With a title like "Opening the Xbox," you should likely assume it's one of many hacker type books geared towards Microsoft's game console. It's not. There's not a single line even mentioning the hobby. What author Dean Takahashi has written is an excellent history on the console and how it came to be. It's a great companion to other books like "The Ultimate History of Video Games" which don't have the space to discuss the latest systems at length.
Following one of the creators, Seamus Blackley, through his disaster "Trespasser" on the PC to his rise inside Microsoft, the book chronicles just about every event leading up to the launch of this system. Turmoil was constant, and Takahashi does a fine job of bringing those heated boardroom meetings to life. There's a surprising amount of information in the PC and how it became a more viable platform for gaming. You'll learn plenty of information on those key people as well.
What "Opening the Xbox" does so well is cover all aspects of launching a console. In fact, this is probably the most detailed account of the process, far eclipsing any other book on the history of the industry. He provides very technical terms about the chips, operating systems, stock quotes, total system costs (screws are not cheap), and it's all done on a simple level so anyone can understand it. It shows excellent research on his part and flawless writing so everyone can get a handle on the situation.
If the history portion doesn't grab you, all of the trouble caused either by the malfunctioning consoles or by the creators makes for a great read. You simply have to smile at the Microsoft employee who took a prototype Xbox over to the UK and didn't adjust for their different power current a day before a major show, frying it in the process. The funniest story happened to Horace Luke who did most of the design work. While going door to door to gather information from the public about what they wanted in consumer electronics, he came across this: