Friday, August 13, 2010

The Man Behind the Microchip

I just learned that Leslie Berlin, Stanford historian of technology and business, had a hand in designing the display I admired when I visited Grinnell ten days ago. Leslie is the author of The Man Behind the Microchip, a biography of my father. She's a great interviewer with broad interests and a fair-minded approach, and when I read it, I learned a lot about my father's business and scientific accomplishments that I had never known.

For anyone interested in learning more about the dawn of Silicon Valley and the spirit behind the electronics revolution--the optimism of the period after World War II when America was stepping into its role as the pre-eminent engine of innovation in the world--this is still a great read. It's well-researched and well-written, and it does justice to its subject, which is saying a lot.

The book had its painful aspects, too, for me as a reader. The story of the breakup of my parents' marriage, while handled lightly, made me put the book away for several weeks before I could read all the way through it. I think that just attests to the quality of the biography. It was very real to me, and it rang true.

So hats off to a great biographer, Leslie Berlin, and I highly recommend reading The Man Behind the Microchip.

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