Aronr's Reviews > The Soul of a New Machine

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
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's review
Apr 18, 12

it was amazing

The classic non-fiction tale of how a group of renegades, in a 'semi-authorized' skunkworks project at Data General, built a new 32-bit mini-computer in 1980 while the company's annointed team fell hopelessly behind schedule.

Sounds dull? Yes, but the book turns out to be anything but. This tale of nerds writing machine language and wrapping wire boards, along with the manager and his deputies who pieced together the team and somehow found a way to help keep them on track despite repeated setbacks and arduous debugging sessions, won a National Book Award and Pulitzer Price.

Vignettes from their struggles have kept popping back into my thoughts at various times over the last three years, during which our teams have been working on recurring, tight deadlines to develop a major new web-based software application.

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