Tech companies are some of the biggest, most exciting companies in the world.
But unless you work at one of those companies, it’s hard to get a good grasp of their inner workings.
These 13 books will give you a better understanding of how some of today’s most powerful tech companies got started and developed into global powerhouses. Whether you’re looking to get a job at one of these tech titans or just intersted in the stories behind their rise to glory, these are the tech industry must-reads:
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
Title: 'In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives'
Author: Steven Levy
Amazon Rating: 4.3/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers.'
Top positive review: 'One of my favourite writers, Steven Levy of Wired, gained what may be unprecedented access to the employees and upper management of Google in order explore the history, the work environment key management decisions of one of the most innovative and culturally-influential companies of all time...Levy's telling of the Google story is based on access no other author had and, as a result, it is the best story about Google written to date.'
Title: 'Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works'
Author: Adam Lashinsky
Amazon Rating: 4.0/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'INSIDE APPLE reveals the secret systems, tactics and leadership strategies that allowed Steve Jobs and his company to churn out hit after hit and inspire a cult-like following for its products.'
Top positive review: 'After reading this book, I still would love to work for Apple; and I'd hate it too. What an exquisite company! Most revealing to me is that while employees who are entrepreneurs 'typically don't stick around for more than a couple of years,' the company still manages to thrive in an oddly entrepreneurial way. At the same time, these entrepreneurs had 'rich, productive experiences at Apple, where there ... was room for only one...'
Title: 'The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World'
Author: David Kirkpatrick
Amazon Rating: 4.3/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook's key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives. Kirkpatrick tells us how Facebook was created, why it has flourished, and where it is going next. He chronicles its successes and missteps, and gives readers the most complete assessment anywhere of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company's remarkable ascent.'
Top positive review: 'Remarkably detailed history of a unique company. Kirkpatrick, a scrupulous journalist, who was encouraged to write the book by Facebook's controversial founder, gives a detailed play-by-play of how Facebook amassed half a billion users. He provides a fascinating history of how the company was built, and manages to touch upon most of the controversies surrounding it.'
Title: 'The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon'
Author: Brad Stone
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, and his book is the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. The Everything Store is the book that the business world can't stop talking about, the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.'
Top positive review: 'I was at Amazon for the first 5 years of its existence, so I also have firsthand experience of those times at the company, and I have been a fairly close observer since I left. By and large I found Mr. Stone's treatment of that which I know firsthand to be accurate -- at least as accurate as it is possible to be at this great a remove, and with no contemporaneous documentation of the early chaotic days or access to certain of the principals.'
Title: 'Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire'
Author: James Wallace, Jim Erickson
Amazon Rating: 4.7/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'From Gates's singular accomplishments to his equally extraordinary brattiness, arrogance, and hostility (the atmosphere is so intense at Microsoft that stressed-out programmers have been known to ease the tension of their eighty-hour workweeks by exploding homemade bombs), this is a uniquely revealing glimpse of the person who has emerged as the undisputed king of a notoriously brutal industry.'
Top positive review: 'The analysis of Gates' psychology, the corporate culture of Microsoft and its evolution, and the various spasms of its early years are all right on the money, and particularly interesting in light of the current DOJ proceedings...It also paints an irresistable picture of the IBM that once was certain it could tell us all how we would use computers.
Title: 'Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!'
Author: Nicholas Carlson
Amazon Rating: 4.3/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'In author Nicholas Carlson's capable hands, this riveting book captures Mayer's rise and Yahoo's missteps as a dramatic illustration of what it takes to grab the brass ring in Silicon Valley. And it reveals whether it is possible for a big lumbering tech company to stay relevant in today's rapidly changing business landscape.'
Top positive review: 'Carlson nails it. Don't be fooled by the title. This book is only marginally about Marissa Mayer. It's the authoritative book ever written about Yahoo. Starting with the history of Yahoo, Carlson explains to the reader the origins of the famous internet brand that almost - but never made it to be the most dominant company the in world. The reader is treated to a thrilling backstory with perfect context. Regardless of your knowledge level about Yahoo, Carlson engages you the entire time.'
Disclaimer: Carlson is the editor-in-chief of Insider, which is owned by Business Insider.
Title: 'Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal'
Author: Nick Bilton
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Despite all the coverage of Twitter's rise, Nick Bilton of The New York Times is the first journalist to tell the full story -- a gripping drama of betrayed friendships and highstakes power struggles.'
Top positive review: 'The story is very well told. It's a captivating read. It's very surreal to read about your friends and former co-workers in a book like this. Most of us live our lives only ourselves. Having this book is kind of like having a well researched MTV Rock Documentary about our work, friendships, and time in our lives. I think if you interview enough people, look at what happened in any situation, it's easy to put a spin and story on things. None of us know the details of everybody else's life.'
Title: 'Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionised an Industry'
Author: Marc Benioff
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'How did salesforce.com grow from a start up in a rented apartment into the world's fastest growing software company in less than a decade? For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change.'
Top positive review: 'This is a fun to read book chock-full of no-holds-barred advice on everything a growth company faces. In short easy to read chapters, Benioff writes instructively about everything from fostering an innovative product development and marketing machine, to driving explosive sales in existent and new/emerging markets, to focusing on customers while simultaneously inspiring a culture of employee hyper-success.'
Title: 'Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs'
Author: Gina Keating
Amazon Rating: 4.4/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Drawing on extensive interviews and her years covering Netflix as a reporter, Keating makes this tale as absorbing as it is important.'
Top positive review: 'Netflixed is the mostly never before told story of Netflix's unflappable belief in its business model and Blockbuster's highly leveraged ineptitude that allowed Netflix to execute and topple a titan. It's an incredible story, succinctly well-told by Gina Keating.'
Title: 'Inside Intel: Andrew Grove and the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Chip Company'
Author: Tim Jackson
Amazon Rating: 4.1/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Top business journalist Tim Jackson offers the gripping story of Intel, a company that rose to dominance through technological innovation, and maintained its leadership against competitors through aggressive marketing, tough business tactics, and liberal use of legal firepower.'
Top positive review: 'As a former Intel employee, I feel that Tim Jackson got an in-depth understanding of the dual face that Intel has...It is amazing that Mr. Jackson had never been an Intel employee himself - as his book gives a fair and accurate description of what it is like inside Intel - with the good and the bad parts.'
Title: 'Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future'
Author: Ashlee Vance
Amazon Rating: 4.6/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur's journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterise a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.'
Top positive review: 'I loved the insight into Musk and how he operates, and you get a very broad and complete picture of Musk as a driven visionary that is absolutely set on delivering some of the most aspirational goals of any human in history. You also get some great insight into the overall ecosystem around Musk - his companies (SpaceX and Tesla primarily), relationships with other companies and gov entities, as well as the important people around him.'
Title: 'Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle'
Author: Matthew Symonds
Amazon Rating: 3.9/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'In Softwar, journalist Matthew Symonds gives readers exclusive and intimate insight into both Oracle and the man who made it and runs it. As well as relating the story of Oracle's often bumpy path to industry dominance, Symonds deals with the private side of Ellison's life. With unlimited insider access granted by Ellison himself, Symonds captures the intensity and, some would say, the recklessness that have made Ellison a legend.'
Top positive review: 'If you want a book that puts Oracle in a good light while displaying its bad side at times and to hear mostly about Oracle with a brief biography of Ellison and how he commands the world's second largest software company, read it! PS I loved it.'
Title: 'The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company'
Author: David Packard
Amazon Rating: 4.1/5
Book Description (via Amazon): 'Much more personal than standard corporate histories, David Packard's The HP Way provides insights into managing and motivating people and inspiration for would -- be entrepreneurs.'
Top positive review: 'What made this book stand out for me was the fact that in learning about the HP history, you also found out what Hewlett and Packard both did to make their company one where employees would actually enjoy working at.'