The Idea Factory

Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

By Jon Gertner
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143122791, 432pp.)

Publication Date: February 26, 2013

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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Description

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.




About the Author

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.




Praise For The Idea Factory

“Filled with colorful characters and inspiring lessons . . . The Idea Factory explores one of the most critical issues of our time: What causes innovation?”
-Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review

“Riveting . . . Mr. Gertner’s portraits of Kelly and the cadre of talented scientists who worked at Bell Labs are animated by a journalistic ability to make their discoveries and inventions utterly comprehensible—indeed, thrilling—to the lay reader. And they showcase, too, his novelistic sense of character and intuitive understanding of the odd ways in which clashing or compatible personalities can combine to foster intensely creative collaborations.”


-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} “One of the best innovation-focused books I've read: It's a wide-ranging, detailed, and deeply fascinating look at the New Jersey lab which has been churning out useful discoveries since the early 1900s.”
-The Boston Globe

“Fascinating history . . . the research behind The Idea Factory is astonishing.”
-Slate Book Review

“Compelling . . . Gertner's book offers fascinating evidence for those seeking to understand how a society should best invest its research resources.”
-The Wall Street Journal

“An expansive new history . . . does an impressive job of illuminating many of Bell Labs’ key technological triumphs.”
-Wired.com

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