Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age

Leslie Berlin. Simon & Schuster, $30 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5150-8
Stanford University archivist Berlin (The Man Behind the Microchip) focuses on key but largely overlooked figures who helped to fuel the expansion of the tech industry in the 1970s and 1980s in Silicon Valley. Among the seven subjects she profiles are Bob Taylor, who launched the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center; Al Alcorn, who created Atari’s immensely successful Pong video game; Mike Markkula, Apple’s angel investor; and Sandra Kurtzig, a software entrepreneur and the first woman to take a tech company public. Berlin chronicles these pioneers’ arrivals in northern California and their accomplishments over the years, identifying two common traits in all seven: persistence and audaciousness. Taylor, for example, saw the need for computers to communicate with one another while working for government; he later moved to Silicon Valley, where he pushed to lay the foundation for today’s internet. The standout profile is of Markkula, who had cashed out his stock options from a stint at Intel when he met two guys named Steve tinkering in a garage in Los Altos and approached them with a business plan. Other sections pale in comparison to Markkula’s story. Berlin reveals another layer in the history of the Silicon Valley. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 11/07/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-4419-6
Paperback - 978-1-5011-7950-1
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