Editorial and media reviews

Charles Edge, The History of Computing podcast

I’ve spent a long time researching the history of computing and a long the way I’ve read a lot of very, very, very dull material. Like a lot. Inventing the Future was a breath of fresh air from an inspirational time and person. Other books have told the story of how the big names in computing were able to commercialize many of the innovations that came out of Xerox PARC. But Inventing the Future added a really personal layer that tied in the culture of the day (music, food, geography, and even interpersonal relationships) to what was happening in computing that within a couple of decades would wildly change how we live our lives.

It’s easy to simplify stories into history - to say “this person invented that” but none of these things happened in isolation and there were tons of people behind the scenes. The book tells those stories as well, giving depth and helping to fill out how such a critical time shaped where we are today. The book isn’t very technical, although some readers will find quick tidbits here and there!

This is the first book I’ve seen take on modern technology through the lens of historical fiction. I would absolutely recommend it to academics and geeks and just anyone looking to expand their minds. What a gift!

Reader reviews

Derry Kabcenell: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It reminds me of The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder in bringing to life the ups and downs of a difficult engineering project.more

Bob Cherry: This is a wonderful and accurate description of the work environment at Xerox during the peak of the corporation's golden years.. more.

Knucklehead Smiff: For me I think the author captures well how working for a non-aerospace company felt during those years. .. more

Jay Michlin: I got an advance review copy, and I could hardly put the book down as I read the last chapters. Following teams of gifted people working on a dramatic innovation in computing is compelling, even though, sadly, we know how the story ended. more

Margy Crockett: The Xerox Star was clearly where computers needed to go....and so fun in this book to get a fly on the wall look at how it all came to be. more

Mike Laursen: If you are wondering what it was like to work at Xerox during the invention of the personal computer, this book conveys the experience. I like that Cory shows the doubt and struggle experienced while achieving something great. more

Paul McJones: The book captures the spirit of a relatively small group within a large established company building a revolutionary new product. Seeing and using the Alto from Xerox PARC was to see and feel the future. more

Bill Bewley: It brought back great memories: the A&E building, the Alto with the big disk you had to carry around, lunches at El Tarasco, trips to Palo Alto, the bean bag chairs, Zot’s, and many good friends. more

b52api: the book gives you the feeling you're part of the development team, working on the project. It's very well written.more