The computer revolution brought with it new methods of getting work done--just look at today's news for reports of hard-driven, highly-motivated young software and online commerce developers who sacrifice evenings and weekends to meet impossible deadlines. Tracy Kidder got a preview of this world in the late 1970s when he observed the engineers of Data General design and build a new 32-bit minicomputer in just one year. His thoughtful, prescient book, The Soul of a New Machine, tells stories of 35-year-old "veteran" engineers hiring recent college graduates and encouraging them to work harder and faster on complex and difficult projects, exploiting the youngsters' ignorance of normal scheduling processes while engendering a new kind of work ethic.
These days, we are used to the "total commitment" philosophy of managing technical creation, but Kidder was surprised and even a little alarmed at the obsessions and compulsions he found. From in-house political struggles to workers being permitted to tease management to marathon 24-hour work sessions, The Soul of a New Machine explores concepts that already seem familiar, even old-hat, less than 20 years later. Kidder plainly admires his subjects; while he admits to hopeless confusion about their work, he finds their dedication heroic. The reader wonders, though, what will become of it all, now and in the future. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Pulitzer Prize winner Kidder's 1981 volume was published when mini-supercomputers were still the stuff of science fiction. How the world has turned. Though technology has grown immeasurably since then, this volume still serves as an interesting history of the machine that conquered the world.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you are into Software Engineering, or that are studying CPUs at some point, I would recommend this book which immerses you into this 1980's universe in a way that makes you feel... Read morePublished on March 14 2013 by Benjamin San Souci
I read this book about twenty years ago or when ever it first appeared and have given copies to many people. I am still giving it away and am reading it again now. Read morePublished on May 17 2010 by John Moore
I had just finished reading Kidder's "Hometown" about Northampton, MA (a former home of mine), when I decided to read "The Soul of a New Machine". Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2004 by NULL VOID
Soul of a New Machine is an excellent portrayal of a heroic team of young engineers. What defined the book for me was the sort of mad, beautiful work ethic that the team in the... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004 by Amazon Customer
Tracy Kidder is one of those people who can write comfortably about a variety of subjects. Whether it is school children or nursing home residents or, in this case, modern... Read morePublished on Dec 27 2003 by Avid Reader
Tracy Kidder takes a subject that would be incalculably boring to most readers, and creates a story with all the characteristics of fictional masterpiece. Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2003 by Clint Collins
Hopefully, the recent release of Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains" will cause some people to go back and look at his impressive body of previous work. Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2003 by Andy Orrock
Even though this book is about a product developed more than 20 years ago, and the technology used back then is clearly obselete, this book is one of the best I've ever read that... Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2003 by OFER H GILL
Tells the tale of a bunch of developers who invested body and soul to the creation of Data General's new machine only to find out that the world views the finished product merely... Read morePublished on July 1 2003 by Leo Lim