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Apple Computer Reading List
Books covering the history of Apple Computer, Inc.

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Books Published in the 1980s
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Woz: Prodigal Son of Silicon Valley
cover of Woz: Prodigal Son

by Doug Garr

1984; Avon; ISBN: 0380884844; 160 pages

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All about Steve Wozniak, from the garage days of Apple to his US Festival involvement. This short paperback book began as a profile in Omni magazine. The cover photo shows Steve sporting a pair of custom Apple sunglasses. I saw a pair of these go on eBay in 1999--supposedly only 12 were made!

The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer
cover of Little Kingdom

by Michael Moritz

1984; William Morrow and Co.; ISBN: 0688039731; 336 pages

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Good early history of the company and its founders. Mixed in with the story are 'real-time' summaries of meetings leading up to the Macintosh release. Updated and re-released in 2009 as Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple.

Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer

cover of Fire in the Valley (original)

cover of Fire in the Valley (2nd ed.)

by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine

1984; Osborne/McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0881341215; 288 pages
2nd Edition: December, 1999; IDG Books Worldwide; ISBN 0071358951; 384 pages

Amazon reviews | Other reviews: 1 2 | Author's page | New edition site | Search for a used copy

This is one of my favorite books. It covers the garage history of Apple and other early personal computers. One of the authors, Mike Swaine, worked for an early computer store in Indiana called The Data Domain (owned by Ray Borrill). The TNT movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley, released on June 20, 1999, used the book as its primary source.

An updated edition was released in December, 1999 from IDG Books Worldwide/McGraw-Hill. The hardcover "Collector's" edition contains a cdrom with photos and short audio segments of the original interviews used for the book.

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

cover of Hackers (1994)

cover of Hackers (1984)

by Steven Levy

1984; Delta Books; ISBN: 0385312105; 455 pages

Amazon reviews | Reviews: 1 2 | 25-year Retrospective | Author's page | Chapters I & II | Search for used copy

Another one of my favorites. Covers the Homebrew Computer Club and the pre-Apple days of Woz and others. I think it captures some of the energy and excitement for those of us who want a feel for what the birth of the PC was all about.

From Amazon: "Steven Levy's classic book explains why the misuse of the word 'hackers' to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model railroad club--a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and computer innovators--from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. These eccentric characters used the term 'hack' to describe a clever way of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, 'hack' moved over with them. These maverick characters were often fanatics who did not always restrict themselves to the letter of the law and who devoted themselves to what became known as 'The Hacker Ethic'. The book traces the history of hackers, from finagling access to clunky computer-card-punching machines to uncovering the inner secrets of what would become the Internet. This story of brilliant, eccentric, flawed, and often funny people devoted to their dream of a better world will appeal to a wide audience."

Silicon Valley Fever: Growth of High-Technology Culture
cover of Silicon Valley Fever

by Everett M. Rogers & Judith K. Larsen

1984; Basic Books; ISBN: 0465078214; 302 pages

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Chapter 1 is entitled The Apple Story.

Digital Deli: The comprehensive user-lovable menu of computer lore, culture, lifestyles and fancy
cover of Digital Deli

by The Lunch Group & Guests; edited by Steve Ditlea

1984; Workman Publishing; ISBN: 0894805916; 382 pages

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A fascinating compendium of computer history and lore. Articles on Apple history include:

  • An Apple for the Captain by Stephen Wozniak (about Captain Crunch)
  • Silicon Valley Garages by Scott Mace
  • Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be by Stephen Wozniak
  • Cottage Computer Programming by Paul Lutus (Paul's story of how he developed the word processor, Apple Writer, while living in a remote mountain cabin in Oregon)
  • Apple Culture and Totems
  • The Computer Entrepreneurs: Who's Making it Big and How in America's Upstart Industry
    cover of Computer Entrepreneurs

    by Robert Levering, Michael Katz & Milton Moskowitz

    1984; New American Library; ISBN: 0453004776; 481 pages

    Amazon reviews | My review | Full Online Version of Book | Search for a used copy

    Steve Jobs gets an eight-page treatment as one of 65 people covered in this book.  

    Programmers At Work

    cover of Programmers At Work

    cover of Programmers At Work

    by Susan Lammers

    1986; Microsoft Press; ISBN: 0914845713; 385 pages

    Amazon reviews | Author's book site | Search for a used copy

    A series of interviews with 19 programmers, two of which directly pertain to Apple history. The first is Jef Raskin, who initiated the Macintosh Project. This 18-page interview discusses Jef's role in creating Macintosh, his thoughts on Steve Job's takeover of the project, and Jef's work after he left Apple. The second 14-page interview is with Andy Hertzfeld, the primary developer of the Macintosh operating system. He discusses how he came to work at Apple, some thoughts on how it was to work there during 1979-1981, and of course, the Mac OS

    Susan has been posting the interviews online.

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