In 1993 I was a senior in high school when I went ‘online’ for the first time in my school’s library. In college I remember showing a friend a new website – espn.com – a dream for any sports fanatic. I spent hours in various computer labs emailing and IM’ing with Jennifer through CSU’s telnet service. My roommates and I never had internet at our apartment, that would have cost us poor college students too much money.
Needless to say, we’ve come a very long way in a relatively short time in this digital revolution. Conveniences we take for granted and demand now were unthinkable luxuries just a few years ago. In some ways, many ways, part of me longs to return to the pre-digital revolution days… they were simpler.
Nevertheless, I am not a luddite. In fact, I am a big fan of technology and it’s cutting edge developments. I was a fanboy of Apple back when it was a rare sight to see one out in the wild. Now, it seems everyone at my local coffee shop is working on their MacBooks while talking on their iPhones.
Shortly after Steve Job’s died, biographer Walter Issacson published his best selling book Steve Jobs – one of my favorite biographies.
In Innovators, Issacson takes more of a wide angle look at the people, personalities, and ideas that have led us along the way in this digital revolution. It was interesting to see the various factors in world history and culture that shaped and eventually brought us to this point in the revolution. Obviously, military concerns were a driving force for technological innovations, but interestingly, video games and their makers such as Atari have stamped their mark on world history perhaps equally so. Of course I was particularly engaged with the developments and tech personalities of my lifetime and childhood. In a way, it was a walk down memory lane for me.
If you’re into tech history, then this is the a great book for you. However, I’m guessing this book won’t appeal to the vast majority of people who’s interest in technology goes no deeper than their smartphone screen.