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Scott Johnson (Freelance Software Engineer / )
If you're interested in high tech as a career path then I'd recommend a series of case studies around the development of products / founding of companies. Here are four examples:
- Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder (1981)
- Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan (1996)
- Show Stopper by G Pascal Zachary (1994)
- The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator by Randall Stross (2013)
- The Everything Store by Brad Stone (2014)
These books all tell the tale of starting a company or building a product and despite covering a time span of 30+ years and multiple generations of technology the remarkable thing is just how very, very similar they are. While the technology changes, the process of creating something from whole cloth doesn't. That's a great lesson for people to learn.
Kaplan, a well-known figure in the computer industry, founded GO Corporation in 1987, and for several years it was one of the hottest new ventures in the Valley. Startup tells the story of Kaplan's wild ride: how he assembled a brilliant but fractious team of engineers, software designers, and investors; pioneered the emerging market for hand-held computers operated with a pen instead of a keyboard; and careened from crisis to crisis without ever losing his passion for a revolutionary idea. Along the way, Kaplan vividly recreates his encounters with eccentric employees, risk-addicted venture capitalists, and industry giants such as Bill Gates, John Sculley, and Mitchell Kapor. And no one - including Kaplan himself - is spared his sharp wit and observant eye.
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