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Ask HN: Computer Science / History Books ?, Hacker News

“The Road Ahead” by Bill Gates is an interesting look into what Bill envisioned for the Internet. It came with a CD-ROM full of videos of how devices would be used in schools and workplaces (I thonk law enforcement too if I remember correctly). The videos are much better than the book.

“The Second Coming of Steve Jobs” was eye opening for me regarding the life of Jobs, his family life, and his business involvements.

“Masters” of Doom “by David Kushner chronicles the history of id Software and its creators. It’s an entertaining book for sure, especially the part where id has Gwar show up at Microsoft.

“Close to the Machine” by Ellen Ullman is the memoir of a software developer in the s. I need to read this one again, but it was enjoyable. I think about one part in particular from time to time where the author recounts being offered a job to work on an aging mainframe. The man pitching the job is probably the last person around who’s dedicated to maintaining it. She would have made a lot of money doing it, but the work itself looked to be soul draining, so she skipped it fpr pther opportunities

“The Fugitive Game” by Jonathan Littman documents the story of Kevin Mitnick , the so-called most wanted hacker alive. Certainly has some surprises and is a fun read.

Pretty much anything by Norbert Wiener regarding cybernetics is interesting from a historical perspective. I’ve read several but the one that comes to mind immediately is “God and Golem, Inc”. While unfinished, it goes into cybernetics, which was a practice or idea that technology could interface with biological life in a complementary way and those ways should be pursued. I think he was ultimately successful since we take a lot of those ideas for granted today.

“The Computer and The Brain” by John von Neumann is a great and short read. It mostly talks about how binary signals can be fired by synapses in the brain.

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