Dealers of Lightning:

Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age


by Michael Hiltzik

HarperCollins Publishers, 1999


This is the definitive book on the early history of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and the tremendous contributions to modern computing technology that were made there. More than that, it presents for the first time in-depth stories of the innovators themselves, and the great adventure that was PARC. I highly recommend it to you. (Note that the book is now available in paperback).




As an alum of Xerox PARC, it's wonderful to read the exciting inside story of all the personalities and their accomplishments, and reflect back on those amazing days. This book is in great contrast to past reporting about PARC that focussed only on why "it failed" ( i.e., on the fact that Xerox didn't really capitalize on the results). Mike Hiltzik captured it all, and got it right!

Lynn Conway

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

P. S. One of the chapters in the book is about the Mead and Conway innovations in VLSI design methodology made at PARC and Caltech. If you're interested in seeing more details about that work, see "The MPC Adventures", by Lynn Conway. See also Lynn's VLSI Archive, which contains many of the original documents from the work. > VLSI > "Dealers of Lightning"