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The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  804 ratings  ·  106 reviews
The dramatic, larger-than-life true story behind the founding of Oculus and its quest for virtual reality, by the bestselling author of Console Wars.

In The History of the Future, Harris once again deep-dives into a tech drama for the ages to expertly tell the larger-than-life true story of Oculus, the virtual reality company founded in 2012 that—less than two years later—
ebook, 528 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dey Street Books
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  804 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Rupert Rawnsley
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am reluctant to pass negative comments about peoples work, but I'm upset about it's naive portrayal of Palmer Luckey and I feel somebody has to at least question it. As far as I know the facts are correct and I think Blake is a good writer, however I have several problems with this book:

Problem 1: Blake gives Luckey a complete pass on Trump and Nimble America because the "other allegations" are not proved. He doesn't address those allegations: what about the picture of Luckey with Bannon and t
Hari Balaji
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to say that one should never be penalized professionally for their personal views. But what if they were the face of a company and had a view that was unpopular with the MSM resulting in their perhaps unfair vilification of the founder and by association the company?

Blake Harris does a commendable job taking us through the story of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey's journey right from his days of dreaming up Oculus right behind his childhood home to his Jobs-esque ouster following its Fac
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was eagerly anticipating this one because I recently listened to Console Wars and enjoyed that immensely. VR is my passion and I was looking forward to a similar treatment of its history. This didn't disappoint, as it went into the inspirational history of Oculus and how it's been changing gaming. These events are a lot fresher in my memory and I already knew quite a bit of the history of the principal figures, but I still learned enough for this book to be an enjoyable read/listen. ...more
I came here primarily for the political story and to support an author being shadow-banned. The story of the Oculus VR headset (massive advertisements this Christmas season by Facebook) was somewhat interesting--certainly any gamer would enjoy the back story. Bottom-line when inventing something in Silicon Valley--don't trust anyone. Also interesting to see how China can steal the hell out of our technology without lifting a hand--we take our leading edge crap there to build in their factories. ...more
Jun 21, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ⚣Michaelle⚣ by: Trio
Adding this because Tristan James narrates...under a different name? Thanks Trio!
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the hardest books I've read to rate. I would put it closer to 2.5 stars, but not close enough to other books I rated 3 stars to use 3 instead of 2.

I picked up this book because of both an interest in VR and its history. It wasn't anything I really knew a lot about beyond the names of the big companies, so I knew little about key players. I found the first three parts interesting, but like most of the other mixed or negative reviews I've read, my main issue was with Part IV. It fe
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting exploration/story of the founding of Oculus. Unfortunately like most Silicon Valley stories, there is a wide-eyed star-struck tone throughout the book with little or no criticism to be found anywhere (other than of the criticism of the evil empire of Facebook). I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but about 200 pages in, I finally saw mention of the first female engineer(s). There were about a grand total of 2 of them mentioned in the entire book. Palmer's girlfriend got way more ...more
Raymond Harris
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldnt put it down!

I was an original backer of the Oculus Kickstarter. I remember many of the moments in this book. It's incredible getting to go back and get so much more detail and context from these moments in history. Blake does an absolutely amazing job of presenting an objective and honest recounting of everything that happened.

Thank you for making this amazing piece of work!

Palmer Lucky, I am sorry you were so wrongfully pushed out of your dream. I still use my Rift every week and I can
Kai Detmers
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookshare
Blake J. Harris is a magnificent writer. How do I know that? Because his book immersed me into a world I would never have voluntarily gone without him. I'm no gamer. I have the unfortunate personality of a fizzled firework when it comes to computer gaming. I just don't do it, and I don't understand the attraction to it at all. So why would I ever read a book about a gamer? Yeah, the guy is an inventor extraordinair, he's impressive by any measure, but no way am I spending more than five minutes ...more
Otto Lehto
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
VR is no joke. In fact, it is a cause of many tears.

And it may be the future of entertainment. It is too early to tell, but something momentous is taking place. Blake Harris has a very entertaining way of approaching this contemporary subject of tremendous importance. Like his previous book, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation, the present volume manages to capture the passion and drama of nerds, techies, and business people in a way that few books can. Althoug
Garret Macko
Nov 17, 2020 marked it as to-read
Reshelved about 2.5 hours into the audiobook. It’s fascinating and I can only imagine proves increasingly so as it unfolds, but I’m not willing to invest another 16 hours into this one—after all, it’s been years since I’ve gamed and I’ve never owned or even used a hmd/vr headset—if this is your jam, I think this book is surely worth the audible credit/the paper it’s printed on; it’s just not for me at this moment in time.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aashrey Kapoor
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I have never really been interested in virtual reality and I just had heard the vaguest references to Palmer Luckey. I read this more like a fictional story and the twists and turns throughout were gripping. It is a fascinating book and really goes into the miraculously political and brilliant story behind Luckey. Highly recommend it.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
“The History of the Future” is either the worst name for this book, or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to one character’s reference to the impact virtual reality is expected to have on the gaming industry over the next few decades.

This book is not a history of the future.

For a few bright, shining years a very young man, Palmer Lucky, headed his own tech start-up in the promising field of virtual reality gaming. Virtual reality is really a synthetic, immersive gaming environment in 3D. Lucky
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The History of the Future tells the story behind the virtual reality (VR) company Oculus. The first three quarters of the book is largely about the people behind the building of the company, and the often harrowing process of getting it off the ground. The last part is much the opposite, about dissolution rather than building - specifically the exit of co-founder Palmer Luckey.

Starting up any company is a challenge, and focusing on virtual reality had extra hurdles since it had been tried before
Daniel Olshansky
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An easy listening fun book that provides a lot of context into how the Virtual Reality revolution was re-triggered in the early 2010s with the founding of Oculus. As someone who works in the industry, I still learnt a whole lot and was surprised by how many different key players were involved in its founding. The first half of the book is an exciting and motivating startup story that I couldn’t stop listening to, while the second half was ridden with large company politics and bureaucracy which, ...more
Ahn Mur
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The History of the Future tells the story of the founding of the VR company, Oculus, and the eventual exit of its first founder, Palmer Luckey. Before I read this book, I was an unsuspecting fan of Oculus as a company. I was aware that facebook had purchased Oculus, but it hadn't necessarily tainted my view of it. I own a rift, so I had some context for the technology and enthusiasm for VR. But now I almost regret reading this because I can't wholeheartedly support Oculus as a company. It's all ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoy Blake Harris's writing style as it is extremely engaging, and the same is true for his second work, The History of the Future. However, I struggle with this story as everything is presented as direct quote throughout much of the story, yet I know that most of this is paraphrasing or retelling of a story and not verbatim. In Console Wars, I do not remember feeling while I am reading that information is being presented as verbatim quote, yet knowing it is not verbatim and instead is ...more
Jason Braatz
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As someone who was part of this particular Silicon Valley story, I've been hesitant to read this book when it first came out. There are so intangibly great things about that environment, and it's led to some really great progress for the consumer on a number of different technologies. But this book reminded me that it's also easy to drink the Kool-aid though and bypass thinking about the ugliness that also is part of the business, and author Blake J. Harris does a wonderful job of letting the st ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a little more relatable than "Console Wars" since I lived through this era. The core content is great, and the dialogues still feel a bit stilted (albeit less racist sounding than Console Wars), but the book suffers from trying to paint from Palmer Luckey's perspective a little too much, the last chapter on politics seemed a little bit apologist on his behalf. I agree that Zuckerberg's handling of the firing was heavy handed and borderline unethical, but giving Nimble America/Rich ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Can't beat this book for a well-researched account of Oculus' founding moments, up to and including the departure of Palmer Lucky. The author had clear insider access, and was able to reproduce emails, chat transcripts, etc. I greatly enjoyed the book, but my interest was motivated by personal interest in this story. I can't recommend it as general business read because it doesn't include enough information about the other players who helped bring about "the revolution that swept virtual reality ...more
Manas Saloi
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I felt bad about Palmer luckey after reading this. Also relearned how big of a c*nt Zuckerberg really is. Probably one of the worst guys Palmer could have gone to work for after spending years building his version of the future
Doc Norton
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a crazy ride! Interesting story, well told. I was captivated early on and stayed through to the end.
Jacqui Edelmann
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Inside baseball look at the phenomenal meteoric rise of Oculus and Palmer Luckey and how the leftist politics of Silicon Valley tried to derail him. Very readable even for this non-techie person.
Josh Kanownik
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating business book about the founding of Oculus. I learned a lot of things I did not know about the history of the company. The depth of detail around the founding is amazing even if you are not interested in VR. It allows you to explore some really interesting questions around the founding of a major company. How much was each person involved responsible for it's success? What role did chance/luck play? Who is the company ultimate responsible to in the end and does the company owe anyt ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2019-20
For May bookclub I read “The History of the Future” by Blake J. Harris. In the book Harris goes through the beginnings of virtual reality and the founding of the virtual reality company Oculus. This book was extremely detailed and the beginning and ending were really interesting. The middle talked a lot about the specific business deals and all of the different people that were involved. While all of this was interesting it mentioned so many people and talked about the specifics so much that it ...more
I picked this up before I had much of an interest in Oculus. Virtual reality has always seemed like an awesome concept to me, but I don't have the kind of high-end computer that headsets (at the time) required to work. But then the Oculus Quest came out, and more recently, the Quest 2, and with them, the promise of a self-contained, wireless VR experience. Suddenly, my interest was rekindled, and I dug this one out of my to-read pile. I'm glad I did.

Much like Console Wars, The History of the Fut
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