- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: e-reads.com (June 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0759285780
- ISBN-13: 978-0759285781
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,933,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Showstopper! the Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft Paperback – June 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
As a former MS employee, many situations feel familiar to me, however, many things are different now. Teams are bigger, stock options are gone and the culture has changed dramatically towards Dilbert-style, however, there are still teams with great leaders who can rally people to deliver great products.
Finally, use of real people's stories and especially their conflicts to describe the process of building complex software is very valuable to anyone who follows MS since many of the young eager people who worked on NT went on to become big shots at MS - from Bob Muglia to Dave Treadwell. Also, this book finally explained to me why Dave Cutler's red jaguar was parked at the spot closest to the entrance of the building.
As for the rest of the book, there are shortcomings in both the prose and the production. In terms of the prose-- it's simply hard to sum up a 5 year project in a book of this size, particularly if your goal is to cover the project from the perspective of multiple participants. The book never dives very deep and its characters are mostly reduced to cardboard cutouts who replay their roles chapter after chapter. Having said that, this is one of the very few books about Microsoft that includes significant participation on the part of the actual people involved, so it's worth a read on that front.
In terms of the production-- the 2008 reissue of this book is rife with blatant typos (one or more per page) and formatting problems. My guess is that the original manuscript was lost and the new book was generated by optical character recognition of a printed copy of the original book. For whatever reason, the new printing itself is problematic-- rather than the smooth fonts normally seen on all modern printed pages, the dots making up each of the printed characters is visible, as if this new version were printed on a dot matrix printer from the book's original era. The printing issues are surprisingly distracting.
While the story is very interesting, the reading experience is marred by what appears to be the lack of even basic editing; as though the author submitted a rough draft to the publisher who printed off copies without even a cursory copy-editing review. Missing quotation marks, missing or extraneous line breaks, printed carriage-return characters, poor print quality, and duplication of material in various chapters make reading the book like hitting a speedbump at 50 miles an hour.
I was disturbed by the updated authors comments at the end. He seems to have jumped ship and taken sides against MS at the end. Even though MS lost its way for a bit, it is WAY back in the game. A basic reality lost on the authors comments at the end. Pity, and sad, and shows what is really going on in the tech press today, and how the press in general can and will go out of it's way to shape the opinions of people that don't necessarily have good information to go on.
The focus of the narrative is on the people working on the project, with technology and business matters in the background. The making of NT is presented as an extremely challenging and demanding endeavor, requiring great commitment from those involved in it, especially the people who shaped the product and the development process.
Some of the heroes of the story are placed in the spotlight and the reader gets to know more about them than just what their job on the project was. Dave Cutler, the lead developer, gets the most attention, which is justified by his role and the effect that he had on other programmers (at one point they built him an altar). A lot is told about how new people joined the project, how teams were formed, how conflicts arose and got resolved, and how being immersed in the stressful work environment affected the personal lives of the participants and their families.
While the book does touch on many technical topics, it presents them on a rather high level and rarely dives into the nitty-gritty details (a code fragment is only shown once or twice throughout the text). A basic understanding of how computers and operating systems work should be sufficient to follow the story.
At all times, it's apparent that the author took great care to present the story comprehensively and accurately.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It seems like a failure in editing together interviews that perhaps had no follow ups. The segues are awkward, and the story - what there was of it - never really congealed.Published 13 months ago by joshperry
For anyone who likes to read about technology and teamwork this is the book for you. Great stories that intertwined individual personalities and teamwork. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Robert Racette
Excellent story on how a revolutionary operating system was developed and delivered. This tells all the hurdles and sacrifice that the team that developed Windows NT went through. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Darrell Smith
It's not bad and the author certainly got the inside story. The problem is the story isn't that dramatic, the personalities aren't that interesting and it lacks technical detail so... Read morePublished on December 27, 2013 by Ian Strang
this book goes into an incredible amount of detail about the hard work that went into building Windows NT and the great people behind it and their stories.. Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Miguel Rosario
This book gets better with every reading. even the updated comment by the author was a pleasant surprise. Read morePublished on December 2, 2013 by William B. Carn
The glory may not come again. Recommend to anyone who is/was devoting his precious hours on NT platform. Best wishes to MSFT.Published on November 5, 2013 by Neil
good to know the way the large enterprise growth by new hiring, hiring correctly and use correctly.. should be a good reference on how to work out a new company.Published on October 28, 2013 by Marrow Yung
I liked reading the history of the Windows NT team, especially Dave Cutler's backgronud.
However, I felt that the teams subsequent work over the last 20 years has not... Read more