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Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,460 ratings  ·  59 reviews
This biography chronicles William Gates' rise as the most powerful player in the computer industry--a man who has revolutionized the software industry with the incredible growth of his Microsoft company, that now threatens gigantic IBM. Reveals Gates' personal quirks and idiosyncrasies which helped fuel his fierce competitive spirit. Interviews Gates' closest friends, asso ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 16th 1992 by Wiley (first published January 1st 1992)
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May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to resist the temptation to write a review on this masterpiece.
One of the best books i have read this year. The true story of Bill Gates's journey towards creating the giant known as MICROSOFT.
He started with the scratch at the minor age of 13, with nothing but his vision to create the software which will dominate the world in decades to come.
I would like to add that very few people know the fact that bill gates is a Harvard Law Dropout. He quits Harvard and starts his company at 20.
M Cash
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly recommended biography of the man behind the corporate juggernaut Microsoft, a company that found a way to lease the only essential program needed to run a computer to nearly every user in the world. In 1976 and 1980, Congress allowed the copyrighting of software and this law is how Gates became the richest man alive. MS owned DOS and later Windows, which because of cheap IBM clones became the standard. Therefore anyone who made software had to pay the Microsoft toll to get on Wi ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
One of the best and most interesting books I've ever read. About the guy hated by many, and loved by many others. Some call him the inventor of computers, GUI interface, or even the internet (for those with little knowledge), others call him a fraud and not ever a tech guy.

I'm not Bill Gates fan, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a magnificent journey, knowing who he is, how he turned to be, and what is his real story. The interesting thing about Bill Gates's story is it has a lot of strugg
Sope Williamson
This book really gave an insight to how Microsoft started and the story of it's founders. I am truly smitten by how software was being developed in those era, it took people driven by vision, passion and a dream to make the computers we now enjoy a reality. It was a great read! ...more
Achtung Englander
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
There is a passage in the book which sums up Bill Gates business mind perfectly. It was taken from John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row:

The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. All those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

This is a co
Zhou Fang
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic account of Bill Gates and the early days at Microsoft. The book goes to great length to capture Gates' childhood in Seattle and his initial interest in computers, along with his friendship with Paul Allen. Microsoft was an intense work environment with employees working nearly nonstop to push themselves to meet Gates' impossible deadlines. Equally impressive is Gates' own dedication: no one worked harder than him in the early days. What's fascinating about the story is the degree to wh ...more
Jack Gibson
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical
A human and engagingly written narrative about a quirky man called Bill and how he shaped this part of computer history.

Extremely rich in its use of sources and interviews.

Full of adventure, legality, romance, business, prostitutes and not least technology, this book has it all.

You cannot fault this book for leaving you wanting more...ending with knowing that Bill Gates Jr is getting married and saying '"If anybody thinks getting married is going to lessen my intensity, they are in for a surpri
Elijah Oyekunle
Good book about Bill Gates that cuts through a lot of bullshit popular in biographies and presents facts instead. Interesting.
Trung Nguyen Dang
Hard Drive is the best account I've read on Microsoft and Bill Gates. It's a very old book (1993) but super detailed, well-researched on Microsoft and Bill Gates. It builds on a number of other older books on Microsoft and other companies (eg IBM), articles and interviews with people. There are lots of titbit stories and quotes from people. Microsoft copied a lot of ideas from smaller one-product companies, and drove them out of business.

While I've read and learned about Bill Gates' tenacity, re
Peter Augustinak
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting look into the history not of Microsoft and Bill Gates only, but also software and even computers generally. I had no idea about some of the realities before I read this book.

It's a little bit funny to read about fights and wars between the companies about "standardization" the industry when you know, how that eventually went. The story ends in 1992 and of course "actors" had no (or very little) idea what tomorrow brings.

As a guy who has been working in IT industry only in "moder
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-semester-2
I believe that this book provided good insight on the backstory of Microsoft and Bill Gates overall. Although sometimes I found that some parts of Bill Gates life was a little over-explained or some aspects of Bill Gates life were only starts of ideas and not actual facts. I feel like some of the book focused more on opinionated research rather than fact but overall I think it helped me see the backstory of Bill Gates from a new perspective than I had seen previously. About half of the people th ...more
Matt Pisini
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An illuminating tale of how a brilliant and driven young man fell forward into creating the software industry as we know it. This book chronicles Bill Gates’ life from his upbringing in Seattle, his quest for direction at Harvard, his gambles in Albuquerque, and ultimately Microsoft’s rise as the “standard setter” of the software industry. It’s a fascinating look into how a household name like Bill Gates became who he is. Through quotes from executives and employees both at Microsoft and their c ...more
Misty Madonna
This book is super thorough, especially about DOS. It’s obvious the authors did a lot of research to make this book so technical and I was surprised it was so technical.

I loved the tidbits about Paul Allen and I’d often find myself picturing him jamming out on his guitar. Now, I want to read more about Allen. I especially enjoyed reading about Bill’s childhood and Seattle roots.

The quirky parts about how they’d go to Burgermaster and how Bill loved driving fast in his sports cars made me smile.
Sebastian Magri
The book is very informative. No doubt about that. But it can be a slog at points. I guess that's a positive in reality. The glitz and glamourized summaries we are used to tend to skip over the minutia that really matters. It is the minutia that Wallace covers excellently. I read this in today's age which has a different perception of the company. Origin stories like these are always fascinating to read about and see where the Goliath's of today were born as small toddlers.

This book isn't a dau
Sarvesh Mathi
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the people in my generation know Bill Gates for either being the richest man or for his philanthropic activities. Not a lot of us know the genius software programmer, the cut-throat businessman, the intense CEO, and the ticket-collecting speedster he was. Microsoft today is one of the prominent tech companies, but this book was written when it was THE tech company. Reading about this Microsoft is a must for anyone who wants to know how computers became commonplace and how Windows became ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It´s a good book to read if you just have a startup. For me, it was so interesting to see how fast the new technology companies replaced the others both in the book and in the real life.

In 2002, I was so happy to have an IBM thinkpad 2. something, nowadays, I don´t see that many IBM laptops but so many Apple ones.

Furthermore, it´s nice to know Visic Calc in Apple II was made before excel (Windows) as well. When I read this book, I had a feeling that I was reading the history of IT with all the
Jeffrey Sung
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating history of the early computer revolution through examining Bill Gates, the fall of Digital Research and CP/M, and the rise of Microsoft and DOS.

An absolute must-read. It also is a (more honest) superset of the story contained in The DOS Bible, which covers the same material as a few chapters of this book.
Ricardo Nabinger Sanchez
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
An intriguing view on the first era of Microsoft, alongside the PC revolution.

Those that have not witnessed at least part of this revolution might find surprising to learn about an aggressive Microsoft. And those that did witness it (at least in part), will surely find out about a much darker Microsoft in its early years (1975-1992).
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book about the rise of Bill gates. It covers early childhood up to about 1993. Which is a shame because I would love to hear how things went after windows 95 was released and exactly when he made his turn to being much more philanthropic. However this book does a great job of covering the business end of Microsoft which is what I was looking for.
Charlie Harrington
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A portrait of wunderkind Bill Gates, written in the early 1990s, when Gates and his Microsoft stand on the peak that may become a precipice. Fascinating to learn about the origins and evolutions of Microsoft BASIC, MS-DOS, Windows, Excel, Word, and whatever else - as long as it’s software (or a computer mouse). Will Microsoft survive the trials of the 1990s - only time will tell.
Alok Bhide
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book covering the making of Microsoft and Gates' drive during this period. A man I have admired since I was young and still continue to do so for his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.

I would love to read a book on the man himself though Walter Isaacson are you listening? :)
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful to read a non-biased view of Gates and the building of Microsoft. A well researched history of Microsoft and it's founding. To much of what you read today about Gates and Microsoft are biased lies formed from jealousy, hate and ignorance. ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good insight into what motivated people are like. Brilliance starts early.
Sumit Singh
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit old.. but still a good read :)
Ed Sadowski
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great way to learn about the history of computers from the perspective of one of the giants.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deep study of a true genius. One of the best biographies I have ever read, comparable only to Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography. ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic exploration of the personal computer revolution.
Detailed and immersive.
The Lir
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hello i am bill gates
Sandip Uchdadiya
If you want to explore early days of Microsoft and how they worked hard to established Microsoft then it's must read. ...more
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very engaging. I remember I finished the book in two days...
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James I. Wallace, Ph.D., has spent his career practicing as a clinical psychologist, educational psychologist, and sport psychologist. He has practiced golf a lot, too, with little success. He has earned his knowledge of aikido by serving as the chief instructor (Sensei) of two dojos in Southern California and one in Ithaca, NY, before running the Colgate University Aikido Club in Hamilton, NY, th ...more

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