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Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America Paperback – Jan 21 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
According to this "independent" biography, the computer whiz kid, Harvard dropout, youngest self-made billionaire ever William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b. 1955) has dominated the immense, dramatic story of America's electronic revolution. Manes, a former columnist for PC/computing magazine, and Seattle Times high-tech reporter Andrews combine authoritative discussions of technology with a clear and entertaining prose style. They explain how Gates and his partner commercialized computer software back in 1975; today, as cofounder and chairman of the Seattle-based Microsoft Corp., Gates supplies a multibillion-dollar world market with the leading software programs. Most interesting is the glimpse of the turbulent 20-year history of the computer industry--geometrically expanding invention; products that prove incompatible or instantly obsolete; controversy; deception; promotional hype; all-or-nothing gambles; and cooperation, competition and high-stakes litigation. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Because the life of Bill Gates is indistinguishable from the history of the Microsoft Corporation he created in 1975, this is as much an industrial history as a biography of a "smart guy" whose work impacts everyone who works with a microcomputer. Writer/programmer Manes and Andrews, a columnist for the Seattle Times , provide refreshing disclosures on the source of their information and reveal the close cooperation of both Gates and other corporate insiders. Rich with detail, this book is thorough and not always laudatory of Gates. Much has been written on Gates, and most libraries owning James Wallace and Jim Erickson's Hard Drive ( LJ 6/1/92) will find that to be sufficient. Business libraries should acquire both titles.
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It even has a lot of inside detail on the development of the Apple Macintosh. I recently read "Accidental Empires" (the basis for the TV documentary "Triumph of the Nerds"), and found Gates to be a far better and more readable history of the PC's startup.
The book is packed with interviews and amusing or interesting anecdotes. It's well written and well edited. One drawback for some people will be that it hasn't been updated since 1995, but for the two main things that have happened since then - the anti-trust suit against Microsoft and the rise of the Internet - there are plenty of other sources.
That said, this book provides excellent accounts of Bill Gates as a person and Bill Gates as Microsoft. The emphasis is on how Bill Gates ran Microsoft as a business, how he interfacted with his employees, business allies and competitors. If you are looking for information on how Windows 3.0 or Flight Simulator was designed, this is not the place. But if you want to know how Microsoft really got started, how Gates allegedly "screwed" Apple, or how Gates started dating Melinda French, you'll find it right here.
Stephen Manes has been a long-time critic of Microsoft's producty quality (and rightly so, IMHO), and the book comes across as quite critical of Gates' business tactics ("bullying", "anti-competitive", etc.) and personal idiosyncracies (both selfish and selfless, intolerant, etc.). At the same time the authors show admiration for the Gator as a technical and business genius. But because the authors evidently believe that Microsoft has done lots of evil, every conflict Microsoft had with a competitor would be Microsoft's fault.
In summary, this book is easy to read, generally objective (Gates was interviewed extensive for this "unauthorized" biography), and informative. I highly recommend it to anyone fascinated by Bill Gates and Microsoft.
Other newer books of course are more complete in chronicling the growth of Microsoft, but none covers Gates' boyhood and early Microsoft years so well. You do not know Gates or Microsoft unless you know what both were like during the first years of Microsoft's existence in Albuquerque from 1975 until the relocation to the Seattle area in late 1978.
After reading this book I felt I understood the essential Bill Gates. He never is going to quite grow up, and he is always going to be a bit of a mystery to those who did not become forever fascinated with computers by age thirteen.
If you are not a Gates fan now, you may like Bill Gates (privileged son of accomplished but non-technical parents, congressional page, avid water skier, college poker player) a bit more after reading this. If you are an aging hacker like me, you will smile many times at the accounts of Bill's early fascination with a timesharing computer terminal and his amazing success following on Microsoft's original products, adaptations of the Basic computer language for microcomputers beginning with the Altair.
I guess you will have to be a techie to love this book as much as I do, but it is at least essential reading for all students of the history of computer technology. Check the index and almost all of the early pioneers are there, from Altair's Roberts to Xerox's Metcalfe. And the photos are great!
Most recent customer reviews
I won't get wordy here but I read this book twice and enjoyed it both times. It goes into the life of Bill Gates; his thought process, his work ethics, his childhood and how... Read morePublished on June 3 2003 by darkguardian2
This very readable book provides a candid overview of the rise of Bill Gates and Microsoft. I found it interesting and insightful. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2002 by sir_isaac_newton
I first read "Gates" back in 1993. Many books about Bill Gates have been written since. But "Gates" by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews is still by far the best... Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2002
When, coming from UNIX, I decided to explore the PC platform in Jan 95, I was first an "ABM" (Anything But Microsoft), thus following the buzz. Read morePublished on June 22 2001 by Michel Merlin
This book tell about Gates and his company quite detail. Any Gates's fans surely can trace how Gates built his company from zero to the top,step by step quite completely, through... Read morePublished on June 18 2000 by Edward
The book was well written, informative and unbiased. However, it had too many characters and too many jumps across the space time continuum. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 1999 by Ronald Matten
This is by far the most personal look at Bill Gates I've ever seen. It gives an insider's view of what it was really like to work for Microsoft in the early years. Read morePublished on Aug. 2 1999
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