This work looks at the business of computing in the US, as computer science, as a business, and as a collection of extraordinary and eccentric characters. After automobiles, energy production, and illegal drugs, personal computers are one of the largest manufacturing industries in the world, and one of the great success stories for American business. This book is linked to a Channel 4 television series entitled "The Triumph of the Nerds".
Robert X. Cringely manages to capture the contradictions and everyday insanity of computer industry empire building, while at the same time chipping away sardonically at the PR campaigns that have built up some very common businesspeople into the household gods of geekdom. Despite some chuckles at the expense of all things nerdy, white, and male in the computer industry, Cringely somehow manages to balance the humor with a genuine appreciation of both the technical and strategic accomplishments of these industry luminaries. Whether you're a hard-boiled Silicon Valley marketing exec fishing for an IPO or just a plain old reader with an interest in business history and anecdotal storytelling, there's something to enjoy here.
Stephen McLeod (United Kingdom) (2008/03/21): This was a set book for the Open University course 'You, Your Computer and the Net'. It is written in a gossipy style.