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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of how a handful of geeks and mavericks dragged the computer out of corporate back rooms and laboratories and into our living rooms and offices. It is a tale not only of extraordinary innovation and vision but also of cunning business deals, boardroom tantrums and acrimonious lawsuits.

Here you will find some of the most intelligent and eccentric people you could hope to meet, including wide-eyed hippies, subversive students, computer nerds, entrepreneurs, hackers, crackers and financial backers. Some lost out and some became millionaires, but all played a part in transforming our world.

©2014 Matt Nicholson (P)2015 Matt Nicholson

Critic Reviews

"I have read numerous books on the history of personal computing and rate this one highly." (Tim Anderson, ITWriting)
"I enjoyed this book; it has obviously been extremely well researched, and is well written and takes a coherent route through the history." (Kay Ewbank, I Programmer)
"Matt Nicholson ... was in a position to observe all this first-hand." (Wendy M Grossman, ZDNet)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book, Terrible Narrator

The book is well-worth reading; however, the narrator lacks style, intonation, and, overall, performs worse than Alexa or Google Assistant. Don't waste your money/credits. Buy the book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fairly interesting book... slow/droning narrator

I don't know what came first, but this book is almost identical to the content (interview quotations and all) of the documentary series "Rise of the Nerds."

If you don't have time, I'd save your money and just watch that 3 part series. It has actual clips of the figures portrayed in the book like Moore, Gates, the creator of VisiCalc and the Homebrew organizer guy who all are much more interesting to listen to than this book's narrator (who's about as dry as a popcorn fart, and not as fast).

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good Book, Horrible Narrator.

The book was great. I learned a lot. however I could only listen to a chapter at a time because the narrator was so monotoned. the narrator caused me to get bored. I felt as if I was in a college class that I was forced to take.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good material, distracting performance

Narrator had an over-fussy pronunciation style that I found distracting, and didn't appear to be following the meaning of what he was reading, resulting in odd word emphases and distracting pauses. very slow delivery too, though listening on 125% speed helped with that.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fun trip down the halls of PC history.

What made the experience of listening to When Computing Got Personal the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the stories of the early frontier days of the Personal Computer market.

What did you like best about this story?

Good coverage of the early and middle PC era.

What about Norman Gilligan’s performance did you like?

It was soothing to listen to, though some of the pronunciation of computer terms was incorrect.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I wouldn't say it was a particularly moving story, but an interesting one.

Any additional comments?

A fantastic listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fond memories.

A very good retelling of the creation of the personal computer. Some of the stories differed from other versions I've heard, but that's to be expected.

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  • J. Mc
  • 10-16-15

great

I find the book very comprehensive, it covered all of the different computers I've ever owned from the 80s till modern day. enjoyed listening to it. highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vernon
  • 06-02-16

I really found the story interesting

it's always tough to get the facts right from audio books, so I'll have to lien to it a few more times. but i really enjoyed it. fit done things there was a bit of a walk down memory lane.

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  • Ash
  • 05-14-16

Such a great book, brings back memories.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s and was in a position to use and play with a lot of PC and Mac hardware so this brings back lots of memories. Great book, great read and not at all dry which you might expect from the subject matter.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S DHARM-DATTA
  • 07-23-16

Great short history of the PC and Mac

Fantastic summary of the "personal" computer from the DEC minis, Apple I, II and Mac, IBM PC and clones, Speccy and Acorn/BBC. Rightly ends with the rise of the smartphone and tablets.
Basically Gates and Jobs/Wozniak decisions back in the 70s and on going into the 80s defined the products we use today.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful