Silicon Valley History
Alan Kay says that computing is pop culture -- "pop culture holds a disdain for history". The below are my favorite books and articles about the history of computing and Silicon Valley:
- The Dream Machine -- probably the best overall book about the early days of computing and the internet.
- Heat Death: Venture Capital in the 1980s -- a brief history of the venture capital industry since 1973.
- Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech -- the definitive history of Genentech.
- The Whole Earth Catalog -- the library at PARC was first composed simply of the books that the Whole Earth Catalog recommended. Steve Jobs cites it as inspiration for Apple. It's still possible to find original copies.
- Dealers of Lightning -- the best history of PARC.
- The Idea Factory -- sets the context for the hardware inventions that directly led to Silicon Valley.
- Computer Lib -- one of the greatest books about the possibilities of computers ever written.
- Man-Computer Symbiosis -- established the vision of computing that inspired Engelbart, Kay, etc., to pursue what they did.
- The Chip -- the invention of the microchip.
- Something Ventured -- a lighthearted of the venture capital industry.
- The Little Kingdom -- the early days of Apple Computer and the Macintosh.
- From Counterculture to Cyberculture -- Stewart Brand and his surrounding milieu. Better than What the Dormouse Said.
- Season of the Witch -- a cultural history of San Francisco from the late 60s to the early 80s.
- Making Silicon Valley -- there aren't many books that say a lot about the Valley pre-Shockley; this one goes back to the 30s.
- The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce -- the origins and cultural context of Fairchild and Intel.
- Revolution in The Valley -- a hundred stories from the early days of the Mac, collected by one of its creators.
- Swimming Across -- Andy Grove's memoir.
There's a closely-related genre of great books (like Masters of Doom and Show-Stopper) that cover important projects in the industry's history. Here, though, I've omitted those that don't have a direct connection to Silicon Valley.
Got recommendations? Drop me a note!