Our world today - from the phone in your pocket to the car that you drive, the allure of social media to the strategy of the Pentagon - has been shaped irrevocably by the technology of silicon transistors. Year after year, for half a century, these tiny switches have enabled ever-more startling capabilities. Their incredible proliferation has altered the course of human history as dramatically as any political or social revolution. At the heart of it all has been one quiet Californian: Gordon Moore.
At Fairchild Semiconductor, his seminal Silicon Valley startup, Moore - a young chemist turned electronics entrepreneur - had the defining insight: silicon transistors, and microchips made of them, could make electronics profoundly cheap and immensely powerful. Microchips could double in power, then redouble again in clockwork fashion. History has borne out this insight, which we now call "Moore's Law", and Moore himself, having recognized it, worked endlessly to realize his vision. With Moore's technological leadership at Fairchild and then at his second start-up, the Intel Corporation, the law has held for 50 years. The result is profound: from the days of enormous, clunky computers of limited capability to our new era, in which computers are placed everywhere from inside of our bodies to the surface of Mars. Moore led nothing short of a revolution.
In Moore's Law, Arnold Thackray, David C. Brock, and Rachel Jones give the authoritative account of Gordon Moore's life and his role in the development both of Silicon Valley and the transformative technologies developed there. Told by a team of writers with unparalleled access to Moore, his family, and his contemporaries, this is the human story of man and a career that have had almost superhuman effects. The history of 20th-century technology is littered with overblown "revolutions". Moore's Law is essential listening for anyone seeking to learn what a real revolution looks like.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2015 Arnold Thackray, David Brock, Rachel Jones (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC
As the audio book concludes, the life of Gordon Moore has been something of an era. We have gotten used to the exponential growth of microprocessor power, and it has been the invisible driver of the digital revolution. Though the improvements may soon be slowing down, just as Moore himself is. How great to know this history.
I tried to explain the appeal of this book to my friends. They started checking their watches, and we had a laugh about my boring nerdy listening habits. Hey, it's not going to be the book for everyone. Moore isn't exactly a swashbuckling Jobs character, though part of the appeal of his character lies in the contrast of his quiet, methodical conservatism to the tech characters we're more likely to hear about.
But if the topic grabs you, I think the book does it justice.
More than the typical history of tech, This book delves deeply into the family history of Gordon Moore. While very thorough, the bents of the plural authors come through as a bit uneven. Technology buffs must be patient as the text often suddenly shifts from technology minutiae to family drama to history writ large. But it's worth the wait.
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