The best books about personal computers 📚

Browse the best books on personal computers as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

By Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith

Why this book?

I feel like it would be crazy to not read a book by a cofounder when you want to learn about the history of a company. Steve Wozniak’s autobiography chiefly focuses on his early life and his years at Apple. The writing style is very basic—with a quite simple sentence structure throughout. Perhaps that’s because this book was positioned to be attractive to both children and adults. But this is the only book written by one of Apple’s cofounders and iWoz has a very positive, inspirational message.

From the list:

The best books to learn about Steve Jobs and the history of Apple Inc.

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Book cover of A People's History of Computing in the United States

A People's History of Computing in the United States

By Joy Lisi Rankin

Why this book?

A thorough look at the origins of personal computing and connections between computer users beginning in the 1960s that highlights the BASIC programming language and The Oregon Trail game. Shines a light on the role that universities and the education system played in fostering networks between users.

From the list:

The best books on the origins of the tech industry

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Book cover of Original Whole Earth Catalog

Original Whole Earth Catalog

By Stewart Brand, Peter Warshall

Why this book?

The Whole Earth Catalog has been inspiring people (including us) to build their own small dwellings since the 60s. Among other things, it’s a how-to manual of construction techniques and a life guide with readers’ recommendations and opinions. Brand coined the term ‘personal computer’ and signed off the final edition of The Whole Earth Catalog in 1974 with “Stay hungry, stay foolish” (famously quoted by Steve Jobs in a commencement speech at Stanford over 30 years later).
From the list:

The best books to inspire and build your own cabin or nature home

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Book cover of Dealers of Lightning: Xerox Parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age

Dealers of Lightning: Xerox Parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age

By Michael A. Hiltzik

Why this book?

The software interface for Apple’s innovative Macintosh was largely (and legally) modeled on system software designed at the Palo Alto < California research center of Xerox, an East Coast photocopy company whose stodgy executives failed to realize the value of the coding breakthroughs they had funded and nurtured in the heart of northern California’s computer cauldron. Before anyone at the top of Xerox realized the enormity of their errors, the company had licensed to Steve Jobs and Apple key software technologies that animated the Macintosh revolution in the 1980s. Hiltzik’s richly detailed and readable history, based on scores of interviews,…

From the list:

The best books on the human dimension of writing computer code

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