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If you're not too familiar with the story, Where Wizards Stay Up Late is a good history of the beginning of the internet. https://www.amazon.com/Where-Wizards-Stay-Up-Late/dp/0684832...

Taylor had an immense impact both direct and indirect on the nature of computing as we know it today, it's a little sad he's not better known.

Dealers of Lightning does a great job detailing his role in it all - https://www.amazon.com/Dealers-Lightning-Xerox-PARC-Computer... that along with soul of a new machine really capture the spirit of that 60s/70s generation of computing.

Yet another book showcasing Bob Taylor's impact on personal computing and networking is The Dream Machine https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Machine-Licklider-Revolution-Co... .

This one tells the story from the precursors to time-sharing to PARC, using the figure of J.C.R. Licklider as a pivot, and was recommended by Alan Kay as better than Dealers of Lightning. I personally enjoyed both.

The Dream Machine was Taylor's own favorite of this genre.

And of most of the participants at ARPA-IPTO and PARC. "Dealers of Lightning" was too much of the "hero's journey" trope, and also very confusing in sequence (even to those of us who were there). Both books missed how and why researchers cooperated and coordinated across projects, but "Dream Machine" is much more clear and generally more accurate.

I kind of feel that way about Von Neumann, too. Huge vision and influence but too normal to write a dramatic screenplay about.

His daughter's book The Martian's daughter is pretty good, though.


This book really is fantastic - if you work on anything related to the web and don't know the history of the ARPANET and how it was the foundation of the internet we know today, I highly recommend checking out this book.

I thought Robert X. Cringely did an excellent summary of the time -- in Accidental Empires as well.


strongly second this recommendation; it is hands down the best history-of-tech book i've ever read.

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