The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

Reviewed on , book by Jon Gertner

What a wonderful account of the most important industrial labs in history: far-ranging telephone networks, transistors, amplifiers, information theory, error-correcting codes, satellites, C, Unix, fiber optic cables, and many more inventions that completely shaped the 20th and 21st century. It has almost everything: scientific depth, vivid accounts of the peculiar characters, and how the culture became such a stronghold for innovation. The only thing that felt was missing was a better account on Bell Labs’ demise, as well as what happened when ideas were integrated into the greater AT&T.