet, the graphic user interface, and the famous mouse.

    Texas Instruments created the personal calculator. The creation of demand for personal devices has blossomed. It was Robert Oppenheimer, who at wartime Los Alamos so effectively found ways of getting scientists with radically different fields, skills and personalities to work together in designing the atomic bomb. Bill Gates foresaw that hardware could be commoditized. Isaacson tells of mathematician Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, as she set out to create analytical engines. Isaacson weaves his enormous amount of research into deftly crafted anecdotes into gripping narrative about these imaginative scientists who transformed our lives.

    The book is a fun and informative read. Dennis Boutsikaris did a good job narrating the book. Would you listen to The Innovators again? If you know little about the history of computing this is a great listen. It covers a lot of ground, and the narration is superb. My only gripe is that if is very superficial in many areas. Many innovations outside the USA get little or no credit like those my the Japanese, Germans, Australians, Koreans, or Taiwanese , and if you are already familiar with computing history then you may already know much of the content, in which case it may bore and frustrate you.

    Recommended for those not so hardcore into computer science, or looking to stoke a passion in that field. What was one of the most memorable moments of The Innovators? The tales of Lady Loveless and Babbage. He gives the words a chance to sink in, especially at key moments. Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry? It inspired me to continue deeper into the field of robotics.

    Thank you! Any additional comments? Audiobooks are awesome. Or, that the programmable computer was foreseen in the 's.

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    Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals. Walter Isaacson October 7, Switch to the audiobook. 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.

    He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J. This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. More by Walter Isaacson See more. Steve Jobs. Walter Isaacson. Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination.

    The Innovators | Book by Walter Isaacson | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

    He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

    Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. Leonardo da Vinci. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper.

    So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Reviews Review Policy. Published on. Flowing text, Original pages. Best For.

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    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

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