Where Wizards Stay Up Late

The Origins of the Internet
Narrated by: Mark Douglas Nelson
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (532 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-five years ago, it didn't exist. Today, 20 million people worldwide are surfing the Net. Where Wizards Stay Up Late is the exciting story of the pioneers responsible for creating the most talked about, most influential, and most far-reaching communications breakthrough since the invention of the telephone.

In the 1960s, when computers where regarded as mere giant calculators, J.C.R. Licklider at MIT saw them as the ultimate communications devices. With Defense Department funds, he and a band of visionary computer whizzes began work on a nationwide, interlocking network of computers. Taking listeners behind the scenes, Where Wizards Stay Up Late captures the hard work, genius, and happy accidents of their daring, stunningly successful venture.

©1996 Katie Hafner (P)2012 Katie Hafner

What listeners say about Where Wizards Stay Up Late

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely fascinating and we'll researched

Not only a gripping read, but beautifully researched, and organized. Having lived through most of the advances covered in this book, I still learned a lot. I don't see this often enough where the authors covered the why of each advance and the missteps, rather than simply reporting the technical milestones. I've listened to this book three times so far.

9 people found this helpful

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Hardcore, old school, geek

Get your geek on with this deep look at the origins of what is now the Internet. If you what to examine networking history, is a great audiobook. Loved it!

3 people found this helpful

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Requred reading, shouldn't be read by MDN

Would you consider the audio edition of Where Wizards Stay Up Late to be better than the print version?

Not with this narrator

What did you like best about this story?

The history of one of the most important technologies of the last 60 years

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He has a monotone voice and almost no vocal range. It's like listening to my accountant uncle read a book I really want to read for myself.

3 people found this helpful

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Love From a Techie

This book will appeal to technically versed people who are interested not only in the history of the internet but also in the inner-workings of networks and how the various protocols of the internet (TCP, TCP/IP, FTP, SMTP, etc) came into existence.

6 people found this helpful

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Good luck

I work in the computer field and I stuggled with this book. It's like a long memo.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 12-29-16

exceptional !!

If you like history and technology, this is an awesome book. I want more like this.

1 person found this helpful

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excellent

a great telling of the history of the Internet and the background of packet switching, TCP/IP, telnet, ftp, and the fantastic vision that created a world changing technology.

1 person found this helpful

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Internet Online

If you ever wanted to learn about the founding fathers of the internet and where there ideas actually came from this is as good as it gets. The authors also do a remarkable job of explaining the technical details in a way very easy for layman like myself to understand. Nelson's narration is overall great too. Recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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Soundtrack to a coma.

Compared to a few other computer-history books I've bought recently, Especially Hackers by Steven Levy, and When Computing Got Personal by Matthew Nicholson, this book reads like an extended Wikipedia page. Extraordinarily lifeless and flat.

3 people found this helpful

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long but interesting

I enjoyed it overall and I found it very interesting. probably could have been a little shorter though.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wickman
  • 04-29-20

Reads like a long wikipedia article

I suppose that it's not bad if you've never heard of the ARPANET, have little knowledge of early protocols for networking, but as someone who had to study some of the early protocols in high school I found it a bit tedious and boring. The narration is a bit meandering, introducing characters and telling us the life stories for some but not for other participants in this story, and more often than not going on a tangent that seems to go nowhere or has little to do with the story of ARPANET.
I suggest reading the wikipedia article on the ARPANET to be honest, and maybe reading the bios of the people involved.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-13-19

Great book

Your in for a treat, this book is well written and well narrated. Fully enjoyed.

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  • pgs.
  • 05-22-19

An American history of the Arpanet

A good retelling of the history of arpanet. But not much discussion of the later transfer into the internet and the impact of non US involvement.

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  • Vernon
  • 05-28-16

interesting

Knowing about the origins of computing and the internet is something that hasn't been made that we'll known, even to people with an interest in technology.

I found the story fascinating, and often listened to bits of the story a couple times just to get the facts right.

Loved it!

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  • Ash
  • 05-25-16

Absolutely fascinating.

The book mixes social, personal and technical aspects of the early days of computer networking - the people and the personalities behind it all really shine out. Whilst the subject is matter is technical the book should be accessible to non technical readers as it doesn't go too heavily into the technical aspects, a basic understanding of networking would help you get more out of the book though.

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  • Fishamatician
  • 02-17-15

Fantastic

A great look at how it all got started, it's hard to believe how basic the Internet was in its earlier years.

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  • Kate
  • 07-11-14

Interesting and informative

What did you like most about Where Wizards Stay Up Late?

The depth of the information.

What did you like best about this story?

The long and interesting history of packet switching and the origins of today's Internet.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended for anyone wanting an in-depth and very detailed history of the origins of modern communication technology (e.g. packet switching) from which the Internet came to be. However, if you just want a light history of the Internet, this is probably a bit too detailed.

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  • MEW
  • 11-12-19

Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant

I needed to listen to this to understand a huge gab in my knowledge of computing. Would recommend this to all who need to understand the nuts and bolts of initial computing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-19

Great insight into the beginnings of the internet.

Well researched and written history of the net. I especially liked hearing of all the different people involved and each of their contributions.

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  • Robert Postill
  • 02-25-18

the kind of book well suited to the medium

A sound and likeable description of the early days of networking computers. It does lack the innate tension of books like Soul of a New Machine. But that's just the reality of the story.