We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age | [Michael Hiltzik]

Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age

The riveting story of the legendary Xerox PARC, a collection of eccentric young inventors brought together by Xerox Corporation at a facility in Palo Alto, California, during the mind-blowing intellectual ferment of the '70s and '80s.
Regular Price:$17.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Dealers of Lightning is the riveting story of the legendary Xerox PARC - a collection of eccentric young inventors brought together by Xerox Corporation at a facility in Palo Alto, California, during the mind-blowing intellectual ferment of the '70s and '80s. Here for the first time is revealed in piercing detail the true story of the extraordinary group that aimed to bring about a technological dawn that would change the world - and succeeded.

Based on extensive interviews with scientists, engineers, administrators, and corporate executives who lived the story, Dealers of Lightning takes the listener on a journey from PARC's beginnings in a dusty, abandoned building at the edge of the Stanford University campus to its triumph as a hothouse of ideas that spawned not only the first personal computer, but the windows-style graphical user interface, the laser printer, much of the indispensable technology of the Internet, and a great deal more. It shows how and why Xerox, despite its willingness to grant PARC unlimited funding and the responsibility for developing breakthroughs to keep the corporation on the cutting edge of office technology, remained forever unable to grasp (and, consequently, exploit) the innovations that PARC delivered, and details the increasing frustration of the original PARC scientists, many of whom would go on to build their fortunes upon the very ideas Xerox so rashly discarded.

(P) and ©1999 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., All Rights Reserved, Harper Audio, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"...for any student of business or technology, Dealers of Lightning offers a gem of a story that has never before been so well told." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (124 )
5 star
 (46)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.3 (36 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.8 (36 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Colin hounslow, N/A, United Kingdom 03-25-03
    Colin hounslow, N/A, United Kingdom 03-25-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "the jurassic age of computing"

    xerox parc was the fertile crescent of modern computing gadgetry. everything we use today seems to have roots going back to that time and that place. this is an enthralling book for students of technology. well worth a look!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-24-03 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Enlightening and Entertaining"

    The book's clear and fluid narrative accounts the rise and fall of Xerox PARC in a way which seems to touch on every major segment of hi-tech from VLSI circuits and Intel to Ethernet and 3COM. I was surprised to learn that even more had been invented, tinkered with and implemented at PARC than I could ever have imagined- with very little of it becoming a comercial product. This was a fascinating tale and is perfect for any person in high tech, printing or technical sales.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ken Acworth, GA, United States 04-13-10
    ken Acworth, GA, United States 04-13-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting read."

    I thought the book was very insightful. What a tragedy of how Xerox dropped the ball. To think of what the personel computer means today, and to know it's a derivitive of what was invented at Xerox.

    Good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie New York, NY, United States 06-12-10
    Maggie New York, NY, United States 06-12-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Skip this"

    Maybe the printed version is better. Although the history of PARC is fascinating, the book was poorly written -- or the abridgment was mangled. It was tedious and disorganized. The narrator was terrible -- like somebody from one of those True Time TV shows with the cheesy reenactments. The production values were very low -- I could record a better-sounding narration in my living room with a simple digital recorder.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James S Good 09-10-09 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Interesting but a bit tedious"

    This book provides a great history lesson in technology, however, its main focus is on the individuals that developed the technology, not the technology itself. It can be pretty tedious to listen to, but there is some good suff in there if you can hang in there.

    It is absolutely amazing how many modern technologies spawned from the developments made by the visionaries at PARC such as the computer mouse, the GUI interface, ethernet, the laser printer, etc. Its even more amazing that Xerox capitalized on virtualy none of these inventions.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I had a unique interest in this book due to the fact that have been a Xerox employee for over a decade, and have actualy had the opportunity to visit PARC (long after its inovative heyday of course).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David M. Ross Lombard, IL USA 11-13-08
    David M. Ross Lombard, IL USA 11-13-08 Listener Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    "A much-needed spotlight on innovative research"

    Most books on the history of the PC give Xerox PARC just a passing mention. It was PARC's work the inspired the Apple Lisa, and later Macintosh and Microsoft's Windows operating system. But, PARC recruited the top talents in computer science, and gave them the freedom to reinvent the computer.

    So much of the modern personal computer sprang directly from the work done at PARC. The graphical user interface, ethernet, and the laser printer were all developed there. Doug Engelbart refined his "mouse" device while at PARC.

    This book covers PARC's history from its founding through the 1980s. It describes the politics and, yes, the budgets behind the research conducted there. Key players, like Alan Kay, are profiled. And there's even a tiny bit of technobabble for people who are into that sort of thing.

    Which brings me to Forrest Sawyer's reading. It was a pleasure listening to him for six hours. As an experienced newsman, his delivery was polished and precise. At one point, the book breaks into a description of how Ethernet works, and what differs it from other networking schemes, and Sawyer sails through it like it was a story about two old friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Plano, TX, USA 08-09-07
    Anthony Plano, TX, USA 08-09-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    225
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "interesting history"

    The first hour was a little tedious unless you are interested in hearing about a bunch of guys and the size of their budgets. Once it got in to the technical details of the work being done at PARC it got really good. Note that "iWoz" is a much better listen but I still give this book 4 stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.