The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

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Penguin, Mar 15, 2012 - Business & Economics - 432 pages
35 Reviews
The definitive history of America's greatest incubator of technological innovation
 
In this first full portrait of the legendary Bell Labs, journalist Jon Gertner takes readers behind one of the greatest collaborations between business and science in history. Officially the research and development wing of AT&T, Bell Labs made seminal breakthroughs from the 1920s to the 1980s in everything from lasers to cellular elephony, becoming arguably the best laboratory for new ideas in the world. Gertner's riveting narrative traces the intersections between science, business, and society that allowed a cadre of eccentric geniuses to lay the foundations of the information age, offering lessons in management and innovation that are as vital today as they were a generation ago.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tlockney - LibraryThing

There's a lot of interesting history here, but not a lot of depth. Most of all, I feel a bit like Gertner is a bit too focused on the positive side of the Bell Labs phenomenon, but steps lightly ... Read full review

Review: The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

User Review  - Aaron Adamson - Goodreads

I really loved this book. I'm an avid reader and science enthusiast, but somehow I had never really gotten familiar with a lot of the big names and contributions of Bell Labs. This is a story that ... Read full review

All 4 reviews »

Contents

Introduction WICKED PROBLEMS
One OIL DROPS
Two WEST TO EAST
Three SYSTEM
Four
Five SOLID STATE
Six HOUSE OF MAGIC
Seven THE INFORMATIONIST
Twelve AN INSTIGATOR
Thirteen ON CRAWFORD HILL
Fourteen FUTURES REAL AND IMAGINED
Fifteen MISTAKES
Sixteen COMPETITION
Seventeen APART
Eighteen AFTERLIVES
Nineteen INHERITANCE

Eight MAN AND MACHINE
Nine FORMULA
Ten SILICON
Eleven EMPIRE
Acknowledgments
Selected Bibliography
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Jon Gertner grew up in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, just a few hundred yards away from Bell Labs. He has been a writer for the New York Times Magazine since 2004 and is an editor at Fast Company magazine. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

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