The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Abridged / Go to Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2014
Duration: 8 hours 47 minutes
The major thrust of Isaacson's biographical tale of these great pioneers and entrepreneurs is that most of the innovations of the digital age were done collaboratively. It is through this collaboration, not only among peers but across generations, that made possible the handing off of visionary ideas that transformed our world.
The parallel story is that of the personal computer. Devised as a tool for solo creativity (somewhat hippie San Francisco), it came together with the Internet, which was built on collaboration in the late 80s. Isaacson compares it to the inventions of the steam engine and mechanical processes that led to the Industrial Revolution. There are one billion people presently connected.
In this colorful saga, we start with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter, who wrote a treatise on a general purpose computer in the middle of the nineteenth century. The book is filled with fascinating personalities, from early pioneers such as Vannevar Bush, Steward Brand, Doug Engelbart, Howard Aiken, Robert Noyce, Andy Grave, to Bill Gates and Jobs and Wozniak.
And from Lovelace to Jobs, Isaacson adds that the crucial digital insights have come from those who connect the humanities to technology, the arts to the sciences, beauty to utility. The interplay of these will continue to invent new forms of content. This is the biggest story out there.