The Soul of a New Machine - Summary and Key Ideas

The book The Soul of a New Machine (1981) is about a group of computer engineers who set out to build a new computer in just one year, pushing themselves to the brink of exhaustion and beyond. Tracy Kidder's gripping narrative takes us behind the scenes of the high-stakes world of computer engineering, where brilliance, ambition, and obsession collide.

This book is a perfect read for individuals that are interested in the world of technology and are fascinated by the inner workings of computer systems. It is especially appealing to those who enjoy reading about the challenges faced by a group of dedicated engineers as they work towards creating the next big thing in the computer industry.

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The Soul of a New Machine

Key ideas


The team creates a new computer against all odds.


The team is led by a charismatic and visionary engineer.

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The team faces numerous challenges and setbacks during development.

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The team works tirelessly and sacrifices their personal lives for the project.

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The team's success is celebrated, but also brings about new challenges.

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- The project highlights the competitive and fast-paced nature of the computer industry.

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The project emphasizes the importance of teamwork and dedication in innovation.

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Summary & Review

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder is a captivating account of the development of a new computer system in the late 1970s. It is a story about the people behind the machine, their passion, their struggles, and their triumphs. The book offers valuable insights into the world of technology and the human spirit that drives innovation. Here are ten actions that we can take to implement the learnings from the book into our own lives.

Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder is an American author and journalist born in 1945. He is known for his immersive, narrative non-fiction writing style, which often delves into the lives of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Kidder has won numerous awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He is also a professor and lecturer at various universities, and has been honored with multiple honorary degrees.

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