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Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,189 ratings  ·  68 reviews
There was a time, not too long ago, when the typewriter and notebook ruled, and the computer as an everyday tool was simply a vision. Revolution in the Valley traces this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an und ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published December 21st 2004 by O'Reilly Media (first published December 6th 2004)
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Amandeep Loomba This book is a lot less formal and a lot more about the engineering culture that designed the original Macintosh.

Steve Jobs is a big character in the…more
This book is a lot less formal and a lot more about the engineering culture that designed the original Macintosh.

Steve Jobs is a big character in the book, but it's not about him. I recommend it if you've already read the Isaacson biography but want to know more about the Mac specifically and how it was created.(less)

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Bjoern Rochel
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I've read Isaccsons 'Jobs' biography and 'Fire in the valley' before. This book adds quite a bit more insight into the whole story of how the original Macintosh came into being between 1979 and 1985.

Best of all, this book is not Steve Jobs-centric, like so many others are. While he plays a prominent role in the book, most of the essays in the book are about the people that did the dirty work to make the Macintosh happen, their struggles, their sacrifices and their camaraderie. This is a book abo
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it
You look at the cover of this and read the title and it's obvious that this book is aimed at people who want to read about how Apple is just super awesome. Normally I don't think books like this are worth reading because it's, well, boring.

I learned that this book would be worth reading because most of the stories in this book are available on and this book is basically a printed and expanded version of those stories.

Fortunately, it doesn't tell the story as "the clouds parted and
Tim Telcik
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech
Loved this book. It was a most unusual and amazing memoir presented as a group of anecdotes during the development and rollout of the Apple Macintosh computer ... from the inside out.

Given the recent bio on Steve Jobs and related bio on Steve Wozniak and many other related biopics, it was fascinating to read about the project work by the Mac team, how it came into existence and the many minds behind making this computer a real thing which went on to become a legend and foundation for Apple's ea
Eric Shamow
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very nearly a five star review for this one, and I'd say that if you haven't read any of the stories on the brilliant, you should add a star. I was depressed to discover while reading this book that I'd made my way through more of than I'd thought while casually browsing - a visit over there is as bad as a night-long Wikipedia or TVTropes trawl for me - and as a result I'd read perhaps 90% of the material in the book. The fact that I enjoyed the book as much as I did is ...more
Scott Holstad
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
I loved this book! It was a great history of how the Mac came to be, and since I'm a Mac fan, I'm interested. Everyone knows the Mac was Steve Jobs' baby, and true technical people had to develop it and Andy Hertzfeld was one of the critical developers to put it together. This book is a mostly linear anecdotal history of the Mac, starting at the beginning and ending with the ejection of Jobs from Apple and the leaving of numerous key developers due to managerial incompetence. Pretty sad. Still, ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy, this book is the most fun i've had reading and reminiscing in quite a while. Based on the web site (, Revolution in The Valley is a collection of "anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh, and the people who made it". Most of the Mac developers are contemporaries of mine, and reading their stories, and especially their technical tales of hardware and software in the late 1970s and early 1980s so resonated with the time and way i ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Insanely great!!
Bojan Tunguz
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Macintosh computer is the most iconic computer of all time, and probably one of the most significant consumer electronics products ever. The successors of the original Macintosh have remained aspirational products ever since, and Mac fans are oftentimes known for their cult-like admiration for their computers. One name that immediately comes to mind when Mac is mentioned is that of Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and a mercurial and controversial visionary that has shaped Apple products for the most ...more
Jeff Kim
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A worthwhile reread, definitely right there among my all time favorites. It's the story of how the original Macintosh was designed by a small group of brilliant engineers lead by the legendary Steve jobs. Burrell smith, Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld and Steve Capps especially stood out for their engineering wizardry and creativity.

Some favorite quotes and excerpts:

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" - Alan Kay

Steve started critiquing the layout on a purely esthetic basis. “That
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, and you don't have to be a Mac or Apple "fanatic" to enjoy it. It is a collection of stories, nearly all by Andy Hertzfeld (but with several by other contributors), that describe the development of the Macintosh, as well as life at Apple Computer in the early '80s.

The unique glimpses of Mac development, of the atmosphere at Apple, and of the people involved are quite interesting and even inspiring. I remember when the Mac came out, and being amazed at its graphic interface. (My
Jayprasad Hegde
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully detailed essays of their historic time building the Mac

Andy Hertzfeld and Co have yo be given a massive amount of credit - not only for being the true 10x engineers that they were, but also for the excellent and detailed semi technical account in the book here.
I hope the world remembers them along with Steve Jobs for this epic moment in history. If ever Woz needed great engineers to follow his genius, then these guys have a reasonably strong claim to it: With Bill Atkinson, Hertzfeld
Jeremy Joseph
I love reading about the 70's/80's era of Silicon Valley and Apple, and Andy's essay format worked well. My only real critique is that most fans of the subject have already heard the majority of these anecdotes at Apple Computers. If you've read a Steve Jobs bio, or iWoz than the majority of the stories will sound like re-runs, although told from a different perspective. That said, I still enjoyed the book. Pictures of Andy's design notebooks were particularly inspiring, and make me wish I had e ...more
Ryan Muzzey
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andy Hertzfeld's compilation of stories around the development of the Macintosh is an amazing piece of Silicon Valley history. It amazes me how much of the modern PC industry was driven by these crazy talented engineers.
Matteo Steccolini
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great selection of stories that can still teach something today about team dynamics, and how great ideas are born. Often fun, and I really appreciated how Hertzfeld shared his ideas about other people, with honesty and respect.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Insanely great collection of anecdotes about the early days at Apple that lead to the creation of Macintosh, as told by actual core team members.

One of those books that I had trouble finishing, not because it was dull, but because I didn't want it to end.
Gary A. Lucero
An interesting but somewhat boring read

This is a good book but unless you really interested in all the various details, it can be quite boring. There are lots of interesting stories but it can be laborious to get though.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A series of perspectives on the creation of the first Macintosh computer. Many incredibly talented people came together to bring this masterpiece to fruition, mistakes included. I really liked reminiscing with the author Andy Hertzfeld, and a few other contributors. Fascinating.
William Darian
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of a kind; it tells a compelling story of how the first Macintosh was created in the engineers point of view. Small chunks of stories is laid out in 5 chapters, depicting the journey of a rascal research project that changed the world.
Mikey Sklar
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Patrick DiJusto
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I have been programming computers since 1977, when my school got its first Commodore Pet. I have never owned an Apple device. I have used a Macintosh once for any extended period, back in 1989 when I took a Hypercard course at the School of Visual Arts. I have never gotten into (or frankly, even understood) the cult of Steve Jobs. I didn't think badly of him, and I didn't think well of him. I didn't think about him at all.

This book makes it clear that Steve Jobs was a fucking asshole.

This is a
In the mid-80's, the team of people that brought the Apple Macintosh to life were my heroes – guys like Steve Capps, Bill Atkinson, Susan Kare, Burrell Smith, and of course, Andy Hertzfeld. It's not just that I thought they were cool, I thought they were geniuses without peer. In a lot of ways, they were. I read all the stories about them in magazines and used and loved the Mac that was their creation. It was a great time for any kid interested in computers, the second phase of the personal comp ...more
Dane Cobain
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
You might not have heard of Andy Hertzfeld, but you’ve probably heard of the product that he co-created, the Apple Macintosh. Andy was on the team that built the system’s software, and one of the key contributors in the creation of the machine’s new user interface software, which signaled a radical change in the way that machines were designed and used.

Revolution in the Valley, then, is Hertzfeld’s inside story of that exciting time in history when Steve Jobs’ innovation was at its greatest, and
Sarah Michele
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a series of vignettes about the development of the Mac, from the time that it was a wacky research project through the launch and then its eventual folding in with the Lisa team. The book is really a print version of the online archive of Mac development stories that Hertzfeld maintains. This explains the thing that first struck me about the book - it's written in hypertext, as much as a book can be written in hypertext. ;^) There are reference throughout to other vignettes that rea ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book gives a great deal of insight into the creation of the original Apple Macintosh computer and into the inner workings of Apple from of the key designers. It also elucidates the best and worst characteristics of Steve Jobs, at least as he was from 1979 - 1985.

The book is somewhat repetitive. It's a collection of anecdotes, not a cohesive, coherent narrative but is still quite revealing. The author often shows himself to have been quite naive, but that makes the book more realistic and b
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable collection of anecdotes by one of the original team that launched the Apple Macintosh. For Mac-aficionados and people interested in the birth of personal computing it's a really interesting read.

Originally written as a bunch of posts on the Mac Folklore website, there are a few bits of repetition which can be a teensy bit irritating when being read straight through. Also, some of the technical detail seemed both too elementary for people who know what's being talked about, but not
Budi Rahardjo
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I have not finished reading this book, but I could assure you that this is a beautiful book. As always, Apple-related products, people, or anything really are always elegant!

This book is about Apple Macintosh development according to Andy Hertzfeld, one of the creator. What makes it interesting is that this book is full with inside stories and pictures. Beautiful pictures, I might add. That made me bought the book. It's a must have book for me.

BTW, parts of the book is available in Andy's web si
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Apple Macintosh revolutionized the personal computing industry. Behind the Macintosh was a top secret group of Apple's best and brightest engineers and designers.

This book is a collection of anecdotes from members Macintosh team. They give insight into the life of a group of engineers whom, under the Steve Jobs dictatorship, worked day and night to make their vision come into reality.

For the nerdy folks, this book has many gooey technical details. For Apple fans, this book blows open Apple
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
Practically everything in this book is available for free at, but the stories are so revealing and entertaining that you won't mind. Plus, you get lots of illustrations and photos, along with some sidebars of new quotes and information. Fans of the Macintosh will definitely enjoy this peek behind the curtain. Note that the talk is on the technical side sometimes, which might bore the non-programmers out there.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-2014

Website becomes book. Mac folklore becomes access to a world where the boundaries between work and play temporarily dissolved. If you want a hint of the scent of the experience regarding the days when Silicon Valley was the startup capital of the world…of the days before the technocrats of efficiency triumphed over the artists of innovation…before magic devolved into "just jobs"—read this book…cuz that's as close as you're gonna get if you weren't actually there…

Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This anecdotal account of the Macintosh team and how the Mac was created is, I think, the best book I've read about Apple Computer. Much of Walter Isaacson's book "Steve Jobs" was taken from these first-person accounts. In fact, the best parts of Walter Isaacson's book were taken from "Tevolution in the Valley".
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39 likes · 9 comments
“Sayings from Chairman Jobs.” 1. Real artists ship. 2. It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy. 3. Mac in a book by 1986.” 0 likes
“No, you’re just wasting your time with that! Who cares about the Apple II? The Apple II will be dead in a few years. Your OS will be obsolete before it’s finished. The Macintosh is the future of Apple, and you’re going to start on it now!” With that he walked over to my desk, found the power cord to my Apple II, gave it a sharp tug and pulled it out of the socket, causing my machine to lose power and the code I was working on to vanish. He unplugged my monitor, put it on top of the computer, and then picked both of them up and started walking away. “Come with me. I’m going to take you to your new desk.” 0 likes
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