- 5% Instant Discount with HDFC Credit and Debit EMI Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
- Get 10% cashback up to Rs.50 using BHIM UPI or Rupay ATM cards, debit cards or credit cards. Cashback will be credited as Amazon Pay balance within 15 days. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
- Get 50% cashback up to Rs.100 on your first ever online payment on Amazon.in. Applicable only on ATM card, debit card or credit card orders. Cashback will be credited as Amazon Pay balance within 15 days. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age (MacSci) Hardcover – 13 Jun 2006
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
"A popularized, clearly written history of computing...beautifully captures the hectic, creative air at the Moore School as young engineers labored under John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert to construct ENIAC..."--The Wall Street Journal
"A fine book, full of interesting angles and lively stuff...Shurkin has the same lively facility for writing clearly about computers that Robert Heilbroner has for writing about economics...Shurkin writes a crisp newspaperly style, has a good eye for color and has created a fine book."--Boston Globe
"Offers a glimpse of science at both its finest and most mundane...clearly and vivaciously written."--ALA Booklist
Praise for Terman's Kids:
"While Shurkin views his subject in a sympathetic light, he makes no apologies for Terman's flaws as a scientist and a human being...his Midwestern biases, sexism, his moral humbuggery."--Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The biography contains three parts, which map to three somewhat distinct areas of his life. The first part is his childhood years all the way till his college graduation. It describes the not so warm family in which he grew up in.
The second part could be called "the rise of Shockley" and describes how he becomes one of the most respected physicists. Because of that position, he had an important role in the war effort and did research related to detection of submarines. This effort in the war also led him to deteriorate his family life and the relationship with his children. After the war effort, Shockley continued to work for Bell Labs where he claimed fame for the invention of the transistor. Whether he actually did is left for interpretation, he certainly did contribute to it. Eventually he also finds the woman of his life, which unfortunately leads Shockley to leave his wife and family. This moment was probably the top of his life when he also started Shockley semiconductors (the start of silicon valley)
The third part should then be called "the fall of Shockley." The ideas he has about managing companies didn't really work well in practice and in his company there is a rebellion which eventually leads to most people leaving (and starting Fairchild semiconductors). Eventually he gives up, but did get a new interest in genes and racial differences. This becomes an obsession to him and he uses every moment to convince people of his theories of genes and race and why this is so important. As it was (is!) a sensitive topic, his contributions weren't welcomed and he gradually lost most friends and fame. This caused more suspicion on his side leading to more control and he ends up in a vicious circle for the rest of his life focusing on his obsession of eugenics.
The book was well-written and easy to read. I read through it reasonably fast and enjoyed it a lot. It is quite amazing how a smart person such as Shockley can ruin his own life without noticing it. I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes biographies or has interest in the history of technology (though a large part of the book doesn't relate to that). 4 out of 5 stars.
I had a real hard time getting through the last 1/3 of the book. Mostly due to the eugenics he later took up. William Shockley apparently enjoyed the media limelight and this contributed to his need to speak about the touchy subject that bordered on racism. If you are interested in the science, life, and accomplishments of Shockley then read the first 2/3's of the book; you could leave the last 1/3 by the way and avoid the complications of trying to get through it all. I would recommend this book but only first 2/3's. I'd provide a warning on the last 1/3.
The author did a commendable job in writing, researching, and setting objectivity throughout the biography of William Shockley.
For those who know a bit more about the history of Silicon Valley technology, William Shockley is known as the founder of the Valley's first semiconductor company. Shockley recruited and assembled the seminal team that was the progenitor of every other semiconductor company in Silicon Valley. His instincts for talent-spotting were phenomenal, but they were matched by a massive lack of judgment about how to build products customers would buy and a complete lack of the insights necessary to motivate and manage an entrepreneurial company.
Joel Shurkin does a good job in telling the story of not just Schokley Semiconductor, but the interesting life surrounding it all- the rise and fall - of William Schockley. A great read.