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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.
In The Launch Pad, Randall Stross, author of eBoys and Planet Google, takes a behind-the-scenes look at how tomorrow's hottest startups are being primed for greatness.
Twice a year, in the heart of Silicon Valley, a small investment firm called Y Combinator selects an elite group of young entrepreneurs. Months of intense work culminates in Demo Day, when investors and venture capitalists flock to hear their pitches. Any one of them might turn out to be the next Dropbox (class of 2007), or Airbnb (class of 2009).
Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinator, enabling a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. He tells the full story of this ultra-exclusive institution, how it chooses the aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs, and how it teaches them to go from concept to profitability in record time.
This is the definitive story of a seismic shift in the business world, in which coding skill beats job experience, pairs of undergraduates take on Goliaths, and investors fall in love. The Launch Pad is both a gripping narrative and a gold mine of useful insights.