Silicon Valley might be home to countless photo-sharing apps and on-demand services for pretty much anything, but it also has a rich history few of these apps’ users and customers of these services know about.
Patrick Collison, cofounder and chief executive of payments company Stripe, has collected a nice list of books and articles about the history of Silicon Valley and computing. We caught it after he tweeted it out earlier today, and it indeed contains some gems.
With Silicon Valley becoming more and more the subject of mainstream entertainment and pop culture, a dose of history and proper understanding of it should almost be mandatory. Collison’s list is a great starting point:
- The Dream Machine — probably the best overall book about the early days of computing and the internet.
- Heat Death: Venture Capital in the 1980s — a brief history of the venture capital industry since 1973.
- Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech — the definitive history of Genentech.
- The Whole Earth Catalog — the library at PARC was first composed simply of the books that the Whole Earth Catalog recommended. Steve Jobs cites it as inspiration for Apple. It’s still possible to find original copies.
- Dealers of Lightning — the best history of PARC.
- The Idea Factory — sets the context for the hardware inventions that directly led to Silicon Valley.
- Computer Lib — one of the greatest books about the possibilities of computers ever written.
- Man-Computer Symbiosis — established the vision of computing that inspired Engelbart, Kay, etc., to pursue what they did.
- The Chip — the invention of the microchip.
- Something Ventured — a lighthearted of the venture capital industry.
- The Little Kingdom — the early days of Apple Computer and the Macintosh.
- From Counterculture to Cyberculture — Stewart Brand and his surrounding milieu. Better than What the Dormouse Said.
- Season of the Witch — a cultural history of San Francisco from the late 60s to the early 80s.
- Making Silicon Valley — there aren’t many books that say a lot about the Valley pre-Shockley; this one goes back to the 30s.
- The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce — the origins and cultural context of Fairchild and Intel.
- Revolution in The Valley — a hundred stories from the early days of the Mac, collected by one of its creators.
- Swimming Across — Andy Grove’s memoir.
And if you need more, check out the list of the top 25 technology books of all time we compiled a couple of years ago.