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Ask HN: Recommendations on books and documentaries on tech companies/people?
190 points by __exit__ 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 113 comments
There exist lots of material about trending companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple and the people behind them such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, etc...

But what about companies such as Sun Microsystems, Netscape, Intel, Red Hat...and people involved in tech such as Tim Berners-Lee, Marissa Mayer, Brian Kernighan...?

For instance, I read the "iWoz" book by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and loved it because he describes lots of technical challenges he faced, as well as what problems had Apple back at the time. Lots of fun facts, anecdotes and info, mainly from a technical perspective.

Another nice book was "Just For Fun", by Linus Torvalds. It provided a human perspective on Linus, who is usually depicted as a tyrant. In addition he describes the initial development of the Linux Kernel as well as the whys behind it, a nice introspection for those who are into programming.

Those are the kinds stories I'd like to read, material about tech companies: how they got created, what struggles did they have to face, the people that founded them and developed them.

Do you have any recommendations in the form of books, documentaries, blog posts or other sorts of material?

Thank in advance!




You might enjoy Steven Levy's Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution[1]. It's not too focused on specific people or companies, although you'll encounter some well known people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Stallman in the book. It's an interesting read because it gives you a great background that helps you understand how we ended up with the tech culture and environment we have today.

In the reply to another comment, I also mentioned Coders at Work[2]. I found that it provided some great insight into the early days of some fascinating companies from a technical perspective.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Computer-Revolution-Steven-Le... [2] https://www.amazon.com/Coders-Work-Reflections-Craft-Program...


I'm currently in the process of reading "Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age,"[0] and I highly recommend it. I've always viewed Xerox as primarily an office printer company, and the fact that they innovated/invented many of the systems that we still use today (ethernet, layered windows on an operating system, the mouse, bitmap displays) and then failed to market these technologies, makes for a really interesting read.

[0] - https://www.amazon.com/Dealers-Lightning-Xerox-PARC-Computer...


Agreed, it's one of my favourite books of all time.


I agree, it is a great book!


The Innovaters by Walter Issacson. It's literally about 20 biographies in one book, documenting the internet creation, and the computer, which meet in the middle in the 80s and 90s.

I can't recommended it enough of you are looking for stories of people and companies to how we got to where we are today.


If you're searching for this book try: "Innovators by Walter Isaacson".


No kindle version?


Sorry it took me so long to reply. Amazon does list a Kindle version as being available.


Awesome thanks for this one.


_Showstopper_ One of the best tech books, after _Soul of a New Machine_ (recommended in the comments, too). Covers Microsoft's creation of Windows NT.

_DEC is Dead. Long Live DEC_ about the rise and fall of Digital Equipment Corporation.

_Skunkworks_ Lockheed-Martin's creation of the SR-71.

_Moneyball_ using math to build a top flight US baseball team.

Broadening the category a bit:

_The Smartest Guys in the Room_ is about Enron's collapse. Not directly related to computer tech but definitely tech and people.

_Billion Dollar Lessons_ covers several spectacular company failures. Again, not strictly tech related but amazing stories of crash & burn. Includes (IIRC) Iridium, Kodak, IBM.


Based on your listings, you may also enjoy When Genius Failed, which is based on LTCM and their downfall.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0375758259/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_j0...


Did read _When Genius Failed_. Is indeed a great read.


Speaking of Moneyball, everything written by Michael Lewis is great. He paints great pictures of interesting people, and the adventures that they have in the workplace.


Maybe a bit more of a downer than you have in mind, but I read Surveillance Valley by Yasha Levine and I thought parts were interesting, especially the discussion of the links between TOR and US intelligence.

Seibel's Coders at Work is really fascinating and it's great to get all these different perspectives, some of them really tearing down current orthodoxy (like the interview about how nobody really reads code or jwz making fun of software blogs).

Free as in Freedom, about Richard Stallman, was also a book I enjoyed reading a lot, although I understand the subject hated it (it's been a while, but I recall it being a pretty sympathetic portrait, but unflattering in parts).

I'm interested to know if anybody read the Carreyou book about Theranos. It sounds like it could be good.


I just finished Bad Blood. It's slightly disjoint, but the anecdotes just made my jaw hang open. Well worth reading I think.


Would you kindly provide samples of those anecdotes?


Sorry, I had it from my local library and it's now returned. I'm specifically thinking of the stories about Theranos work culture if anyone else would like to chime in.


Masters of Doom. Great book about John Carmack and id software.


I bought it after seeing it being recommend several times on HN. Personally, I found it rather disappointing. Sure, there are brilliant parts, but on the whole, it was a chore to finish.


I agree. While initial struggling days were interesting but later I had to push myself to finish the book.


It was brief enough that the tedious bits weren't a big deal, in my opinion.


What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry is exactly what you're looking for. It goes way back to before Xerox or Apple, getting up close and personal with the visionaries who dreamt that computers would one day augment human intellect, especially Doug Engelbart. I wish I was better at summarizing books - this is really really worth reading

https://www.amazon.com/What-Dormouse-Said-Counterculture-Per...


So, not necessarily inspirational, and some kinda gross things came out about the author recently, but Disrupted by Dan Lyons was pretty good. It's about his time at HubSpot, which kinda seems like it was almost a parody of startup culture and drinking the Kool-Aid. He later went on to be a writer on Silicon Valley for seasons 2 & 3, and says he would pitch some things that actually happened, and get shot down because they were "too out there and unbelievable".


Could you elaborate on the "gross things"? I read Disrupted and thought it was pretty funny/interesting and I've watched a few of Dan's talks and enjoyed them. A quick Google search didn't turn up anything about him recently though.

I did sort of wonder how accurate some of this stories were about HubSpot, since you're only hearing his side of the story and the more sensational the stories the better the book...


"Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days" is a good collection of stories: https://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Early/...


Peter Seibel's Coders and Work also provides an interesting perspective. As the title implies, it focuses more on developers than founders...although in some cases, the developer being interviewed was also a startup founder.

Some of the interviews give an interesting look at the early days of some companies, too. I found jwz's interview provided some good insight into the early days of Netscape, as well as the reasons why the company started to go downhill.


Susan Lammer’s 1986 Programmers at Work is available online:

https://programmersatwork.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/all-right...


I quite enjoyed this book because it gave insight into the hard work and dedication that characterised many individuals, such as Max Levchin, the co-founder of Paypal.

As an aside, I also recommend Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton. This book details the tumultuous roller-coaster ride that was the early days of Twitter. I feel it is an essential read to truly understand the mentality, minds and drive of many within the start-up world.


For a college "ethics in computers" course, our professor had us watch "Triumph of the Nerds" by Robert Cringely. It's from 1996, so not the most recent history, but it was still an interesting watch. There was another documentary about the dot-com bubble we watched, but I can't recall the name. Overall a very interesting class because the professor had a lot of industry experience and watched companies rise and fall.


I would also strongly recommend "Triumph of the Nerds." I think it is invaluable because it gives an inside perspective on the tech industry using interviews of people who were actually leading the change: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Larry Ellison, Dan Bricklin (of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet), etc.


I have found that anything put out by Robert X. Cringely is worthwhile.


"Code Rush" is a film documentary (now public domain) covering Netscape's engineering team around the time they were open sourcing Mozilla.

It provides a nice view into engineering practices and valley/start-up culture at the time - a lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same.

https://archive.org/details/CodeRush


"Easy to Learn, Hard to Master: The Fate of Atari", now streaming on Amazon Prime.

An interesting founder, a few false starts, business-minded people who successfully take things to the next level but don't understand the need to continuously make your own products obsolete, and the eventual fall as technology marches on.

Interviews with the main players, including talking about their mistakes and flaws.


- Paypal Wars. I read this twice -- once back in 2006 or so, before I really knew who any of the people were (Thiel, Musk, etc.). And then once a few years ago.

- Chaos Monkeys -- about Facebook circa 2010, touches on YC a few years before that. Somewhat controversial, but a good book.

- Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee -- talks about the story from CERN to MIT, etc.

Echoing some other posts:

- The Idea Factory

- The Dream Machine (probably the densest and most informative computer history book I've read)

- Masters of Doom

- The Supermen (about Seymour Cray) -- I didn't know anything about this side of the industry! Interesting.


- "Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business"

I just finished this, and really enjoyed it. It's about the founding of Zendesk. I personally liked it's perspective because it's founders were 30 somethings (instead of the usual out of college types), and they are from Europe.

I also really enjoyed:

- "Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal"

- "The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions and Created Plenty of Controversy"


"Soul of a new machine" by Tracy Kidder.


This. Also

"Spinoff" by Charlie Sporck - early Silicon Valley history on Semi companies

"Commodore - a company on the edge" by Brian Bagnall

"Only the paranoid survive" by Andy Grove - Intels switch to Microprocessors. (Interestingly you can see in the book that he realized the power of the internet, but failed to act on it to some extend)


Definitely one of the best tech case study books I've ever read. Book flows so well.


I was going to add this one myself. I've read it multiple times over the years since it was published and it still touches the engineer in me. Great, great book.


I recommend this book every time someone asks for recommendations about computer company history. This book is one of my all-time favorites.


There’s a ton of great suggestions here. Here are a couple I haven’t seen mentioned.

Documentaries:

- Silicon Cowboys - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4938484/ It covers the creation of Compaq

- American Experience: Silicon Velley - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/silicon/ About how Silicon Valley came to be.

- Naughty Dog 30th Anniversary - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cdr7THH0zo8 Kind of a PR video, but interesting and free. Covers the history of Naughty Dog games.

Books:

- Cukoo’s Egg - https://www.amazon.com/Cuckoos-Egg-Tracking-Computer-Espiona... Has some interesting technical detail, and gives perspective on a very different time on the internet.

- Revolution in the Valley - https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Valley-Insanely-Great-Stor... You can read these stories on folklore.org, but I enjoyed the collected book. Covers the creation of the Macintosh.


Computer History Museum's collection [1] is fantastic. Specially recommend the Oral Histories [2]. Quite a lot of the greats are there. For example, Andy Bechtolsheim of Sun Microsystems [3], John Backus [4], Charles Hoare [5], Bill Joy [6], SPARC [7], ...

[1]: http://www.computerhistory.org/

[2]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/oralhistories/

[3]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102737929

[4]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102657954

[5]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102658017

[6]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102739973

[7]: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102745979


Not software books, but 'Apollo: Race to the Moon' by Murray and Cox, and 'The Making of The Atomic Bomb', Rhodes are my two favorite books about engineering projects and the people behind them.


Having read waaaay too many books about the development of the atomic bomb, I have to say that my favorite is Lawrence and Oppenheimer by Davis. It tells the story of two strong willed scientists, the competing methods that they were pushing for isotope separation, and how the intersection of personality, science & engineering, and the political/bureaucratic jockeying that's part of any large project played out.


Currently reading "The Making Of The Atomic Bomb" and it's so comprehensive.


The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer. I found it interesting read but then could be as I was in supercomputing area and could relate to lot of things.


As a sort of counterpoint to the suggestions you're going to get, I really like the series Connections [1] by science historian James Burke. He takes a step back to show how interconnected and interdependent technological progress is. I think it's a valuable perspective that is easy to ignore when you're focused on the stories of individual companies or inventors. The first series is available on the Internet Archive [2], as well.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connections_(TV_series)

[2] https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22connection...


You might enjoy "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future"[0]

[0] - https://www.amazon.com/Elon-Musk-SpaceX-Fantastic-Future/dp/...


A related book is "The Space Barons" by Christian Davenport. Along with Musk, it dives into the other private space companies put together by two other uber-wealthy massive egos, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.

Great line: How do you make millions in rockets? Start with a billion.


For Red Hat, you can check out "The Open Organization" which details the culture that Red Hat espouses:

https://www.redhat.com/en/explore/the-open-organization-book


Not software/hardware technology, but "The Silent Deep - The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945" has some remarkable accounts of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover who was quite a character - extremely effective but also quite remarkably rude and intimidating.

Note: What a US Navy Admiral is doing in a book about the Royal Navy is one of the things that makes the book fascinating.

Here is an account of Jimmy Carter's interview with Rickover when he was a young naval officer:

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/07/09/Carter-extolls-old-N...


"The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation" by Jon Gertner.


Its a very good book. Today, one might question a company investing so much money into pure research but Bell Labs produced 8 Nobel Laureates, tens of thousands of patents, who knows how many papers, PhDs, not to mention inventions that directly benefited Bell's primary business in telephones. Some of those papers, Claude Shannon's, for instance, on information theory, are responsible for the creation of entire industries.


Recommendations in this area;

Books

'The Making of Karateka' by Jordan Mechner http://amzn.eu/5iUrxxo

'The Making of Prince of Persia' by Jordan Mechner http://amzn.eu/fJ0Nfr2

Documentaries

'From Bedrooms to Billions' http://www.frombedroomstobillions.com/about-the-film https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404567/

'From Bedrooms to Billions: The Amiga Years!' http://www.frombedroomstobillions.com/amiga https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4603210/

Blog Posts

https://arstechnica.com/series/history-of-the-amiga/

Hope ^ these prove interesting, will update comment if I think of others ツ


Couple of top selling books on Facebook , one one Snapchat ( look up on amazon ) , Mastery by Robert Greene and How I Built This podcast by Guy Raz. Enough material to know how to build ten unicorns.


There is an excellent book about that: "Bienvenue dans le nouveau monde : comment j'ai survécu à la coolitude des startups" from Mathilde Ramadier.

It's an analysis of the startups world, with its downside.

This book is not yet in English, but here is a summary: http://www.startup-book.com/2017/05/02/how-i-survived-the-co...


"Kelly: More than My Share of it All" - Clarence "Kelly" Johnson : A personal narrative of the world's greatest aircraft designer

"The Mythical Man-Month" - Fred Brooks : A classic book of software engineering but it is so much more. If you have aspirations of becoming an effective manager, you need this book.

"Flight: My Life in Mission Control" - Chris Kraft : A book about the early space program written by the man who literally wrote the book on how spaces missions were to be conducted.


Masterminds of Programming: Conversations with the Creators of Major Programming Languages - features exclusive interviews with the creators of several historic and highly influential programming languages. In this unique collection, you'll learn about the processes that led to specific design decisions, including the goals they had in mind, the trade-offs they had to make, and how their experiences have left an impact on programming today.


'The Dream Machine: J. C. R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal' by M. Mitchell Waldrop was an amazing historical vertical slice from the beginnings of computation, through various military industrial escapades, through the ultimate demo to finally to Xeroc Parc.

It answers the question "where did the personal computer come from" and the answer is not some garage in silicon valley, but is far more interesting and complex.


Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams is quite an interesting book about Richard Stallman and the origins of the free software movement.

A version revised by Stallman himself is available under the GFDL:

https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmcGNKQQKnywV4mtAsUFmi9xaYthkoBucwAKGo7...


Commodore a company on the edge! Great book about the individuals involved in management and engineering creating the famous 6502 microprocessor and how they built a best selling computer company world wide. Why they struggled in the US, but dominated in Europe. That book should be converted to a short tv-series. Jack Tramiel would be an awesome character, brutal and kind!


>That book should be converted to a short tv-series

As a substitute, there's a long documentary that has interviews with Jack Tramiel and a bunch of ex-Commodore engineers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvuacnjvZy4


It's not necessarily tech-related, but State of Play[0]. It's a documentary about Korean StarCraft players/teams and what it was like to be in the scene right after the peak of its popularity. It's easily one of my favorites.

[0] - http://watch.stateofplaydoc.com/


So it's not exactly what you asked for (Fiction) but you might want to check out Microserfs, by Douglas Coupland. Also, Jpod from Coupland, it's along the same lines. Quoting wikipedia: "Set in the early 1990s, it captures the state of the technology industry before Windows 95, and anticipates the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s."


And while we're on the topic, are there any books written about this by people from a background in the humanities, like sociology or anthropology or history? It'd be interesting to read a take on our world from the perspective of someone with a different, yet nonetheless no less powerful and insightful, conceptual toolkit.


Sherry Turkle is an MIT sociologist. She has written several books about the culture of technology. I haven't read them, so I won't give recommendations.


The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is your book


Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company - Michael Malone : One of the first Silicon Valley start-ups which grew to incomparable heights through the management style of its two founders. Unfortunately, the lessons they taught are being ignored in today's Quick Buck environment.


I would alternatively suggest "The HP way, How Bill Hewlett and I build our company" by David Packard.


Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made : https://www.amazon.fr/Blood-Sweat-Pixels-Triumphant-Turbulen...


Now this is a great list ;)

I'll just add:

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet

Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story Of Risk


American Steel by Richard Preston is under-appreciated. A market opportunity is identified, and a so-crazy-that-it-just-might-work design for a new type of steel mill is pursued by crazy maverick cowboys. The true story of Nucor Steel.


Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer - This is the story of the computer pioneers and the industry they founded. It reveals the visions they shared, the sacrifices they made, and the rewards they reaped.


I greatly enjoyed "Barbarians Led by Bill Gates," which was written by an early Microsoft employee and contains a bunch of great stories about the tech and business of Microsoft.

Another one is "Dreaming in Code," which details the efforts of Mitch Kapor to create a team to build a flexible productivity app he had always dreamed of. It's a cautionary tale since the project ultimately fails.

"Crypto", by Steven Levy, details the invention of public key cryptography and the first round of the "crypto wars" about whether the federal government would require a backdoor.


"Almost Perfect" by W. E. Peterson, the story of the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation

http://www.wordplace.com/ap/


I just read and really enjoyed A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder. It's about Paul English (founder of Kayak), both his life in general and his entrepreneurial adventures. I highly recommend it!


The Pixar Touch describes the creation of the company and first few films that Pixar made. I especially enjoyed it because of my interest in computer graphics, but it's probably a worthwhile read for most tech folks.

Creativity, Inc., is another book about Pixar that's been recommended to me, though it was recommended as a way to learn about what successful management at a tech company looks like. I haven't read it though, so I can't vouch for the quality.


I can recommend "I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year with Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier" by Fred Moody. It is pretty old, and I think it's been out of print for a while, but if you can get your hands on a copy, it is well worth the effort.

It details the work of a team working on a children's encyclopedia, but it also gives some very interesting insights into Microsoft's corporate culture (of the early 1990s at least) and social dynamics.


I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I enjoyed Masters of Doom.

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates is an older book, but interesting to get a sense of MS was like in earlier times.

Isaacson's Steve Jobs is obviously focused on Job, but gives a good sense of the companies he ran while he was there.

Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made is a good view into the Mac specifically.


I'm currently reading The Secret History of Mac Gaming by Richard Moss. It tells the story of the developers for the early Apple Macintosh.



Tim Ferriss is insufferable, but he has become a remarkable interviewer. The latest Tim Ferriss podcast is with Steve Jurvetson (IMHO, the most interesting tech VC today).

https://tim.blog/2018/05/31/steve-jurvetson/


'Gates', Stephen Manes. It's a biography of Bill Gates, but you see a good deal of how Microsoft came to be.


The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.

The list of people covered starts at Ada Lovelace and covers Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Tim Berners-Lee and a bunch more


Accidental Empires - Accidental Empires is the trenchant, vastly readable history of the computer 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.


Not necessarily company or people but I'd like to recommend "Startup Nation" by Dan Senor & Saul Singer. Very interesting chronicle of Israel's economic boom and it touches on interesting history of several tech companies which either relocates, created branches or were created in Israel.


Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley 1985-2000 - A stunning visual history of the Silicon Valley technology boom, which highlights key moments in the careers of Steve Jobs and more than seventy other leading innovators as they created today’s digital world.


I've really enjoyed "Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble".

It's more about people/companies but it still fits, also it's super funny, especially if you've been working in this kind of environment and can relate to a lot of things said in the book.


I found the documentary on Josh Harris and the first internet television network fascinating

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Live_in_Public


I'll be the voice of dissent regarding The Soul of a New Machine and also More Than My Share of It All.

Yes, Soul won the Pulitzer prize, but it was published in 1981, and I found it very dated, and hard to slog through at times. I know it'll never happen, but I'd love to see a re-write, or a heavily edited edition that's more approachable for a modern reader.

I also found More Than My Share to be a little disappointing. There were some fun things in there, but overall the there was too much of an emphasis on the tedious details of his life, not enough detail about the technical and managerial challenges / accomplishments, and then (unfortunately disjointedly) a few project management guidelines and some technology forecasting were tacked on at the very end. I can't help but think that he had more anecdotes and technical adventure stories in him which would have made for a much more compelling, enlightening, and readable book.


Why not recommend some alternatives?


I'm putting those in separate threads to be upvoted if people like them so that they might rise to the top on their own merits. I'm adding them as I peruse my bookshelf.


Any update on that?


iWoz @ https://archive.org/details/arguiot_Iwoz (note to others: use asterisks not underscores to italicize)


"Pirates of the Silicon Valley" and "In the realm of the Hackers"


Just a note that Pirates of the Silicon Valley is a docudrama, so maybe not 100% accurate, but still a great watch.


A little different from what others are recommending, in that it wasn't made by a tech insider, but Werner Herzog's "Lo and Behold" is an excellent nonlinear and eclectic documentary about the internet


Crystal Fire: the Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age by Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson is a good history of the transistor, mostly focusing on Bardeen, Shockley, and Brittain.


"The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story" by Michael Lewis. Written not long before the peak of the dot-com bubble, tells the story of James H. Clark, the founder of SGI, Netscape and other companies.


Recommended documentary: Revolution OS - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_OS


The Omega Tau podcast has quite a few in-depth tech related episodes.


Chaos Monkeys by Antonio García Martínez is a good read. Good reminder that tech is not all sunshine and roses and that a lot of cloak and dagger goes behind the scenes in the valley.


"Andy Grove"

"The Intel Trinity"

"Netscape Time"

"Valley Boy"

Brian Kernighan is a CS professor at Princeton and quite a personable guy. I'd imagine that he has some talks about his work and past up online.


_Hatching Twitter_ provides inside story behind creation of Twitter. The fights between the founders and their machinations to control the company makes an intriguing read.


'Programmers At Work', Susan Lammers. It's more about the individuals than the companies they create, but the insights are (still) valuable.


The Innovaters by Walter Issacson, a must have.


I will recommend The Innovators a 1000 times


'Microsoft Secrets', Cusumano, Selby. A fairly detailed examination of how Microsoft ran in the mid-90's.


e-dreams is a documentary about Kozmo during the dotcom boom. Pretty good assessment of not only that company but the mentality of that bubble.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Dreams


“RiP!: A Remix Manifesto“ by Brett Gaylor

About relationship between intellectual property and hackers


Maybe not perfect matches, but a few titles I'm familiar with that you might like:

Dreaming in Code - covers Mitch Kapor's post Lotus effort to build Chandler.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreaming_in_Code

Everyone Else Must Fail - all about Larry Ellison and Oracle

https://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Else-Must-Fail-Unvarnished/d...

Winners, Losers & Microsoft - title says it all

https://www.amazon.com/Winners-Losers-Microsoft-Competition-...

Two books by Bill Gates:

Business At The Speed of Thought

https://www.amazon.com/Business-Speed-Thought-Succeeding-Dig...

and

The Road Ahead

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Ahead-Completely-Up-Date/dp/0140...

Also:

MCI: Failure Is Not An Option

https://www.amazon.com/MCI-Failure-Invented-Competition-Tele...

Already mentioned, but I feel obligated to add another +1 for these three:

The Soul of a New Machine - Kidder

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - Levy

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation - Gertner

Also, if you enjoy this kind of stuff, you might enjoy the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire. Yes it's fiction and highly dramatized, but it captures a lot of the spirit of the times from the beginnings of the PC era up through the Dot Com Bubble era.


Project X - Nissin Cup Noodle


Silicon Valley on HBO is a good 'documentary' :D.




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