Steven Levy’s classic book seems to cover the early phase of well known personalities of the computer industry as it evolved thoroughly inspired from Tech Model Railroad Club in MIT. Some of the more world-wide recognizable characters include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Stallman, and Ken Williams.
Without doubt the dialogues in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution remind us of the dreamy days of our own college campus life. The major preoccupation for students in that phase is to work furiously on the favorite subjects, enjoy with friends and live a generally care-free life. In the case of characters in this book, that favorite subject is computers and hacking.
We all seem to carry a little of our experiences similar to those mentioned in this book, from our boyhood days in college right into old age. The fresh exuberance and devil-may-care attitude is maintained by very few of our classmates through their lives. As is frequently the case in life’s journey, the ones who take a different path make all the major differences.
The major example of that phenomenon mentioned in this book is the startup and then corporatisation of gaming company Sierra On-line by Ken Williams.
Similar to most of our individual experiences, as years pass some of the brilliance of the batch-mates find their rightful place while some unexpectedly wither away. In the midst of all the life’s journey however, there is the recognition of talented friends, collaboration, new learnings, and sometimes good money, too. This is the very raw nerve that comes out throughout this book.
To summarize, a very visible and touching collection of facts and experiences connect to each ‘techie’ sometime in their individual lives. Without doubt Hackers is the one classic non-technical book recommended for techies. While trying to jot down the journey of hackers, Steven seems to have very naturally charted the historical course of the computer revolution.