I knew of Dan Bricklin first and foremost as the creator of Visicalc. This book introduced me to the thoughtful and wise Dan Bricklin who applies his careful observations of human nature to the history and development of a range of personal technology tools.
These insights are shared through stories, such as one in which he experiences the impulse to use his cell phone to reach out to share an emotional moment with his sister during a visit to his father’s nursing home. The stories not only make this an interesting read, but hammer home his observations in a very clear way (I especially liked the chapter “What Will People Pay For?” among others).
Bricklin takes great care in organizing contemporaneous information on the developments he talks about, including his own blog posts, and weaves in comments from today’s perspective. He uses typeface and margin changes to further organize this information.
While this book has obvious appeal for entrepreneurs, engineers and investors, Bricklin’s use of stories to explain his thinking make this an interesting read for anyone interested in personal technology. (I just sent a copy to my brother, who is as a Presbyterian Minister, but who has always been interested in both computers and personal technology.)
Bricklin’s insightful observations “set my brain ‘a whirring,” and left me with a strong sense of how he lives his own definition of the engineer (the cooperative problem solver, wanting to share all he has learned to make our newest technology tools all the better).