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Biographies about people in tech you should read to get inspired!

Published Sat Nov 27 2021

Tags: books

Sometimes I enjoy reading a biography about a person I find interesting. There is a lot of inspiration to be had from getting insight into the life of high achievers and visionaries. To me there is also the factor of hearing about the early days of computing with the big mainframes, PDP-10 machines, teletypes, visions of what computers would do in the future, and so on. Seeing where we come from can lead us to new ideas about the future. It is also fun trying to see some patterns in the lives of the people the biographies are about. Some commonalities are always learning new things, do new things to get new impulses, passion for what you do, and going outside the norm. NONE of the people in this article worked a standard 9-5 job for the entirety if their lives (some of them never did), and lived in very different way than the regular person does. Controlling your own destiny and starting your own businesses is probably something many of us dream of doing.

NB! This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, you can get a free trial for Audible Plus. You will get a free audiobook, and a month for free (including the Premium library!). If you are not pleased with it, you can always cancel. I LOVE audible, and have to admit that I have listened to 2 out of the 3 books on this list as audiobooks (yes, on Audible). It is awesome! Especially on the days where my eyes are too tired to open a book or my Kindle. If you have a friend or family member you would like to gift a membership to, that is possible as well :) (Christmas/Holidays is approaching as I write this!)

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk is an interesting person in many ways. Not only is he now the richest man in the world, but also goes into new things with strong passion. He has been programming from a young age, and is continuously learning new things. In the biography, we follow his early years, his adventures with PayPal, and off course SpaceX and Tesla. We also hear from his closest relatives, ex-wives and more. After reading this book, you will get a unique insight into his non-conforming views and different way of thinking (and his different way of doing things!).

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs is a very colorful character. His unique management style was a topic of debate, and he lived his life in a way that got him insights few others get. From his travels to India to meet a guru, his unique thoughts on hygiene (it is said he stopped showering for a while), to his unique ways of seeing things. He was a visionary who saw possibilities where few others did, ranging from the uses of personal computers to computer graphics at Pixar. His unique vision made many products possible: the Macintosh, NeXT Computers, the iPhone and more. While there are a few negative sides, like his relationship with his daughter (who he claimed was not his for many years), it is part of the experience of reading about his life. He was bold and lived life with his passion and vision, and that is something we can all take inspiration from!

Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft by Paul Allen (autobiography)

Paul Allen is probably most notably known as the cofounder of Microsoft, where he made unique contributions to the early history of personal computers. That is probably, at least to me, the most interesting thing to read about in this book. His early visions for computers, seeing the opportunities in early processors, and making the BASIC implementation for the Altair 8800 machine. A little depressing to read about the ownership situation of Microsoft and how that came to be, but Allen did not let that ruin his life in any way. I also got to know that Paul Allen and I had other things in common, like the many different interests and passions we have. During his life he produced a music album (where he wrote songs and played guitar), took an active investor role in many projects, owned sports clubs (football and basketball), started education projects, scientific endeavors like mapping the brain, traveling the world, philanthropy, and more. In my view he had a rich life in experiences, learning new things and getting new impulses! I got a new appreciation for him after reading this book as I dream of doing many of the same things (like releasing an album!). It is very sad to think about him struggling so much with cancer and dying young (65 is too young!)… Still, I hope you might get as much joy out of reading about the amazing things he did in his life as I did.

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