kevin's Reviews > The Soul of a New Machine

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
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's review
Aug 03, 2007

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: neo-dotcom entrepreneurs, coders, archivists
Read in July, 2007

This is a fascinating book to read after a quarter-century of personal computing. While the statistics about Data General's corporate growth are rather dull (and more than a little humorous considering the money that would later be made), the journey of this final generation of minicomputer builders is not only a fascinating tale but also a description of the missing link between the straight-laced 1960s IBM empire and the post-hippie two-guys-in-a-garage 1980s entrepreneur.

As much as the Data General squad is made out to be rebels amid a staunchly disciplined military-industrial complex, the sexism and geek-fraternity lifestyle hardly seem progressive. Page after page, I found myself thinking of Steve Wozniak and Richard Stallman in wholly new light. In this respect, The Soul Of A New Machine provides valuable context to the personal computing explosion that would immediately follow.

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