Review: The Innovators
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Somehow some writers of biography end up sounding trite, both in their relating of their subjects’ stories and in the lessons they draw from them.
Isaacson is not one of these writers. The word that comes to my mind to describe him is “complementarity.” His powers of anecdote selection complement his keen ability to distill insight from them. I thoroughly enjoyed his Steve Jobs biography and felt that the set of biographies in Innovators—bios of people and of the technologies they created—complements the Jobs bio very well. Innovators expands the vision of the power of humanity and technology working together, humanities and science, to include the many stories beyond Jobs’ that demonstrate this power. Innovation comes from collaboration, from the complementarity of visionary and practical minds. And now that we have technology, innovation comes from the combination of human and machine strengths.
Isaacson’s narrative is fascinating, moves at just the right pace, and genuinely helped me understand the history and the current state of the technological world I live in. It was kind of funny to hear the back stories I never imagined behind technologies that just seemed to suddenly exist when I needed them: Blogger, Google, packet-switching. I will remember this book.