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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.
Showstopper is the dramatic, inside story of the creation of Windows NT, told by Wall Street Journal reporter G. Pascal Zachary. Driven by the legendary David Cutler, a picked band of software engineers sacrifices almost everything in their lives to build a new, stable, operating system aimed at giving Microsoft a platform for growth through the next decade of development in the computing business.
Comparable in many ways to the Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder, Showstopper gets deep inside the process of software development, the lives and motivations of coders and the pressure to succeed coupled with the drive for originality and perfection that can pull a diverse team together to create a program consisting of many hundreds of thousands of lines of code.