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Description

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.

For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.

©2014 Walter Isaacson (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • W Perry Hall
  • 06/10/2015

With Atlantean Shoulders, Fit to Bear

This book is a grand and gratifying overview of the Innovators who have played a major role in forging today's dynamic technology and our high-tech society, with its main focus on the last 80 or so years.

Only Walter Isaacson, who has written bios of Jobs and Einstein, would have the brilliant ability to research (on the shoulders of a wealth of prior research), comprehend and assimilate all this intriguing and highly complex information and transform it all into an inquisitive and fascinating look at our technological Innovators, coherent and clear enough for the average reader to understand AND enjoy.

I took away a much more informed perspective of how we got here and a distinct reverence for the innovators in the text and generally for the human capacity for incredible intellect and curiosity as well as our enduring and limitless creativity.

The following quote gives the best overview, in my opinion, of the book to an average reader (such as I):

"Most of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this book had one thing in common: they were product people. They cared about, and deeply understood, the engineering and design. They were not primarily marketers or salesmen or financial types; when such folks took over companies, it was often to the detriment of sustained innovation. “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off,” Jobs said. Larry Page felt the same: “The best leaders are those with the deepest understanding of the engineering and product design.”

Another lesson of the digital age is as old as Aristotle: “Man is a social animal.” What else could explain CB and ham radios or their successors, such as WhatsApp and Twitter? Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking. Even the personal computer, which was originally embraced as a tool for individual creativity, inevitably led to the rise of modems, online services, and eventually Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare. Machines, by contrast, are not social animals. They don’t join Facebook of their own volition nor seek companionship for its own sake.... Despite all of the proclamations of artificial intelligence engineers and Internet sociologists, digital tools have no personalities, intentions, or desires. They are what we make of them.”


Dennis Boutsikaris, an accomplished actor, is always a first-class narrator.


This book is due all exceptional acclaim.

12 sur 12 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 10/10/2014

Inspiring stories about technology & innovation

Isaacson's THE INNOVATORS is a series of inspiring stories about technologists and their innovations. The stories are woven together to give the book a cohesive flow and it reads like a novel. For technology fans, some of the stories won't be new... but the way the stories are told and juxtaposed with other innovators' achievements makes this book unique. These are geeks' stories told lovingly by someone who clearly respects them and what they've done. I listened to the audible.com version of this book and found the narration well-done. I highly recommend this book to those interested in technology or innovation.

26 sur 28 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 21/10/2014

A History of the Ancient Geeks

I have a PC, a laptop, a smartphone, an Ipod and an electronic keyboard. I'm not boasting. Most people in the West who aren't embroiled in poverty probably own a similar range of digital devices. These digital machines have taken over the World and occupy large chunks of our time. And I'm not complaining. I get huge pleasure listening to talking books (a gift of the digital age) and browsing the internet. 25 years ago I got my first computer and it had a hard drive less than 500mb. I hadn't heard of internet or email, There was no Wiki, Google or Facebook. 25 years earlier, when I was a toddler, the only computers were massive creaking mechanical dinosaurs hidden away in military facilities or NASA.

I find this dramatic recent change in our way of life astounding. And I'm not a computer geek at all. I have no idea how they work, I just enjoy the way they present information, entertainment and interactions with my old friends whenever and wherever I want them.

So this book is the story of how that all came about. The visionaries and eccentrics who took the series of steps, starting with adding machines and progressing to the first personal computers, video games, the internet, search engines and social networking. The book presents the Goliaths such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Alan Turing, along with the many Davids with whom they collaborated so productively. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it a fascinating listen.

40 sur 44 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • 26/10/2014

Fascinating

“The Innovators” is a serial biography of the large number of ingenious scientist, and engineers who led up to Jobs and Wozniak. Isaacson covers the transistor, the microchip, microprocessor, the programmable computer and software. He also covers videogames, the internet and web, search engines, touch screens taken together it is called the digital revolution.

The digital revolution has changed many things for all people. Some people call this the third industrial revolution. The first based on coal, steam and iron, the second on steel, electricity and mass production.

The author tells the story of how the digital revolution happened, through the accomplishment of many individuals. Isaacson draws attention to organizations that, for a time hosted groups that were more than the sum of their individual parts. At the “idea factory” that was AT&T’s Bell Labs the physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley created the transistor, the fundamental building block for the microprocessor. It has been called the most important invention of the 20th century. The creative teams at Intel, the key company in development of the microprocessor industry and Xerox-PARC probably the single most fertile source of electronic innovation in the 1970s, they created the Ethernet, the graphic user interface, and the famous mouse. Texas Instruments created the personal calculator. The creation of demand for personal devices has blossomed.
It was Robert Oppenheimer, who at wartime Los Alamos so effectively found ways of getting scientists with radically different fields, skills and personalities to work together in designing the atomic bomb. Bell Labs, Intel, Xerox-PARC continued this team approach with great success. Silicon Valley took team innovation, venture capital, Stanford and University of California Berkeley Universities put them together to create what is called the “Ecosystem”. The authors shows how Silicon Valley took this “Ecosystem” of innovation and turned it into a powerful pool of creative revolution

The author tells of Gordon "Moore’s Law” predicting the doubling of a microprocessor’s power every year and half focused energies on a goal that was authoritatively said to be attainable. Bill Gates foresaw that hardware could be commoditized.

Isaacson tells of mathematician Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, as she set out to create analytical engines. Isaacson weaves his enormous amount of research into deftly crafted anecdotes into gripping narrative about these imaginative scientists who transformed our lives. The book is a fun and informative read. Dennis Boutsikaris did a good job narrating the book.

18 sur 20 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • LMB
  • 24/07/2017

Who is this for?

The research behind this book is impressive and useful for those teaching a history of the industry. But it is dry and dull. It is like listening to the required standard textbooks in Uni. It was nearly impossible to fight my mind from drifting. I hardly made it through 3 chapters, and I wanted to learn the content. Maybe this is easier to learn from in print. But in audio form, it can only compete with the audio version of a Drivers manual.

5 sur 5 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shane
  • 14/11/2014

History of Computing 101

Would you listen to The Innovators again? Why?

If you know little about the history of computing this is a great listen. It covers a lot of ground, and the narration is superb.

My only gripe is that if is very superficial in many areas. Many innovations outside the USA get little or no credit (like those my the Japanese, Germans, Australians, Koreans, or Taiwanese), and if you are already familiar with computing history then you may already know much of the content, in which case it may bore and frustrate you.

Recommended for those not so hardcore into computer science, or looking to stoke a passion in that field.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Innovators?

The tales of Lady Loveless and Babbage.

What does Dennis Boutsikaris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Timing. He gives the words a chance to sink in, especially at key moments.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It inspired me to continue deeper into the field of robotics. Thank you!

Any additional comments?

Audiobooks are awesome.

11 sur 13 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 12/02/2015

Who knew that hippies were responsible for the PC

Or, that the programmable computer was foreseen in the 1800's. What a story, what a journey. I enjoyed the history, the people, the story behind the story. What more can I say, read this.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gary
  • 16/10/2014

Much breadth with little depth

This book is biography for how we got to the current internet age and all the major steps that took to get there. The author starts the story with Lady Ada Loveless and Charles Babbage's analytical machine up to the development of the internet. That's the problem. There's just too many good stories to tell and the author seldom gets into the nuts and bolts of the story leading the listener wanting more.

As in any good narrative of a biography there needs to be some themes that tie the stories together. The author pretty much tries to tie his story together with a couple of themes, "execution trumps creativity" and "cooperation leads to creation".

In general, biographies don't excite me. They deal with personalities and superficiality. The author's biography on Einstein is the one exception. The author not only taught me about Einstein the man, but what his work was all about. He explained the physics (in that biography) even better than Brian Greene does when he was talking about how Brian Greene explained the physics. Unfortunately, in this book the author seldom gets into details. A couple times he did get into the weeds. His section on Lady Loveless was marvelous and she becomes a recurring character in the book. I only wish he had explained what all the other characters were creating instead of what they did.

I think there are much better books out there that cover the same kind of material better and I would recommend them instead. I would start off with the wonderful book "The Master Switch" by Tim Wu. It delves into why Google is so important and how it got that way much better than this book does.

13 sur 17 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Luis De Leon
  • 08/10/2014

A short history of digital technology.

This book is great, the way each biography and technical development interlaces and the insightful narrative made me feel like a witness to history.

Isaacson is a master distilling the essence of each person and the relevance of each technological achievement, putting it all in perspective in a neat well-narrated package.

20 sur 27 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Collins
  • 26/04/2017

Innovation: the Blending of Talents

The author highlights the fact that innovators tend to have both scientific and the aesthetic sensibilities. Innovation is not pure engineering, even in high technology industries. The trophy does not necessarily go to the best technology every time. Presentation and implementation matter.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Julius L. Moltgen
  • Sucre, Chuquisaca, Bolivia
  • 15/10/2014

Innovations since the beginning of time

Was wäre für andere Hörer sonst noch hilfreich zu wissen, um das Hörbuch richtig einschätzen zu können?

This was somewhat more than I wanted to know about how computers got started .... The book starts with the mechanical calculators and somewhere during chapter eight we reach 1950. As far as informative books about a topic go, this is probably fairly complete. I was looking more for the interactions which led to the products I currently use starting somewhere in 1970. This feels more like a textbook. The only other book I read by Walter Isaacson is the Steve Jobs biography which I found a lot more stimulating.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Klangi
  • 07/06/2018

History of Computers and the Internet

Despite the lenght of this audio book it fascinated me the entire play. Super valuable for everybody with little knowledge about the roots and aspects of innovation.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Navid E.
  • 12/12/2017

Very interesting

Interesting book about innovations and innovators, beginning with the early 19th centruary and ending in out modern area with ibm and apple innovations.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • K. Neu
  • 24/11/2017

Interessant, aber zäh.

Mit diesem Hörbuch lernt man viel über die digitale Revolution. Doch man muss aufmerksam zuhören, gerade zu Beginn. Es werden ziemlich viele Personen und Fakten hintereinander aufgezählt, was das Folgen der eigentlichen Geschichte etwas erschwert.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nils
  • 31/08/2017

A great history of computers

About genius inenvtors and the right team mix they needed to create new devices and services. Nicely told as stories and explained well with profound insight.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Malte Grapentin
  • 04/06/2015

Great!

All you need to know about the history of the digital revolution! I learned soooo much!

0 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.