A few years later, in 1986 to be specific, I started a job at an OCR company. My cube was directly across from the office of Carl Alsing, the guy who managed "the microkids". I didn't put two and two together at first. Alsing was one of the people who interviewed me for the job, and I got to know him a little bit for a couple months before someone told me about the book connection.
So I went to the library, got the book out, and read it again. When Kidder got to the part where he introduces Alsing, it was amazing. In a paragraph he captured details about Alsing that I hadn't even realized myself (eg, his personality projects the image of a smaller man, though he was actually decently tall).
The other thing he got right was Alsing wasn't much for schedules and tended to work on things that interested him instead.
Anyway, having verified that Kidder had indeed captured a lot of truth about Alsing, it gave me trust that the rest of the book was similarly accurate, and not just sexed up in the process of storytelling.