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Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made Hardcover – Dec 16 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Dec 16 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596007191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007195
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 20 x 19.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #575,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Rajiv Bhopani on July 18 2012
Format: Paperback
The whole book is in fact a tribute to those more innocent days when idealism was a much more potent motivator than money and stock options. It also paints a picture of Silicon Valley when it was possible for young fresh-out-of-college engineers to find meaningful work and live in places like Palo Alto. Whether you are a Mac fan or someone with a curiosity about the first-hand accounts of the early personal computer industry, you will find a lot in this book to keep you interested. It's a homage to the real nerd inside of all of us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 1 2011
Format: Hardcover
Macintosh computer is the most iconic computer of all time, and probably one of the most significant consumer electronics products ever. The successors of the original Macintosh have remained aspirational products ever since, and Mac fans are oftentimes known for their cult-like admiration for their computers. One name that immediately comes to mind when Mac is mentioned is that of Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and a mercurial and controversial visionary that has shaped Apple products for the most of company's history. However, Jobs is a strange bird - a head of a technology company without any concrete technological skills. The bulk of the work on the original Apple computer was done by the other company cofounder (Steve Wozniak) and the team that actually built Mac was composed of largely unknown engineers and technicians who worked on the computer over many years with the utmost passion and dedication. This book is a tribute to that creative and dedicated team. It is written in a form of many anecdotes of crucial events and developments in the process of creating the first Mac. Most of the stories are told from the point of view of Andy Hertzfeld, but there are numerous contributions by other team members as well. The book is filled with images of old hand-written designing notes, pictures of the team members, various Polaroid screen-shots of the development of Mac's GUI, and many, many more moments that elicit a form of nostalgia for those early days of the computer industry. The whole book is in fact a tribute to those more innocent days when idealism was a much more potent motivator than money and stock options. It also paints a picture of Silicon Valley when it was possible for young fresh-out-of-college engineers to find meaningful work and live in places like Palo Alto.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 65 reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Engaging, fun and inspirational Dec 15 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's easy to get discouraged as a developer. Time, features, quality, these all turn the thrill of inspiration into the cool slog of a job. But sometimes the fire gets through. That's what happened at Apple with the birth of the Macintosh. And that's what Andy Hertzfeld, one of the primary team members on the first Macintosh, chronicles in this book.

The summation of the folklore.org site, this book is a set of about 100 stories. Each running about 3-4 pages on average. Starting with Andy's first day at Apple and ending around the time when Jobs' was ousted in a palace coup. The stories run the gamut from the deep technical to the interpersonal. They are well written and engaging.

A must read for those inspired by the original Apple Mac engineers.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Great Read for those who started with Macs in early 1980's Dec 18 2004
By William Davies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
How wonderful is this book? That will depend on several factors. I've read a lot of books that claim to dish out the real dirt about Apple, and this book impressed me because Andy Hertzfeld didn't write all the anecdotes himself. Instead, he created a web site at [...] and encouraged any and all persons involved with the creation of the Macintosh to document their own recollections of how it all went down. Those essays, along with dozens written by Hertzfeld himself, are now the basis of this new book, mixed in with pencil sketches, historcal photos, and old ads. This book is not about grinding axes or settling grudges. It merely documents in an objective fashion how the whole team came together, and the many many ups and downs encountered in bringing this wonderful computer to life.

What I like about this book can be summed up in two phrases. First, none of the essays exceeds five pages (roughly the length of my attention span), so I easily breezed through ninety pages of historical material without losing interest. I found myself laughing outloud at times. Second, because of the way Hertzfeld collected these stories, I truly believe that this book is not an attempt to re-write history so as to exalt himself as the God of Macintosh. While I have seen reviews of this book describe it as a coffee table book, I don't view it as a coffee table book. The essays cover technical details about how the Macintosh was prototyped and debugged, and these technical details will be above 95 percent of the people who pick up this book. Not to mention there is a lot of text.

The anecdotes in this book read quite true to me. We follow Hertzfeld from his initial hire at Apple through to his maneuvers to get himself onto the Macintosh development team. Because the anecdotes come from a variety of sources, the book really seems to fairly depict each person's role in the development of the Macintosh. For example, we've all heard Jef Raskin claim that he was the creator of the Macintosh, but this book reveals that the form factor of the computer envisioned by Raskin was nothing like the 128k Mac that ultimately arrived at retail stores, and that Raskin was put on a forced leave of absence from Apple before the machine even shipped.

Having said all these great things about the book, who is the target market for this book? I happen to have been a Mac owner since the 128k Mac was released (I passed on the 128, and waited for the 512), so this book brought back many fond memories of how the Mac changed my life and of the adventures I have had with it since its introduction. But as the foreward of this book acknowledges, most people today are computing with Windows machines and in a sense "everyone is basically using a Mac," because all the concepts implemented by the Mac team are now available in one form or another on the Windows operating system. But I don't think a Windows user would find this book of interest, as they typically don't care how the computer works or what mountains had to be moved to make the graphical operating system happen.

The book concludes with Steve Jobs removal from the Macintosh team in 1985. It provides no insight on whether the "new Apple" after Jobs' return is anything like the "old Apple" chronicled in this book. This is, of course, due to the fact that Hertzfeld was only at Apple from 1979 to 1984, so here we are, twenty years later, still reminiscing about what it was like to invent the original Mac. Hertzfeld's departure from Apple came after a six-month leave of absence, and the magic he had felt before his leave had gone away (or "grown up") by the time he was scheduled to return. So he left amicably, and went on to found three separate companies in the years that followed. Revolution In The Valley is a wonderful book to read, but I'm thinking the only people who will want to read it are those who were Apple devotees in the early 1980's, or MBA students studying where Apple went wrong with its multiple reorganizations and management shakeups. I find the anecdotes in this book fascinating, and I can't put it down. Programming geeks or budding electrical engineers will find this book fascinating. These stories are the words of real ex-employees, many speaking out for the first time, and detail the day to day travails of the people who made it all happen. But I honestly don't think my wife or my sister would spend much time with this book at all. It's just too much of an insider's look at a company that is struggling to remain relevant in a world that is very different than the world in 1984. But if you are one of the people who bought into the whole Macintosh culture in the 1980's, I would definitely recommend this book.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Part blog, part diary; completely fascinating Dec 20 2004
By Eric Wuehler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Written as a series of short blog-like entries, this book takes you on a unique behind-the-scenes look at what it was like building the original Mac. I found it a genuine and fascinating peek into both the "birth of the Mac" and the emerging personal computer industry as a whole. It's tough to fathom what it must have been like to write an entire operating system and applications with only 128K to work with.

Being in the software industry myself, I could identify with a lot of the programming situations and unique characters that end up in software development. It was oddly comforting to find that certain things haven't really changed that much. My favorite in this regard was a short entry about a management decision to "track progress" by entering the number of lines coded that week. One guy put down "-2000", as he had done some optimizing and was able to get rid of a lot of extra source code.

Great nuggets of information about how things came into existence. For instance, the "Command" key icon, the boot beep, and the original font names. A glimpse at what it was like to work for Steve Jobs was also captivating.

All told, a must read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A coffee-table book for nerds Jan. 16 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Macintosh computer is the most iconic computer of all time, and probably one of the most significant consumer electronics products ever. The successors of the original Macintosh have remained aspirational products ever since, and Mac fans are oftentimes known for their cult-like admiration for their computers. One name that immediately comes to mind when Mac is mentioned is that of Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and a mercurial and controversial visionary that has shaped Apple products for the most of company's history. However, Jobs is a strange bird - a head of a technology company without any concrete technological skills. The bulk of the work on the original Apple computer was done by the other company cofounder (Steve Wozniak) and the team that actually built Mac was composed of largely unknown engineers and technicians who worked on the computer over many years with the utmost passion and dedication. This book is a tribute to that creative and dedicated team. It is written in a form of many anecdotes of crucial events and developments in the process of creating the first Mac. Most of the stories are told from the point of view of Andy Hertzfeld, but there are numerous contributions by other team members as well. The book is filled with images of old hand-written designing notes, pictures of the team members, various Polaroid screen-shots of the development of Mac's GUI, and many, many more moments that elicit a form of nostalgia for those early days of the computer industry. The whole book is in fact a tribute to those more innocent days when idealism was a much more potent motivator than money and stock options. It also paints a picture of Silicon Valley when it was possible for young fresh-out-of-college engineers to find meaningful work and live in places like Palo Alto. Whether you are a Mac fan or someone with a curiosity about the first-hand accounts of the early personal computer industry, you will find a lot in this book to keep you interested. It's a homage to the real nerd inside of all of us.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Must for Mac Fanatics June 28 2006
By SarahMicheleF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first thing that struck me about this book is that it's effectively written in hypertext - it's a series of vignettes about the development of the Mac from its beginnings as a tiny research project through launch and the eventual combination of the Mac and Lisa development teams. The non-linearity of the narrative can be a little distracting at times, but you get used to it.

Some of the vignettes are fairly technical - they might be more than the lay reader wants to get into, but each story is short (3-5 pages) so a non-technical reader can always skip ahead (or back, or sideways) to a less-technical narrative.

Hertzfeld doesn't gloss over conflict within the Mac team, but he also celebrates the fun times and shows why the Mac development team was a unique and very productive working environment. It's clearly one person's version of the story, but he never claims it's anything else.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who's interested in the Mac as a computer and Apple as a company.

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