Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Academic journal article Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Article excerpt

Book Details Isaacson, W. (2014). The innovators: How a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, $35, hardcover, ISBN 9781476708690.

Synopsis and Evaluation

The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson, details the history of the development of information technology, and, in doing so, offers a sorely missed perspective in our modern era: namely, that advancement in technology is as much a product of shared collaboration as it is individual genius. When it comes to sorting out "how we got here" in terms of technology, pop culture tends to focus on a handful of individuals (Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, et al.) working within a "traditional capitalist" framework. From this book, however, we get a snapshot of the bigger picture; many different individuals, personality types, and institutions (public and private) have all, sometimes unwittingly, joined forces to give us the set of technologies we live with today.

Indeed, one perhaps senses that The Innovators may be a response to Isaacson's previous work, a biography of the late Steve Jobs. While it is certainly true that Jobs's legacy is an important one with regard to the development of communication technology, some have suggested his contributions are somewhat overstated-perhaps as a result of his legendary ability to persuade and force changes of mind among those around him. Indeed, this "reality distortion field" seems to persist even after Jobs's untimely death; even so, it does not seem unreasonable that The Innovators was written as something of a correction to Isaacson's own ostensible prior augmentation of Jobs's enormous personality.

Regardless of Isaacson's intent, he provides a colorful and compelling picture of the complex, intertwining relationships between theory, practice, and personality. The layers of the technological landscape we inhabit are revealed, one by one, not as a logical, sequential series of necessary steps, but as a near-random amalgamation of coincidences and opportunities that have fortuitously aligned themselves into our current technology-heavy landscape.

However, the author does not include much on the ways in which the technology was not advanced by these luminaries because stubbornness or missed opportunity perhaps stifled it.

Additionally, the author attempts to draw conclusive lessons from the behavior and interactions of the books' subjects. …

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