Read this book if you want to understand the motivations of inventors, engineers, and scientists

Did Nikola Tesla dream of wireless power because of it Thinking in front of a giant file His brain scrambled? What led Einstein to imagine riding a beam of light? The spark of intuition is an exciting idea, but it is a woefully incomplete understanding of the achievements of researchers and inventors. What conditions drive their success? What mentality should he adopt? How does the grand creative process, beyond the stroke of elusive genius, work?

Soul of a new machine It provides a rare level of insight into these questions. very much like The structure of scientific revolutions, the reader who has lived in the world he describes recognizes at once the truth in his notes. While Tracy Kidder The story follows a group of computer engineers, and can also describe the work of several groups of research scientists, technical innovators, and other pioneers. While indicating that golden moment For a new idea, the book’s forte lives within a long struggle of invention, discovering its nature empirically.

The book’s first note is a ritual Signature. Almost everyone who chased the dream of producing the latest research or technology has faced this reality (or took the blue pill and quit). Kidder gives a precise definition: “By participating in the project, you agree to do whatever is necessary to succeed. You have agreed to give up, if necessary, family, hobbies, and friends—if you have any left (and you probably wouldn’t if you had signed up). Many times before).” Throughout the story, several people face a moment of deciding: Are they going to sign up and give up their lives (or move away, and live in a community in Vermont)?

This concept defines not only the personal lives of these (mostly) men, but the spirit behind their work. Even after you sign up, you won’t be forced to neglect your outside life. You can do this willingly because you accepted the deal in order to get something new done at any cost. You feel internally compelled to work in a windowless basement, far away on your nights and weekends. This concept is alien to the 9-5 worker who comes out early on Friday. It is also usually the price required to succeed, or to attempt to achieve it, in the competitive and difficult effort of giving birth to something new, beyond the horizon of what is known. 9-5 workers rarely hit people who have signed up.

Those who register do not receive additional wages; They don’t do it for the money. Upon closer examination, they seem to be driven Where is the work. When (if) they succeed in a very difficult project, they get a chance to be part of the next intense effort to build something completely new. They have to stay on the edge of the abyss. The book describes this with the (rather old) metaphor of having a chance to play Pinball: As long as you win, you can keep playing.

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This game is clearly for young people. Most of the team managers are in their early thirties. The men who signed up for the event are in their twenties. They want to have a great opportunity to do something new, rather than doing a 9-5 rote job that bores them. They all want to stay in the pinball controls. However, after the all-consuming battle is over, most of the older men move on to other business.

The intelligent director is the extraordinary hero of the story. He protects his men, manipulates them, and avoids them. As a result, the team believes that the heart of the machine is created solely from their own ideas and intelligence. It is only shaped by their labor and their suffering. Our protagonist never takes the side of the team: he appears as one of the many obstacles lined up in front of them. The team must fight against competitors around the world and within their own company. Work is important and unsupported in some way. Managers describe this sarcastically Mushroom management: “Keep them in the dark, feed them, and watch them grow.” Yet it is just a crusade, a motive as old as time.

The revelations about the clever boss give the story a nice, thoughtful conclusion. He silently supports the team in ways they’ve never seen. This gives him a sense of being a genius, a picture the book seeks to paint. However, what is part of their visionary success and what part is they jumping into blindness and catching some breaks? What part does talent thrive under excellent leadership, and what part works after exhaustion and The distorted truth? In some places there is a great deal of directed instinct and intelligence behind the difficulty and chaos. In other cases there may just be chaos.

Soul of a new machine Incorporates these ideas into a compelling story that is fun for people. Kidder mixes work with humorous language and technical background, but it’s secondary. The bigger point is the suspense of the faltering project and the stories of sympathetic engineers, who struggle to produce something from nothing on a funny timeline. Read it to understand and visit the real conditions that embrace breakthroughs in engineering, science, and invention.