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Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America Paperback – January 21, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to this "independent" biography, the computer whiz kid, Harvard dropout, youngest self-made billionaire ever William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b. 1955) has dominated the immense, dramatic story of America's electronic revolution. Manes, a former columnist for PC/computing magazine, and Seattle Times high-tech reporter Andrews combine authoritative discussions of technology with a clear and entertaining prose style. They explain how Gates and his partner commercialized computer software back in 1975; today, as cofounder and chairman of the Seattle-based Microsoft Corp., Gates supplies a multibillion-dollar world market with the leading software programs. Most interesting is the glimpse of the turbulent 20-year history of the computer industry--geometrically expanding invention; products that prove incompatible or instantly obsolete; controversy; deception; promotional hype; all-or-nothing gambles; and cooperation, competition and high-stakes litigation. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Because the life of Bill Gates is indistinguishable from the history of the Microsoft Corporation he created in 1975, this is as much an industrial history as a biography of a "smart guy" whose work impacts everyone who works with a microcomputer. Writer/programmer Manes and Andrews, a columnist for the Seattle Times , provide refreshing disclosures on the source of their information and reveal the close cooperation of both Gates and other corporate insiders. Rich with detail, this book is thorough and not always laudatory of Gates. Much has been written on Gates, and most libraries owning James Wallace and Jim Erickson's Hard Drive ( LJ 6/1/92) will find that to be sufficient. Business libraries should acquire both titles.
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Touchstone ed edition (January 21, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671880748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671880743
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bestselling author Stephen Manes has written more than thirty books and hundreds of articles in a long career of making arcane worlds accessible to the uninitiated. Four years in the making, his new book, "Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet," was born of his desire to discover how ballet really happens. Now the book has arrived--with an unprecedented amount of inside information about the world he calls the Land of Ballet, from intense rehearsals and lighting sessions to closed-door casting conferences and business meetings.

The book has already earned acclaim from around the globe. In the United States, BalletScoop and ExploreDance called it a "must-read," and Ballet-Dance Magazine deemed it "not to be missed." In Great Britain, a former dancer writing for Balletco found it "engrossing" and "unparalleled." In Australia, Dancelines said "'Snowflakes' reveals all. . . . I can't imagine any other company allowing a writer the same access . . . " James Fayette, a former Principal Dancer with the New York City Ballet, calls the book "a truly in-depth exploration that should be recommended to anyone who craves insight into the very private world of professional ballet and the dancer subculture."

Manes co-wrote the bestselling and much-acclaimed biography "Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America." He wrote long-running columns on personal technology for The New York Times, Forbes, PC World, PC Magazine, and many other publications. He was a creator and co-host of the weekly public television series "Digital Duo."

Manes is also the author of dozens of books for children and young adults. His "Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!" won kid-voted awards in five states and is a curriculum staple in American and French schools. The sequel, "Make Four Million Dollars by Next Thursday!", quickly became a Publishers Weekly bestseller. His books have been adapted for stage and television productions.

Manes has a degree in cinema from the University of Southern California. His writing credits for the screen include programs for ABC Television and KCET/Los Angeles, as well as the 'seventies classic movie "Mother, Jugs & Speed." A native of Pittsburgh, he lives in Seattle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gadgester HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an in-depth account of Microsoft's "early" (i.e., pre-1995) days. First, let me say that I wish the authors had updated the book, since the computer business has gotten VERY fascinating since the launch of Windows 95, as the Internet seized the day and also as an intrusive DOJ started an effort to dismantle a 20-year-old company that had suddenly become America's Public Enemy No. 1.
That said, this book provides excellent accounts of Bill Gates as a person and Bill Gates as Microsoft. The emphasis is on how Bill Gates ran Microsoft as a business, how he interfacted with his employees, business allies and competitors. If you are looking for information on how Windows 3.0 or Flight Simulator was designed, this is not the place. But if you want to know how Microsoft really got started, how Gates allegedly "screwed" Apple, or how Gates started dating Melinda French, you'll find it right here.
Stephen Manes has been a long-time critic of Microsoft's producty quality (and rightly so, IMHO), and the book comes across as quite critical of Gates' business tactics ("bullying", "anti-competitive", etc.) and personal idiosyncracies (both selfish and selfless, intolerant, etc.). At the same time the authors show admiration for the Gator as a technical and business genius. But because the authors evidently believe that Microsoft has done lots of evil, every conflict Microsoft had with a competitor would be Microsoft's fault.
In summary, this book is easy to read, generally objective (Gates was interviewed extensive for this "unauthorized" biography), and informative. I highly recommend it to anyone fascinated by Bill Gates and Microsoft.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David Gurgel VINE VOICE on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am on my fourth copy of this book, my favorite among six accounts of Bill Gates and Microsoft. When confronted by young professionals who know only today's politically correct and somewhat unfavorable characterization of Microsoft's founder, I press this book upon them and urge them to dig a bit deeper into this fascinating personality.
Other newer books of course are more complete in chronicling the growth of Microsoft, but none covers Gates' boyhood and early Microsoft years so well. You do not know Gates or Microsoft unless you know what both were like during the first years of Microsoft's existence in Albuquerque from 1975 until the relocation to the Seattle area in late 1978.
After reading this book I felt I understood the essential Bill Gates. He never is going to quite grow up, and he is always going to be a bit of a mystery to those who did not become forever fascinated with computers by age thirteen.
If you are not a Gates fan now, you may like Bill Gates (privileged son of accomplished but non-technical parents, congressional page, avid water skier, college poker player) a bit more after reading this. If you are an aging hacker like me, you will smile many times at the accounts of Bill's early fascination with a timesharing computer terminal and his amazing success following on Microsoft's original products, adaptations of the Basic computer language for microcomputers beginning with the Altair.
I guess you will have to be a techie to love this book as much as I do, but it is at least essential reading for all students of the history of computer technology. Check the index and almost all of the early pioneers are there, from Altair's Roberts to Xerox's Metcalfe. And the photos are great!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Slivka on May 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think this is a must-read book for any technology entrepreneur -- and all senior technology executives. Covering Bill Gate's childhood and the first 17+ years of Microsoft, you read in gory detail about just how complicated and chaotic that time was, and you marvel at Bill's and Microsoft's ability to surf through and dominate.

I joined Microsoft in 6/1985 and departed in 8/1999. It grew from 800 people and $120M revenue to >30K people and >$19B revenue during those 14 years.

Manes and Andrews have done a very thorough job capturing the feeling of the 8 years (1985-1993) where I overlapped with their chronology, when I worked on what became OS/2 for my first 5.5 years, then did early work on "Win32 for DOS", and co-led software engineering for MS-DOS 6.0 and 6.2 (both shipped in 1993).

As they describe, the focus of the company was on OS/2 and IBM up until the "divorce" toward the end of 1990. The OS/2 group was much larger than the Windows group and it was staffed with most of the more experienced software engineers. Similarly, the Apps teams working on Word and Excel for OS/2 were larger and had more senior folks.

By 1987 I was leading engineering teams, and like all engineering leaders I spent a lot of time on recruiting. Our focus was on the top talent graduating with BS (and BA) degrees, and our summer internship program was a key tool to both get real work done and attract the best software folks. Up until the web started heating up in 1996, Microsoft was able to hire the absolute best undergrads (a role Facebook and Google have today).

I was too busy working to read the print release back in 1993, but I just finished this 20th anniversary April 2013 Kindle re-release.
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