Summer Reading for the IT Crowd

Posted by Alexa Rivetti, UCB student intern, UCOP. For universities on the semester system, school starts in just a few days. For those on the quarter system, there’s weeks left. Either way, now is the time to pick up a good book and get on your summer reading.

The UCB summer reading list includes recommendations from students, faculty, and IT staff like Giulia Hill, programmer analyst at the UC Berkeley Library. Hill’s review for The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson, stands out because of UC’s commitment to fostering innovation amongst IT professionals.

Hopefully, we all get a little time to sit down with a good book this summer. If you need some inspiration here is Giulia’s review:

“Before Page, Brin, Jobs, and Gates there were many others whose innovations helped to make email a commonplace form of communication. The Innovators take the reader on a 150+ year journey through new computational concepts and ways to apply them through physical devices, a success in which where nobody can really claim center stage because it’s a collective contribution that has made it all possible.

Having been a CS student at Cal in the early 90s, it was fun and a nostalgia trigger to read about Mosaic and the time when Linux was just at its beginning rather than the base of Android or the  platform of choice for many business enterprises. The book is fairly detailed about the early times: a nice feature since the reader is most likely familiar with the more contemporary developments and probably not acquainted with the first-steps contributions. The role of interaction between the players and how their personalities and circumstances affected the outcomes – or lack of them – is another interesting facet for a field where often only the mechanics are outlined, and one more way to point out how collaboration among many people was the necessary glue for these innovations. A bit surprising is the comparatively large space given to Gates compared to the skimpy chapter on Jobs, but that could be due to Walter Isaacson not wanting to repeat what he had already extensively presented in his previous book about Apple’s founder.

A fast read written in clear, direct language, accessible to non-IT/CS readers, but still interesting and engaging for the ones who are.”

Looking for more summer reading recommendations? Check out the full UC Berkeley summer reading list.

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