Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America

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9780385420754: Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America

The Washington Post called this book "impressive" and "meticulously researched," with "much of the drama and suspense of a novel." The New York Times and USA Today found it "definitive." The Seattle Times said Gates "should be required reading for any new hire in the personal computer industry." Since its publication, Gates has been cited and used as a source by dozens of books and articles.

Bill Gates is an American icon, the ultimate revenge of the nerd. The youngest self-made billionaire in history was for many years the most powerful person in the computer industry. His tantrums, his odd rocking tic, and his lavish philanthropy have become the stuff of legend. Gates is the one book that truly illuminates the early years of the man and his company.

In high school he organized computer enterprises for profit. At Harvard he co-wrote Microsoft BASIC, the first commercial personal computer software, then dropped out and made it a global standard. At 25, he offered IBM a program he did not yet own--a program called DOS that would become the essential operating system for more than 100 million personal computers and the foundation of the Gates empire. As Microsoft's dominance extended around the globe, Bill Gates became idolized, hated, and feared.

In this riveting independent biography, veteran computer journalists Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews draw on a dozen sessions with Gates himself and nearly a thousand hours of interviews with his friends, family, employees, and competitors to debunk the myths and paint the definitive picture of the real Bill Gates, "bugs" and all.

Here is the shy but fearless competitor with the guts and brass to try anything once--on a computer, at a negotiation, or on water skis. Here is the cocky 23-year-old who calmly spurned an enormous buyout offer from Ross Perot. Here is the supersalesman who motivated his Smart Guys, fought bitter battles with giant IBM, and locked horns with Apple's Steve Jobs--and usually won.

Here, too, is the workaholic pessimist who presided over Microsoft's meteoric rise while most other personal computer pioneers fell by the wayside. Gates extended his vision of software to art, entertainment, education, and even biotechnology, and made good on much of his promise to put his software "on every desk and in every home."

Gates is a bracing, comprehensive portrait of the microcomputer industry, one of its leading companies, and the man who helped create a world where software is everything.

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From the Author:

More praise for Gates!

"A real gem ... The book takes us behind the scenes as Gates uses the power of deftly worded contracts to quickly squeeze out rivals and even finagle his partner.... Manes and Andrews provide insights."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"We should thank our lucky stars for authors Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews. These journalists and personal computer experts have given us a rare and exacting look at America's richest man--who just happens to head the world's largest software company."
--Rocky Mountain News

"Rich with anecdotes and details that are so painstakingly documented it's hard to imagine a more thorough job ... should be required reading for any new hire in the personal computer industry, especially those who want to understand what has made Microsoft the dominant power it is. Ultimately, Gates is a thorough history of a business that has changed the way we work and play."
--Seattle Times

"A remarkable story of a complex and highly talented individual made all the more interesting because of the close links between Gates's career and the evolution of the computer."
--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Manes and Andrews have produced a valuable primer on the computer industry, its cast of strange characters and its even stranger array of corporate cultures...."
--Chicago Tribune

"From now on, this estimable effort will be mandatory reading for whoever writes about Gates.... In documenting the rise of Gates, Manes and Andrews provide a valuable history of the computer and software industries that grew up with him."
--New York Post

"The book methodically separates the real from the apocryphal. Future writers will thank Manes and Andrews for their reporting ... the bio of record."
--Seattle Weekly

"The book not only is the story of a man of vision, but it also is about the explosive growth of a new industry--software--in which he was something of a pioneer. And it paints the most complete picture yet of Gates, who has remained something of an enigmatic figure despite spending a lot of his time in the public eye."
--Arizona Republic

"Gates is a comprehensive account of the early years of personal computing, a crazy time ... a high-tech story told in the language of the streets ... an informative look at a generalissimo of the information revolution."
--Financial Times of Canada

"Scrupulous, balanced, and thoroughly engaging ... a tour-guided voyage through historic events behind the transformation of an information industry and age."
--Toronto Star

"Manes and Andrews combine authoritative discussions of technology with a clear and entertaining prose style.... Most interesting is the glimpse of the turbulent 20-year history of the computer industry."
--Publishers Weekly

"An illuminating, unsentimental biography ... a like-it-is portrait of an archetypal nerd who built a world-class business empire ... An exhaustive report on an aging whiz-kid whose consequential life story is far from over."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Refreshing ... Rich with detail, this book is thorough and not always laudatory of Gates."
--Library Journal

"Two veteran reporters take off the rose-colored glasses to show the young tycoon at his best ... and worst.... This warts-and-all portrait of a businessman as a celebrity reveals Gates' temper, childishness, and disregard for employees, as well as his brilliance and work acumen."
--Booklist

"An impressively detailed chronicle ... Independent and scrupulously documented ... the authors do an outstanding job."
--PC Magazine

"Definitive ... The intertwined history of the man and the industry is fascinating ... engrossing ... What a story!"
--IEEE Software

"A fascinating, detailed, warts-and-all account of the accumulation of America's largest private fortune by, arguably, the single most important person in computer history."
--Windows Magazine

"A rich and wonderfully captivating account of the birth of an industry that changed the world ... The book captures those early years of computing so well that you can almost feel the excitement and power.... Manes and Andrews should also be applauded for presenting technical information about the emerging technologies of the time that should neither intimidate nor insult the reader."
--Computer Shopper

"The ultimate Bill Gates book ... dismisses old myths and adds new seasoning to the Gates legend, as fact is separated from fiction with extraordinary detail. This history book tells a story that is as fascinating as the American dream."
--CompuServe Magazine

"Manes and Andrews have written not just a biography, but a history of the microcomputer industry ... that is at once entertaining and. informative. Whether you work with business or computers, or are simply curious for details on how the wealthiest man in America made it to the top, Gates should be at the top of your reading list."
--OS/2 Professional

"... the best-researched and most-detailed history of desktop computing ever written. It's ostensibly about Billion-Dollar Bill, but Microsoft's history starts with the Altair in 1975 and touches literally every aspect of desktop computing to happen since then.... Gates is an interesting guy, one you have to admire without necessarily wanting to play bridge with him.... He is quintessentially American, and I doubt a better portrait of him will be painted than this one..."
--PC Techniques

"Bill Gates has become a symbol of many things, from good old American inventiveness to weird, secretive power-wielding. Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews have put the complicated pieces together in a revealing and nicely droll way. Anyone interested in how computers have remade the world, anyone curious about how Bill Gates has made his fortune, anyone who loves--or hates--Microsoft's Windows will enjoy this impressive book."
--James Fallows, columnist, The Atlantic

"A real knockout! Gates is so clear and exciting that anyone can enjoy it, yet so crammed with detail that computer fanatics will have their eyes opened about how their business--and Bill Gates--really work. Manes and Andrews know their stuff: They've laid the myths to rest, they've provided amazing new revelations, and they've written the first serious book about the computer industry that you simply can't put down."
--Paul Somerson, editor, PC/Computing and MacUser

"Part history, part biography, part computing, Gates tells how a man turned a byte into a dollar, a language into an obsession, and a program into a bestseller. Here's the complete story of the man who built a universe from his keyboard and an empire from his software."
--Clifford Stoll, author of The Cuckoo's Egg

"Scrupulously researched, overflowing with detail, and just plain fun, Gates is must reading for anyone interested in an accurate history of Microsoft, and learning what's gone right--and what's gone wrong--in the personal computer industry."
--Charles Petzold, author of Programming Windows

About the Author:

Stephen Manes covered the computer industry for more than 25 years as a columnist and contributing editor for The New York Times, Forbes, PC World, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and PC Sources. He was a co-creator and co-host of public television's weekly series "Digital Duo." Paul Andrews reported on technology for the Seattle Times, where he covered Microsoft and wrote a weekly column on computers.

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