All fine reads. But I just want to remark how singular "Masters of Doom" is. It struck me just the other day. The entire id Software team was 18-19 years old. And each individually possessed 4-5 years of (bare-metal) computer game making experience by the time they joined!
I think about that a lot when I see high schoolers today crafting worlds so easily in Unity ;)
>> Classic computer history:
- "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution", Steven Levy
- "The Innovators", Walter Isaacson
- "Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley", Adam Fisher [innovative format, tons of interesting tidbits after you get used to the style. Read only after the other two above]
- "The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story", Michael Lewis
- "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs", Alan Deutschman
- "Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made", Andy Hertzfeld
- "Masters of Doom", David Kushner
- "Idea Man", Paul Allen
- "Where Wizards Stay Up Late", Katie Hafner
>> Entertaining stories, but less historical value:
- "Ghost in the Wires", Kevin Mitnick
- "Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley", Antonio Garcia Martinez
- "Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal", Nick Bilton
>> On my to-read queue:
- "How the Internet Happened", Brian McCullough [just started; very promising]
- "Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age", Leslie Berlin
- "Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII", Liza Mundy
- "Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer", Paul Freiberger / Michael Swaine
>> Others worth mentioning (but just read a few chapters):
- "The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray", Charles Murray [about Cray Computers]
- "Racing the Beam" [about Atari]
- "Commodore: A Company on the Edge" [about Commodore]
- "Art of Atari", Tim Lapetino [great as a coffee table book, particularly if you grew up in the 80's :) ]
I also enjoyed "Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age" by Michael Hiltzik and "Showstopper! The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft" by G. Pascal Zachary
- "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman", Richard Feynman
- "The hard things about hard things", Ben Horowitz
- "Shoe Dog - A Memoir by the Creator of Nike", Phil Knight
- "Bad Blood", John Carreyrou [about Elizabeth Holmes]
- "Trillion Dollar Coach" [about the life of Bill Campbell]
The Cuckoo’s Egg is not quite similar to Masters of Doom, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, or Hackers, but it’s an extremely good book about tracking hackers and Berkeley Unix (BSD). It’s motivating in a similar way though :)
Pape was a programmer who wrote games on the 1980s British 8-bit Sinclair Spectrum computer and in this book he talks about his experiences both with the gaming industry at the time and how to program on such a limited machine. It's free on his website (http://itsbehindyou.atwebpages.com/download.html)
Masters of Doom is probably the best book I have ever consumed. It was extremely motivating, the description of everything made me wish I could go back in time and be there so badly.
Think of having a goal you are so passionate about reaching, that you don't care about food, baths or anything else, you just want to work on this 20 hours a day. Must have been amazing.
Myself, I definitely will have a look at the Wolfenstein 3D and Doom "Game Engine Black Book" by Fabien Sanglard.
Much more niche is "Race for a New Game Machine," highlighting the IBM design team responsible for the chips powering the Xbox 360 and PS3.
"King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery" - Medicine is a technology too, but how innovation happens there is fascinating (and a little mind boggling)
"Schiit Happened" - small hardware startup by a few guys (they make their own headphone amps/dacs in the US)
The two classics are:
Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, about the Manhattan project and other places he ended up.
And Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, about the engineering effort behind the Data General Nova. This one literally has a Pulitzer.
I also enjoyed The Race for a New Game Machine, but not as much as the above books.
Computing in the Middle Ages: A View From the Trenches 1955-1983 - Severo Ornstein
Early British Computers - Simon Lavington
Geeks Bearing Gifts - Ted Nelson (and also Computer Lib/Dream Machines)
more recently - UNIX: A History and a Memoir by Brian Kernighan
This book really captures what software development is like. Highly recommended for non-tech folks who want to understand what programmers do all day.
As well as "The Perfect Store", the story of eBay
It has some programming related themes. Listened to it while I was working for a FinTech client in the online trading industry.