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Geeks Bearing Gifts Paperback – December 17, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book he gives us a new way to look at the history of computing that is different from those that feel like a text book of inevitability. Rather this history one shaped by personalities, foibles, and commercial influences. This history is engaging because beyond being accurate, it shows how the next generation can bend these technology to their own personalities, foibles, and commercial influences. In this book, history does not unfold, it is built.
While the book design is not of modern standard, this should be overlooked for the clarity and freshness of message and method.
I recommend this book to anyone trying to ignite the spark of inventiveness in yourself, your students, or a friend.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's embarrassingly bad. If you had told me that it was put together by a high school student who pasted together scraps from Wikipedia, I'd have believed you. It's not just badly written; it's sloppy.
It's true that some of Nelson's unique perspective colors his account of computing history, but I doubt that the reader unfamiliar with his other work would come away with much of an understanding of why some of us find his ideas exciting. Meanwhile, as history, Geeks Bearing Gifts is virtually useless.
I wish that Nelson had put his energy into a first-hand account of his experiences instead of this shoddy attempt to (re)write history. That would have been an original contribution and probably also quite entertaining. Geeks Bearing Gifts is neither.