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The Innovators
By Walter Isaacson
A Book Review

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The Innovators

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The Innovators
How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Large Print Edition
By Walter Isaacson
Thorndike Press Large Print, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4104-7497-1
Genre: History

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - March 2, 2015

The world as we know it, did not exist fifty years ago, or even thirty years ago. For young people growing up today, it can be hard to image a world with cell phones, personal computers, streaming videos, the internet, and so many other technological advances that we now take for granted. In The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson reveals the true history behind the development of modern computing - and the internet. Along the way we meet such well-known figures such as William Hewlett, David Packard , Alan Turing, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Grace Hopper. Isaacson's also introduces some lesser known figures, without whom these modern inventions might not have been possible, such as Herman Hollerith, Vannevar Bush, Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, and Konrad Zuse.

Throughout this book, Isaacson is not only providing short biographies of these ground breaking innovators, but he also explores their mind set and the events that led them to the breakthroughs that they made. As important, he also examines how these diverse breakthroughs were put together to give us such wonders as the internet and video games!

The Innovators is popular history at its best. The information provided is detailed enough to give you a real feel for the technological advances that were made and a little of the science that backed up these advances. Yet, the narrative does not get bogged down with minutia, jargon, or detailed science explanations that might prove boring for many casual readers. For those wanting to delve deeper into the topics mentioned in the book, a quick internet search will put you on the path to being inundated with as much technical information as you might want.

This book is not encyclopedic in nature. If you are a historian or computer geek, you may notice that some of your favorite computer related innovators, inventions, or computer versions are missing. However, overall, this book does present a fairly comprehensive review of many of the key elements, and people, who were instrumental in the development of modern computing and by extension, the internet.

Throughout, the narrative style used in The Innovators is well-paced and engaging, and even if you did not have any interest in the history of computing before reading this book, you may well find that the subject grows on you due to Isaacson's superb storytelling capabilities.

In addition to The Innovators, several of Isaacson's other books are also available in large print, including his biographies of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin.

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