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This book is about the development of communication technology. Woolley follows the development from the telegraph, telephone, radio, radar, television to the internet. The author used the history of two men and a company to tell the story. One man is David Sarnoff (1891-1971), the media mogul responsible for “Radio Corporation of American” (RCA). The other man is Edwin Armstrong (1890-1954) a prolific inventor. Among his many inventions was the amplifier to enable telegraph signal reception from greater distances and FM radio. This book opens with the dramatic scene of Armstrong’s suicide. Armstrong claimed that Sarnoff betrayed him.
Both these men were visionaries. Sarnoff led the charge on radio broadcasting, color television and articulating a vision of the internet. Both men were obstructed by corporate interest and government agencies that stifled innovation. Sarnoff was excellent at encouraging scientist and determining what technology will change mankind but terrible at business management particularly of NBC which RCA owned. He foresaw the popularity of color TV but had no interest in the programs on the TV.
The book is well written and by focusing on these two men Woolley avoided getting bogged down in excessive detail on technology. The plot driven narrative illuminates the genesis of innovation and is highly readable. Woolley reveals the classic struggle of the visionaries against the established interest. Stephen Hoye does a good job narrating the book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
well written and reseached. this book is essential reading for anyone in the ICT space.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful