Leslie Berlin is a master historian of Silicon Valley, and the publication of this book is a landmark event. Kaleidoscopic, ambitious, and brilliant, the book draws on a dazzling cast of characters to chart the rise of the five industries that have come to define technology today and, collectively, to remake the world.
—Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc.
Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs liked to hang out with an older generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs because, he claimed, “you can’t really understand what is going on now unless you understand what came before.” For the rest of us, Leslie Berlin’s sweeping new history of the Valley is the next best thing. … essential reading… the book does a masterful job explaining profound discoveries like recombinant DNA and microprocessors, while also keeping up a brisk narrative that’s aided by off-color accounts of naked hot tub meetings and pot-addled programmers.
[A] deeply researched and dramatic narrative of Silicon Valley’s early years….meticulously told stories permit the reader to gain a nuanced understanding of the emergence of the broader technology ecosystem that has enabled Silicon Valley to thrive…compelling history.
—New York Times
Stress, sleep loss and operatic emotion … a fetching portrait of the less chronicled years of Silicon Valley.
—Michael Moritz, Wall Street Journal
This kaleidoscopic history alternates among seven “troublemakers”—entrepreneurs, investors, and managers who helped drive the tech revolution. … Berlin sketches their lives in vivid detail, showing the vital contributions of these “audacious” leaders.
[Berlin’s] charge is to deliver the narrative, a task that she does with great style and storytelling skill. She relies on a trove of unpublished primary sources, including interviews, that few would be able to synthesize so deftly. … There is much to learn from Berlin’s account, particularly that Silicon Valley has long provided the backdrop where technology, elite education, institutional capital, and entrepreneurship collide with incredible force.
—Christian Science Monitor
Engrossing … . “Troublemakers” offers a corrective to the regnant great man theory of technological progress of which the virtuosic Mr. Jobs is exhibit A. In narrating these innovations, Berlin shows the village that brought them forth.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Leslie Berlin has done it again. Following on her richly informative biography of Intel co- founder Robert Noyce, The Man Behind the Microchip, Berlin now brings us a definitive account of Silicon Valley’s “breakthrough years” in the 1970s. As entertaining as it is authoritative, Troublemakers is required reading for anyone seeking to understand how the tech revolution took root in the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually transformed the entire planet’s way of life.”
—David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Leslie Berlin combines the keen observations of an historian with gorgeous writing and riveting storytelling to write the landmark book on the Valley. The interwoven lives of wonderfully iconoclastic characters bring the formative years of the Valley to life with sheer brilliance. Troublemakers is a must-read for anyone hoping to understand America’s tech capital.
—Julia Flynn Siler, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Mondavi
In this vigorous account, [Silicon Valley’s] first days were the hardest—and, all in all, involved the most interesting players.