‘How a group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.’
With a tagline like that this was a book that immediately caught our attention here at Comms Express.
The Innovators is the latest book from acclaimed writer, Walter Isaacson. Previously we really enjoyed Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. Of course, along with many others as it became one of the best-selling non-fiction books in history!
When we heard that he was to follow it up with the revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet, we were excited and if we are honest at little sceptical. How on earth could he pull this off?
We need not have worried. The book is simply stunning!
Very often books of this ilk can be, dare we say it, a little dull. The Innovators is anything but, it is a wonderful read. Quickly you are drawn in as the origins of the technologies we now depend on are interwoven with the broad spectrum of characters that made them possible.
Ada Lovelace, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s sits alongside more recent ground-breaking names such as Larry Page and, course, Tim Berners-Lee. The book is littered with personal interviews, which only add further weight to a weighty tomb.
A chapter that is a favourite of ours is the section relating to Alan Turing. We were honoured to see an early screening of the film of his life, The Imitation Game so this really resonated for us. The struggles he went through to crack the Enigma Code and the awful way he was treated after war’s end is truly tragic. So it is wonderful that his story is now finding a wider audience.
What is key to the book is the mantra that ‘together we achieve more.’ Or as Isaacson puts it ‘Genius loves company.’ He said in a recent interview that ‘Throughout history, the best leadership has come from teams that combined people who had complementary talents.’
The reviews for Isaacson are once again great.
The New York Times called it ‘a sweeping and surprisingly tender-hearted history of the digital age . . . absorbing and valuable, and Isaacson’s outsize narrative talents are on full display.’ Steve Shapin writing in the Wall Street Journal said, “Mr Isaacson’s fine new book, The Innovators, is a serial biography of the large number of ingenious scientists and engineers who, you might say, led up to Jobs and his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.” And the Financial Times called it a ‘ tour d’horizon of the computer age’