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

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 7, 2014 - Technology & Engineering - 560 pages
Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed The Innovators is a “riveting, propulsive, and at times deeply moving” (The Atlantic) story of the people who created the computer and the internet.

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. Isaacson begins the adventure 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 is “a sweeping and surprisingly tenderhearted history of the digital age” (The New York Times).

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THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

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A panoramic history of technological revolution. "Innovation occurs when ripe seeds fall on fertile ground," Aspen Institute CEO Isaacson (Steve Jobs, 2011, etc.) writes in this sweeping, thrilling ... Read full review

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Having read Issacson's Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein's biographies, I was very much looking forward to his latest effort. While the book was certainly interesting, it did lack some of the depth of the other books. Personally, I found the sections discussing the development of the semiconductor industry to be particularly insightful. His discussion of the development of Google and other applications that have made the web so much part of our lives was very interesting as well. I did not find the early sections regarding Ada Lovelace and others to be as compelling.  

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Illustrated Timeline x
Ada Countess of Lovelace
The Computer
The Transistor
The Microchip
Video Games
The Personal Computer
The Web
Ada Forever
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About the author (2014)

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography; and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, DC.

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