Mstation Book Reviews
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Fri, 28 Jan 2005

Revolution in the Valley

Andy Hertzfield, Revolution in the Valley: the insanely great story of how the Mac was made, hardback, O'Reilly

This is pretty cool. We get a protagonist's view of a lot of the process
that led on from the fabled visit to Xerox-PARC by Steve J and Bill G
and culminated in the production of Apple's Lisa and, more
groundbeakingly, the more affordable Macintosh and later on ... Windows.

It puts me in mind of Tracey Kidder's wonderful account of the making of
a Data General minicomputer. That was called Soul of New Machine and was
published in the eighties. That book is also mentioned in this book and
the awareness shows. This one is not as tightly scripted as New Machine
but it is very nicely put together all the same. 

What we have is the human voyage from idea to culmination with a lot of
detail of both what was happening technically and what was happening
with the humans concerned. Hertzfield takes quite a balanced view of their
leader, Steve Jobs. Both his leadership and sometime generosity of heart
are presented along with his more sociopathic tendencies. One great
anecdote relates how Steve Jobs would often park in the space for
handicapped people. One day as he "brusquely" walked past Jean-Louis
Gassee, JG allegedly remarked "Oh, I didn't realise it was for the
emotionally handicapped" or something like that. heh heh.

The book is nicely designed and illustrated as well, with photos and pages
from engineering notebooks.

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