Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date

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Addison-Wesley, 1992 - Business & Economics - 324 pages
42 Reviews
Computer manufacturing is--after cars, energy production and illegal drugs--the largest industry in the world, and it's one of the last great success stories in American business. Accidental Empires is the trenchant, vastly readable history of that industry, focusing as much on the astoundingly odd personalities at its core--Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mitch Kapor, etc. and the hacker culture they spawned as it does on the remarkable technology they created. Cringely reveals the manias and foibles of these men (they are always men) with deadpan hilarity and cogently demonstrates how their neuroses have shaped the computer business. But Cringely gives us much more than high-tech voyeurism and insider gossip. From the birth of the transistor to the mid-life crisis of the computer industry, he spins a sweeping, uniquely American saga of creativity and ego that is at once uproarious, shocking and inspiring.

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Review: Accidental Empires

User Review  - Vinicius Menezes - Goodreads

A book that looks to history and tries to make sense of it on the most naive way. Bad writing and dull conclusion (after 5 pages you still don't want to believe that it is going where you KNOW it will go...). Read full review

Review: Accidental Empires

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

Really enjoyed the history, wish I'd read it in '95 though! Read full review

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About the author (1992)

Robert X. Cringely has been a Silicon Valley journalist and character for more than 30 years. An early employee of iconic companies including Apple and Adobe Systems, Cringely began his career as an engineer then transitioned into reporting and analysis, first at InfoWorld and since 1997 as one of the first Internet bloggers, first at and now at His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the world including Forbes, The New York Times, Newsweek, MIT Technology Journal and many others. In addition to InfoWorld he has worked as a columnist for Inc. and Worth magazines and ASCII magazine in Japan. His previous book, Accidental Empires, was published in 18 languages. His television documentaries made primarily for PBS and UK Channel 4 have aired in more than 60 countries. Cringely lives in Santa Rosa, California with his lovely wife and three young sons.

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