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The computer revolution brought with it new methods of getting work done--just look at today's news for reports of hard-driven, highly-motivated young software and online commerce developers who sacrifice evenings and weekends to meet impossible deadlines. Tracy Kidder got a preview of this world in the late 1970s when he observed the engineers of Data General design and build a new 32-bit minicomputer in just one year. His thoughtful, prescient book, The Soul of a New Machine, tells stories of 35-year-old "veteran" engineers hiring recent college graduates and encouraging them to work harder and faster on complex and difficult projects, exploiting the youngsters' ignorance of normal scheduling processes while engendering a new kind of work ethic.
These days, we are used to the "total commitment" philosophy of managing technical creation, but Kidder was surprised and even a little alarmed at the obsessions and compulsions he found. From in-house political struggles to workers being permitted to tease management to marathon 24-hour work sessions, The Soul of a New Machine explores concepts that already seem familiar, even old-hat, less than 20 years later. Kidder plainly admires his subjects; while he admits to hopeless confusion about their work, he finds their dedication heroic. The reader wonders, though, what will become of it all, now and in the future. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Pulitzer Prize winner Kidder's 1981 volume was published when mini-supercomputers were still the stuff of science fiction. How the world has turned. Though technology has grown immeasurably since then, this volume still serves as an interesting history of the machine that conquered the world.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Fascinating both in terms of history of computing and as a lesson in team building under pressure. I also recommend listening to some of the discussions available on the NPR... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Eileen C McIntyre
Interesting at first but the vocabulary gets too complicated with technical terms and about that time you have no idea what you are reading!Published 5 days ago by Blueskies
If you follow the current history of high-end and consumer technology to any degree, and care about the conditions under which it is created to eventually affect your life,... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Moeskido
This book (or more accurately, the Reader's Digest of it) set me in the path to become an Electronics Engineer. I can not say anything more.Published 25 days ago by William Yousef Fadel
I was one of those customers waiting on delivery of the MV/8000 32-bit Eclipse. It was an amazing machine made even more amazing as I discovered how it was made not with silicon... Read morePublished 1 month ago by John OKeefe
Other than the annoying peppering of "gonna" and the like throughout, it's a fantastic read with a surprising level of technical detail. Read morePublished 1 month ago by EDW
It's a heroic tale about creating the impossible, although far from as heroic it remembered me about my own debugging time.Published 1 month ago by Chris Hendriks