Found in 18 comments on Hacker News
vvanders · 2021-08-14 · Original thread
Showstopper![1] covers Windows NT in a similar vein and Dealers of Lightning[2] is another good read that goes into some if the really interesting history of Xerox PARC.



vvanders · 2020-11-11 · Original thread
I kinda feel like Dealers of Lightning should be required reading at this point[1], both for the breadth of invention and how they squandered it.


pmulv · 2018-06-01 · Original thread
I'm currently in the process of reading "Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age,"[0] and I highly recommend it. I've always viewed Xerox as primarily an office printer company, and the fact that they innovated/invented many of the systems that we still use today (ethernet, layered windows on an operating system, the mouse, bitmap displays) and then failed to market these technologies, makes for a really interesting read.

[0] -

doomlaser · 2018-05-15 · Original thread
I'm a huge fan of the biography Jean Renoir (the acclaimed film director) wrote about his father, Auguste Renoir (the acclaimed Impressionist painter), Renoir, My Father -

For a gripping tale of technology and hacking, The Cuckoo's Egg never fails:

And, as someone reminded me in the thread about Xerox and Fujifilm, Dealers of Lightning tells the story of Xerox PARC, the Alto, Steve Jobs' visit, etc:

Aloha · 2017-12-03 · Original thread
The book "Dealers of Lightning" deals with this, and many things about Xerox PARC, its a great read.

bpicolo · 2017-11-12 · Original thread
tyingq · 2017-10-28 · Original thread
More detail on changing the system while running, and a comment at the bottom from Alan Kay retelling this same story:

"Dealers of Lightning" also a has a chapter on Job's visit: Try the "look inside" for "Steve Jobs Gets His Show and Tell".

maxharris · 2017-06-17 · Original thread
Ever hear of the laser printer, local networking and the GUI?
Aloha · 2017-06-14 · Original thread
If you dont know who Chuck Thacker is (and why his contribution is important) - read Dealers of Lightning (
kar1181 · 2017-04-15 · Original thread
Taylor had an immense impact both direct and indirect on the nature of computing as we know it today, it's a little sad he's not better known.

Dealers of Lightning does a great job detailing his role in it all - that along with soul of a new machine really capture the spirit of that 60s/70s generation of computing.

striking · 2015-10-21 · Original thread
For the question "What are some of the best books to learn from that you recommend for a young startup founder?", I decided to transcribe the answers.


"Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" -

"Republic" - (classic, feel free to grab a PDF)

"The Principia : Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" - (classic, feel free to grab a PDF)

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" -

"Molecular Biology of the Cell" - (different edition, forgive me; free through NCBI, thanks jkimmel!)

"Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age" -

"The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer" - (note: "that one's particularly good")

"Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories" -

"The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership" -

"The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time" -

"The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison" -

"The Art Of War for Lovers" - (fixed! sorry about that...)

"Hold 'em Poker: For Advanced Players" -

"Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets" -

"The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition" -

"Winning" -

I wish he had answered in text. That would have made things easier :) However, I'm still very happy to have some new additions to my reading list!

zem · 2015-03-22 · Original thread
i highly recommend michael hiltzik's "dealers of lightning" []. it's one of the two best history of computing books i've read (tied with katie hafner's "where wizards stay up late")
Aloha · 2015-01-31 · Original thread
I recommend anyone interested in PARC read "Dealers of Lightening" by Michael Hiltzk.[1]

It's been argued that the profits from the laser printer paid for the money spent on PARC a 100 fold. I'd agree with that. That said, I don't think Xerox could have been the new IBM/Microsoft/Apple combined - simply because their sales force was.. addicted? to the per imprint commission model, and it would be a huge change to go to a different model for them. So while PARC could have invented it, and they could have possibly gotten it into production, I don't think their existing sales and support force understood enough on how to sell and service it.

arethuza · 2014-03-24 · Original thread
"Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age" is pretty good:

da02 · 2011-12-09 · Original thread
The Unheavenly City by Edward Banfield: PDF:


His time preference classes explains so much of people regardless of race, religion, nationality, etc.

Rise of the Fourth Reich:

This is where I learned about Konrad Zuse creating a digital computer and programming language miles away from Bletchley Park in the early 40s.

Dealers of Lightning:

It's about XEROX PARC. Unfortunately, they did not talk about how PARC made the OS and apps obsolete by using objects communicating over a network. I had to learn about that from an Alan Kay video. It did show how PARC contributed to the Internet by creating an internet before ARPANET.

Last and best of all:

The latest report, "Steps Toward Expressive Programming Systems", describes a computer system without an OS. They seem to be refining what PARC did back in the late 1970s.

sreitshamer · 2010-10-18 · Original thread
If anyone wants to learn more, there's a fantastic book about Xerox PARC called "Dealers of Lightning" by Michael Hiltzik.

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