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Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) Paperback – February 10, 2012
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I saw Grace Hopper speak when I was a young software programmer at Bell Labs. While she spoke of great technology and the power of computing, she also re-enforced the creative power of youthful thinking, public speaking, and collaborative efforts. Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age brings all of those themes together in a compelling way, placing Grace Hopper where she belongs: at the creative genesis of the technology upon which our world depends.(Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-founder, National Center for Women and Information Technology)
It is a pleasure to finally read a biography of Grace Hopper that does not simply list the clichéd myths about 'Amazing Grace' but instead tells the story of her wonderful life and contributions to the development of programming languages. Beyer reveals interesting facts and aspects of her life that I have never seen published. It portrays Grace as a human being and subject to the whims of both personal and social problems of her era. Along the way it provides insight into the changing social status of technically oriented women and details the personal struggles that this caused Grace and her female colleagues.(Michael R. Williams, Professor Emeritus, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary)
Beyer's meticulously researched biography shows how Hopper was one of the first to realise that software was the key to unlocking the power of the computer.(The Guardian)
Bravo to Beyer for unearthing the fascinating, many-faceted history...of a phenomenal technology we take for granted and for portraying a woman of astonishing powers.(Booklist)
About the Author
Kurt W. Beyer is a former professor at the United States Naval Academy and lectures regularly on the process of technological innovation.
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Top Customer Reviews
As history, however, the book misses one of Hopper's most important contributions -- the notion of an industry-wide standard. Hopper's work to convene the CODASYL group was the first of a long line of standards efforts (including ICANN and the rest of the Internet infrastructure) without which the Information Age would have withered for lack of cross-enterprise fertilization.
Kurt Beyer does a good job of conveying the feeling of constantly being at the forefront of this technology, of always facing the unknown. Hopper used her imagination, creativity and knowledge to sculpt part of computer science out of that unknown. She did this better than others because she was also able to marshal the genius of others more successfully than most CEO's of the day (or of today, I suspect). And that included attracting brilliant women programmers, perhaps the first instance of a new field of study emerging with women as intellectual peers.
The book is well researched, judging by the bibliography as well as the many personal quotes we read. But you don't get a drippy Oprah bio of her family life and feelings. Instead, you get a story that Hopper herself would have enjoyed, I think.
On the other hand, I wish that the author had inserted a bit more of Hopper's technological accomplishments. We should see some of the machine code of the Mark I for evaluating the cosine function, and the flow charting used in the UNIVAC. Why not show an example of a COBOL program (I remember studying it)? It's probably on the web, but it should also be in a book like this. Speaking of the web, you might enjoy Mr. Beyer's lecture at [...]
Two small gripes. The first is a general one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun read, and yet where are the emotions and psychology? It might well be Mrs. Hopper stayed a very opaque person. (And that may have been part of her talent). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Litsios James
I recently attended technical computer training and there were only 2 women present amongst perhaps 35 men. Read morePublished 7 months ago by spx79
Bravo to Beyer for telling the story of a human being who chose to share her many talents with mankind, in spite of her weaknesses. Read morePublished 11 months ago by luigi cassinelli
I am just so glad to find this. She was ome of my heroes when I was in high school. The story of her ordering the computers before telling her boss was a story everyone in IT can... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Deborah J. Boyd
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was many things: brilliant, accomplished, a patriot, a leader and an innovator. Read morePublished 16 months ago by William D Thompson
I'm an avid reader, especially about women in history. I asked for and received the hardcover of this book a few years ago for Christmas. Read morePublished 19 months ago by TBA
We talk today as if innovation is a new thing but if you want to see true innovation at work, this is the book for you! Read morePublished 23 months ago by Sc13nc3luv3r