Get Your Free Audiobook

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

25th Anniversary Edition
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 20 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

Non-member price: $43.87

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers - those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as "the hacker ethic" that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today's digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.

©2010 O'Reilly Media (P)2015 Audiobooks.com Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It's a must

Where does Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

If you are anything like me, a computer enthusiast that started out with a Commodore 64 at the age of 13, and had the privilege tp spend most of my working life experiencing the continues evolvement of computers, this is a must.

Any additional comments?

If you have any interest in the history of computers, I absolutely recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for tony9277
  • tony9277
  • 18-12-2015

Brilliant work reflecting on a great passion!

Most of the men described in this book have pioneered the computer to what it is today. It's about the code, the framework and the over the top devotion to an idea that has become an enormous tool we walk around with in our pockets everyday. Awesome!!! T

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dan Collins
  • Dan Collins
  • 01-07-2016

Remember Why You Got Into Computing

I am in IT. Before reading this book I never considered myself a "hacker". Before reading this book I would have never considered myself in context and in league with the pantheon of computer legend like the MIT AI team and Woz. This book made me feel young again. It helped me shed a little of the jadedness that had begun creeping into my psyche.

Read this book and return with me to a time when pushing that power button meant it was time to explore potential and discover cool new possibilities that you were sure you were the first to find.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David S. Mathew
  • David S. Mathew
  • 14-02-2017

The Digital Wild West

Steven Levy's history of the early evolution of computers and those that pioneered the science, the titular Hackers, is still one of the most complete and authoritative resources on the subject. This book was a very difficult read at times, but I'm extraordinary glad I stuck with it. Also, if you're an old school computer game fan, Levy's history of Sierra and Ken and Roberta Williams might be worth it alone.

That said, I would only recommend this to someone already somewhat versed in computer history. If you're a newbie in this field, "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" by Katie Hafner has a much lower barrier of entry and is actually referenced several times in here. However, if the ARPANET is already old news to you and you're eager to start learning about Lee Felsenstein you couldn't ask for a better deal than this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pete
  • Pete
  • 07-02-2016

It's a classic

A must read for anyone interested in the history of the software industry. The "hacker ethic" theme feels outdated now, but the stories are captivating.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William
  • William
  • 24-02-2016

amazing look at early computer pioneers

if you love vintage computer stories this book is required reading. from MIT to Sierra Online, it's a tour de force look at an entire new realm of human accomplishment

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mean square
  • mean square
  • 16-07-2016

Good to the end

Read this several years ago and was as fascinated today. Excellent story, wonderful history and a real feeling of amazement if the early days of computers. Reminds me of days and nights working on comp-sci projects, deadlines and the joy of discovering something new or finally understanding something from class. Listen to this book and have fun.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Zachary
  • Zachary
  • 04-04-2016

Hackers was Astoundingly Informative

First of all this is a book that is not for a person seeking a fictitious storyline that has perfect characters within. No, this is a book for someone who is looking for a read that has imperfect characters to match this imperfect world. As far as I know, this is a factual recreation of men and the turmoils they faced in 1950s to the 1980s.

The world looked down on these men and their magical machines, yet they pushed on bravely. None were without fault but that is human nature.

If you are looking for a great insight into the minds of the early hackers, and what hackers really were before the name was changed by the media then get this book. Also the book gives a listener just a dab at how computers came into mainstream through the lives of many young intellects.

Steven Levy did a superb job at writing this and was as complete in his writing as a subject like this allows.

Mike Chamberlain lends his incredible voice into this book that gives it the energy that I have come to expect from him.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Clark
  • David Clark
  • 25-02-2016

One of my all time favorite books

This book will inspire you with the hacker spirit. I must have read it eight times already and look forward to the next time.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea
  • Chelsea
  • 04-04-2016

must read for anyone that has an interest in tech

well researched and well written, the narrator voice is a bit commanding, but you'll get used to it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tucker McClure
  • Tucker McClure
  • 28-06-2017

Stunningly bad writing

Has Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is a fantastic contribution in this space, though it focuses more on the hardware.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mike Chamberlain?

Someone who knows that the emphasis does not always belong on the last noun phrase of the sentence.

Any additional comments?

Below are two quotes from this book. I checked the written text to make sure that these were not themselves quotes, but were in fact the author's own words.

"... it would rush through in an exhilarating rush."

"...[the Fibonacci sequence], a numerical trait established early on by some random math hacker."

Surely we're not calling Leonardo of Pisa ("Fibonacci"), the medieval mathematician about whom fairly little is known, a "random math hacker" are we? Incorrect and otherwise cringe-worthy snippets like this abound.

Though it doesn't cover exactly the same material, please read the Isaacson book instead.

Alternately, go read the jargon file. :)

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 26-06-2016

A brilliant story of computer history

Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of modern computing. whilst it felt slow to start, it soon picks up and provides a great insight into the lives of those responsible for technology today

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Martin & Nina
  • Martin & Nina
  • 17-03-2016

Enjoyable and inspiring

I really enjoyed this, brought a smile to my face at times but also found it quiet sad that many of these men have not been recognised for their contributions unlike Steve Jobs for example. Being a programmer myself I found this very inspirational and found myself wanting to code after a marathon session listening to it.

I do however feel that it would have been nice have at least mentioned the British hackers that made many things possible for these US counterparts.

On the whole, a GREAT listen!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ash
  • Ash
  • 21-05-2016

Good but a little meandering...

I know it's held up as a classic and it certainly captures the spirit of the time but at times it feels over long and I wish the author had gotten to the point a bit more (in other cases a story ends just as it's getting good).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for K
  • K
  • 28-09-2019

A brilliant insight into the history of computing.

This book is a must read for computer engineers, developers and geeks. Anyone interested in computing this is a must read!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 31-07-2019

Boring.

This is the weirdest book I’ve ever had. Just don’t bother. Weird voice reading it and no real structure to the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Neil Stoker
  • Neil Stoker
  • 29-07-2019

A good audiobook, give it time to get going

I thought I'd struggle with the keywords narrator's style and accent but his delivery grew on me fairly quickly.
The content is, by its nature, somewhat old now, and it was written much nearer the time of the events, so it's only through the final update in the last chapters that it gets a more modern slant but this wasn't a concern to me. The focus seemed to shift a little much to the gaming industry later, but to an extent that's reflecting the environment and the times.
It feels like a book I'll go back to after a bit of a break - at the start, some of the names flew by without feeling like I'd build much understanding and connection, but as it went on this improved.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Annabelle
  • Annabelle
  • 18-10-2018

A catalog?

I couldn’t listen to this for more than 30 minutes. The reading is awful and it is like listening to a catalog of names from the IT industry. There is no real story telling about the people just listing names and their functions. Walter Isaacson’s book The Innovators was a far nicer choice on a similar topic.



  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kate Johnson
  • Kate Johnson
  • 03-07-2018

SoooooOOOOOooooo boring

need I say more... apparently I must because this won't let me submit without a minimum of 15 characters.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-08-2017

Solid and enjoyable.

Starts really strong kind of started to lose interest at the end. Would recommend listening in multiple chunks instead of consistently until finished.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julian
  • Julian
  • 30-12-2016

Not even a good piece of history. Overrated events

Not useful at all. Some day to day events that are overrated as historical moments of hacking? Omg all USA, where is the rest of the world. ignoran author.

0 of 5 people found this review helpful