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The Word Warehouse

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The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation - Jon Gertner Back in the day when AT&T was a monopoly and no one had heard of Silicon Valley there was a company where scientists thought up all kinds of neat-o ideas. That was Bell Labs, funded by the megabucks raked in due to a lack of competition and where inventions like the transistor, laser and semiconductor were created.We learn about the people who worked there including the eccentrics who seem to prevail in a high IQ environment. The author goes into enough detail on the scientific side without getting boring yet gives enough information to keep those who really liked science class in high school happy.It was amazing to me that executives at Bell Labs were able to correctly predict a need for certain technologies some 20 or 30 years into the future, like wireless telephones. In a case where a necessary part didn’t exist, a group would start working on developing it.There’s very little here on computers or programming because as part of an anti-trust agreement with the government the company agreed not to get involved in this area.If you are into science this is definitely a book you’ll enjoy but even if you are only marginally interested in learning about some of the technology we take for granted today I would recommend it.