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Love him or loathe him, Mr. Microsoft is certainly an influential voice in the modern business world and The Road Ahead is definitely an important addition to any business library. Gates' description of the beginnings of the information age, while somewhat over-emphasizing his own contributions and downplaying those of his competitors, is nonetheless as clear and enlighten Love him or loathe him, Mr. Microsoft is certainly an influential voice in the modern business world and The Road Ahead is definitely an important addition to any business library. Gates' description of the beginnings of the information age, while somewhat over-emphasizing his own contributions and downplaying those of his competitors, is nonetheless as clear and enlightening as any in print today. Likewise, his view of the digital future--from hardware to software and education to entertainment--should be read and studied by all who use technology in their business today or plan to use it on the road ahead.


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Love him or loathe him, Mr. Microsoft is certainly an influential voice in the modern business world and The Road Ahead is definitely an important addition to any business library. Gates' description of the beginnings of the information age, while somewhat over-emphasizing his own contributions and downplaying those of his competitors, is nonetheless as clear and enlighten Love him or loathe him, Mr. Microsoft is certainly an influential voice in the modern business world and The Road Ahead is definitely an important addition to any business library. Gates' description of the beginnings of the information age, while somewhat over-emphasizing his own contributions and downplaying those of his competitors, is nonetheless as clear and enlightening as any in print today. Likewise, his view of the digital future--from hardware to software and education to entertainment--should be read and studied by all who use technology in their business today or plan to use it on the road ahead.

30 review for The Road Ahead: Book and Cd-Rom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Road Ahead, Bill Gates The Road Ahead is a book written by Bill Gates, co-founder and then-CEO of the Microsoft software company, together with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson. Published in November 1995, then substantially revised about a year later, The Road Ahead summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway. عنوانها: راهی که در پیش است؛ راه آین The Road Ahead, Bill Gates The Road Ahead is a book written by Bill Gates, co-founder and then-CEO of the Microsoft software company, together with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson. Published in November 1995, then substantially revised about a year later, The Road Ahead summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway. عنوانها: راهی که در پیش است؛ راه آینده؛ راه ظفر؛ نویسنده: بیل گیتس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه ژانویه سال 1998میلادی عنوان: راهی که در پیش است؛ نویسنده: بیل گیتس؛ مترجم هرمز حبیبی اصفهانی؛ تهران، نشر هرم، 1375؛ در 392ص؛ شابک 9649050809؛ موضوع: شبکه های کامپیوتری، شاهراههای اطلاعاتی، مخابرات؛ از نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م عنوان: راه آینده؛ نویسنده: بیل گیتس؛ مترجم: محمدعلی آسوده؛ تهران، ستارگان، کرمان، خواجوی کرمانی، 1376؛ در یک جلد؛ شابک 9649101837؛ عنوان: راه ظفر؛ نویسنده: بیل گیتس؛ مترجم: محمدعلی آسوده؛ تهران، پیک زبان، 1383؛ شابک 9649101837؛ در 87ص؛ شابک 9649203389؛ فهرست: پیشگفتار، انقلابی آغاز میشود، آغاز عصر اطلاعات، درسهایی از صنعت کامپیوتر، کاربردها و ابزارها، گذرگاههای منتهی به بزرگراه، انقلاب محتوی، تاثیرات شغلی، سرمایه داری بدون اصطکاک، بهترین سرمایه گذاری: آموزش، در خانه با دیگران، مسابقه برای طلا، پیامدهای مهم، سخن پایانی بیل گیتس شیوه ی زندگی همگان را برای همیشه دگرگون کرده اند؛ از ایشان به عنوان یکی از بزرگ‌‌‌‌ترین،‌ نیکوکارترین،‌ سرمایه‌ دارترین و خلاق‌ترین انسان‌های این روزگار یاد می‌شود؛ «گیتس» از ابتدای تأسیس «مایکروسافت»، تا سال 2000میلادی، برای مدت بیست و پنج سال، به‌عنوان مدیرعامل «مایکروسافت»، کوشش کرده اند، همچنین تا سال 2014میلادی در مجموع سی و نه سال، ریاست «هیئت مدیره مایکروسافت» را بر دوش داشته اند؛ در این کتاب با سرگذشت پر هیجان و پر فراز و نشیب ایشان آشنا می‌شویم نقل نمونه متن: در میدان «هاروارد»، با دوستم «پل آلن»، ایستاده بودیم، شرح مربوط به یک کیت کامپیوتر را، در مجله ی «پاپیولار الکترونیکس» میخواندیم، من و «پل» نمیدانستیم، این ابزار چگونه به کار خواهند رفت، اما مطمئن بودیم دنیای کامپیوتر را تغییر خواهد داد؛ نقل از متن کتاب با اصلاح تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Saeed Almazrouei

    This book is about The Road Ahead and it tells us new ideas and new ways of doing things. For more than 500 years people have used paper to hold ideas and information. There will still be paper in the future, but there will also be other new ways. As the book says the computer has already changed our lives. Also the computer offers faster communications. Computers are used for many things like part of business work for markets and money, Also it is used for education. It is a beginning for new t This book is about The Road Ahead and it tells us new ideas and new ways of doing things. For more than 500 years people have used paper to hold ideas and information. There will still be paper in the future, but there will also be other new ways. As the book says the computer has already changed our lives. Also the computer offers faster communications. Computers are used for many things like part of business work for markets and money, Also it is used for education. It is a beginning for new things coming and new jobs coming with them in the future. Also TV has changed lives with new channels on it. In some ways electronic devices used by humans will develop day after day. As it mentioned in the book, in the future scientists will invent machines working by touch. Also, they will invent robots that will do human activities in the houses and companies. In my opinion this book was exciting because it tells us how life has changed from the past to present. I would recommend this book because it is important to know the developments that occur in life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    Written in 1995, "The Road Ahead" was Microsoft founder Bill Gates' attempt to describe for people what the much hyped "information superhighway" might look like. Building from his own knowledge of what had happened already, what was possible and what was in the pipeline, Gates first explains how we got to where we were in 1995 (e.g. the rise of the PC, the beginnings of the internet) and then explains what the next steps are likely to be in terms of connectivity, new wired devices and a variety Written in 1995, "The Road Ahead" was Microsoft founder Bill Gates' attempt to describe for people what the much hyped "information superhighway" might look like. Building from his own knowledge of what had happened already, what was possible and what was in the pipeline, Gates first explains how we got to where we were in 1995 (e.g. the rise of the PC, the beginnings of the internet) and then explains what the next steps are likely to be in terms of connectivity, new wired devices and a variety of possible applications. He then teases out implications for entertainment, business, education and more. Reading a nearly 20 year old book on technology is a bit like unearthing a time capsule. It is intriguing to see what Gates got right and what he missed. For example, his description of the ways in which we might eventually access content seem quite prescient - he anticipated today's streaming services quite nicely. However, he seems to have missed the mark on mobile devices, not recognizing that the mobile phone and what he called "pocket computers" would evolve into one and the same thing. And any mention of the possibility of social media is entirely absent (he still references bulletin board services here). Also, a few of his predictions have yet to play out but may still be coming. This is a quick and mildly entertaining read for those interested in both the history and the future of technology. As befits what one would expect from an industry leader, Gates is more optimistic about what technology can accomplish than many of us might be. But he still is a relatively deft tour-guide for the possibilities it offers us.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Uli Kunkel

    One-liner: Read it. 4.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tasshin Fogleman

    I read this only a few years after it came out, as a little boy. It really stretched my mind and forced me to start thinking about the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kavitha Sivakumar

    Too technical and some part of the book went above my head. Don't know whether he could have dumb down... Other than that, the book is very inspiring and I learned a lot. He talk about the evolution of computer from the business stand point of view. But comparatively Melinda Gates book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World is mind blowing. So this book got 4 stars. Too technical and some part of the book went above my head. Don't know whether he could have dumb down... Other than that, the book is very inspiring and I learned a lot. He talk about the evolution of computer from the business stand point of view. But comparatively Melinda Gates book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World is mind blowing. So this book got 4 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Galt

    Written in 1995. I read it in 2013 and most of it is still relevant. It is relevant because Bill Gates was on on the forefront of computers back then and could see the many directions and ways computers would affect us in the future. This book is fascinating and also amusing in ways which the internet and technology did not go the way he predicted. A solid book. It is a keeper for me and I will probably read it again in a few years.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Read this shortly after publication. An infomecial for Microsoft projects. Overcome by history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Javi

    Bill Gates’ “The Road Ahead” is non-fiction publication in which Gates writes about how we are on the brink of a complete cultural and technological revolution. He outlines major technological innovations of the past that have led to this and how we are being affected by it right now. He also shares his own theories regarding the innovations of the future and how they will affect the average American household. This book was written in 1995, a time in which Microsoft was still a developing compa Bill Gates’ “The Road Ahead” is non-fiction publication in which Gates writes about how we are on the brink of a complete cultural and technological revolution. He outlines major technological innovations of the past that have led to this and how we are being affected by it right now. He also shares his own theories regarding the innovations of the future and how they will affect the average American household. This book was written in 1995, a time in which Microsoft was still a developing company, and illustrates why Bill Gates is the billion dollar, visionary we know him as today. He foresaw in the early 90’s a future of electronic excess in which more and more people own a personal computer and telephone. This future he foresaw is strikingly similar to the reality of today. I really loved this book! For one, who better than Bill Gates to anticipate how computers and the technology associated with them would be an aspect of almost everyone's lives. He does an expert job of predicting the rise of the computer in money markets and business in the 21st century. Additionally, it got me excited, but also a tad bit frightened, to one day experience the other technology he predicted would rise in the 21st century such as household robots that will have the ability to do essentially all chores and even more! I would most definitely recommend this book to others. It is important to reflect upon how we have gotten where we are today, in terms of technological advancement, so we can build upon what we’ve learned to create the next big thing. This book can inspire people to do just that! I really appreciate Bill Gates sharing his expansive amount of knowledge with the reader.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Lewis Kozoriz

    "...finding a job will be easier if you have embraced the computer as a tool." ~ Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, p. 258 I found this book like reading the prophets of the old testament and Bill Gates is the prophet and the things he is saying are predicting what will happen in the future of the technological highway. Because this book was written in 1995, you begin to see that Bill Gates was not too far off from the mark. I believe that is why Microsoft has had tremendous success...that being the lead "...finding a job will be easier if you have embraced the computer as a tool." ~ Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, p. 258 I found this book like reading the prophets of the old testament and Bill Gates is the prophet and the things he is saying are predicting what will happen in the future of the technological highway. Because this book was written in 1995, you begin to see that Bill Gates was not too far off from the mark. I believe that is why Microsoft has had tremendous success...that being the leader, Bill Gates, is able to see what is going to take place in the future on the technological highway and be adequately prepared for it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Senthil Kumaran

    I had found this book very inspiring. I liked the vision Bill gates shares in this one, namely "A computer running Microsoft Windows on everyones desk". This book, I believe, from the early days of Microsoft and had really thought on future world with ubiquitous computing. I liked to so much that I inherited some of his thoughts on future home design and tried it at my house while building (wherein there would be phone on all rooms and only phone near the person would ring (this was before cell I had found this book very inspiring. I liked the vision Bill gates shares in this one, namely "A computer running Microsoft Windows on everyones desk". This book, I believe, from the early days of Microsoft and had really thought on future world with ubiquitous computing. I liked to so much that I inherited some of his thoughts on future home design and tried it at my house while building (wherein there would be phone on all rooms and only phone near the person would ring (this was before cell phones)).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abhinav Bhardwaj

    My brother had given me this book 7 years ago. I tried several times and failed. But after developing bit of reading aptitude I tried it and finished off successful. in these 7 years I have also become an entrepreneur and now when I turned it's last page, I feel so foolish for not reading it. I would have taken more intelligent steps. must read for technology related entrepreneur. it is not biography but vision of Mr. Gates which is a realty in today with Google, Facebook, Twitter and many Inter My brother had given me this book 7 years ago. I tried several times and failed. But after developing bit of reading aptitude I tried it and finished off successful. in these 7 years I have also become an entrepreneur and now when I turned it's last page, I feel so foolish for not reading it. I would have taken more intelligent steps. must read for technology related entrepreneur. it is not biography but vision of Mr. Gates which is a realty in today with Google, Facebook, Twitter and many Internet related portals. Good Read

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bala

    I read it in 1996 and most of it is still relevant only because Bill Gates was on on the forefront of computers back then and could see the many directions and ways computers would affect us in the future. This book ofcourse is fascinating and amusing in a way now, just because the way he predicted the internet and the technology did not go in his way. A solid book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    Admirable ! Loved how many of those predictions he made about future of computer has come true ! I needed an inpiration for programming and this did the trick ! Also provided quite useful business tactics !

  15. 5 out of 5

    ali

    i learn i could get evrything from life that i want .but bill gates never learn to respect to other brain.

  16. 5 out of 5

    مروان المريسي

    i learned that Bill Gates was a great man ! and.. Microsoft was a wanderful company, but it gone! welcome to google and googling

  17. 4 out of 5

    Arielle Dane

    ‘The Road Ahead’ written by Bill Gates with the collaboration of Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson had surely kept its promise that it would clear up the ‘seemingly endless hype about the information highway’ which is proudly stated on the book’s synopsis. Published by the Viking Penguin in 1995, the book had vividly shown the situation that the people encountered about the rising age of technology over that time. Funny enough, those individuals who have read the hardback right after it was re ‘The Road Ahead’ written by Bill Gates with the collaboration of Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson had surely kept its promise that it would clear up the ‘seemingly endless hype about the information highway’ which is proudly stated on the book’s synopsis. Published by the Viking Penguin in 1995, the book had vividly shown the situation that the people encountered about the rising age of technology over that time. Funny enough, those individuals who have read the hardback right after it was released two decades ago mostly scoffed on Mr. Gates’ ‘too idealistic ideas’. They were extremely focused on Mr. Gates’ personality rather than his brilliant thoughts which made them fail to use ‘The Road Ahead’ as their travel guide in venturing down the unknown but optimistic future. As the title suggests, the book resembled a roadmap which would steer the readers in having a better understanding in technology development. This objective of the book is a success but for the period that it was published, most of the critics dismissed his notions as it just his way of promoting Microsoft, in their opinion. However, reading ‘The Road Ahead’ 20 years after it was published brought a sense of nostalgia to those who witnessed the progress of the personal computer from just a mere figment of imagination until it becomes an everyday companion of the people in the modern time. It amazes the reader knowing that a piece of technology that we normally use today and as common as a ballpoint pen was once treated like a bit of luxury. In addition to this, Mr. Gates evidently described how the personal computer would change the way we live. From the aspects of education to the dizzying world of business, it surely did. As he engraved himself to be one of the major participants in developing the personal computer by creating his own software company with Paul Allen, it is not surprising that he had a very majestic view of the future. After absorbing every portion of knowledge that the book has to offer, it felt like the reader had taken a peek inside the complex brain of Bill Gates. And this makes us wonder, if he had that kind of wisdom before, what does he have to say now for the next string of years? What he did in ‘The Road Ahead’ is like dissecting a part of his brain and sharing it to those who want a snapshot of his ‘bird’s-eye view of the undiscovered territory on the information highway’. In this book, the reader had concluded something. Bill Gates clearly wanted his visions to turn into a handsome reality. In Chapter 1, A Revolution Begins, the author reminisced about the start of his journey in taking interests on writing software program when he was just thirteen years old. Throughout the chapter, Mr. Gates discussed about his high school and college life while being engrossed over the thought of computer. Together with his friend, Paul, they had played around microprocessor chips to create a tool which can help in the community, as they did in making the ‘Traf-O-Data’ from Intel 8008. It was only the beginning of his triumphant success. Aside from this, he gave an introduction about the ‘information superhighway’ which was popularized by Al Gore. He presented ideas and encouraged the reader to visualize how that highway would work for the people. He improvised situations which would be easily solved once the information highway is built. Mr. Gates initiated questions such as: ‘Is your bus running on time?’ ‘What is your child’s school-attendance record?’ ‘How is the hole in a needle manufactured?’. According to him, these set of different matters would be answered in the next decade. And he was right. Additionally, he soothed down the growing anxiety of the people when the thought of information highway was brought up into the public. For the next chapter, The Beginning of the Information Age, he talked about the building importance of information to people and how the highway would be a very effective channel in distributing it to those who need it. He also quoted Claude Shannon’s definition of information which is the reduction of uncertainty. The significance of converting analog data into digital which would bring efficiency to everyone was also touched by the author. He keenly explained about the binary system, the contributions of the pioneers in inventing the computer, the ENIAC, the fiber-optic cable, bandwidth and others. Bill Gates also penned, “We already understand the science that would allow us to build these superfast computers. What we need is an engineering breakthrough, and these are often quick in coming.” In the following chapters, the author enlightened the reader about the common mistakes that most of the companies in the computer industry had made which led to their failure. This part of the book might had been a good ‘do’s and don’ts’ manual for those people who are interested in investing their knowledge in this line of work. He also gave several notable quotes along the way: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. And it’s an unreliable guide to the future.” “It’s increasingly important to be able to compete and cooperate at the same time, but that calls for a lot of maturity.” “You can’t rest on your laurels, because there is always a competitor coming up behind you.” “It’s important to acknowledge mistakes and make sure you draw some lesson from them.” He also discussed the reason behind the unceasing bouts among the companies to create a hardware that will become the standard equipment which everybody would use. It is needed ‘to ensure interoperability, minimize user training, and of course foster the largest possible software industry’. Mr. Gates enlisted the possible technologies that would be developed from their ancestors or the personal computers. The most attention grabbing idea that he revealed to the reader was the wallet PC. Undeniably, this tool has an apparent resemblance to the smartphones that most of the population uses in the present day. The only thing that’s out of the picture in today’s mobile phones is its capability of storing digital money in which the reader thinks that it is very likely to happen soon. He boasted the competence of the personal computers in executing the friction-free capitalism. It is an extremely efficient market in which buyers and sellers can find each other easily, can interact directly, and can perform transactions with only minimal overhead costs. For example, in the production of newspapers to be delivered in vast amounts of places throughout the world seeks for numerous procedures. For this to happen, trees needs to be cut down to produce paper, complex machines are used to process this, ink is required for printing and transportation is also a necessity for distribution which undoubtedly contributes to pollution. But with the help of PCs, this can be converted in a digital form which will surely save us from wasting time, money, resources and cause damages to the environment. In conclusion, the information highway would indeed initiate a global innovation. But upon reading the whole text, is it already constructed? Anyways, it could also have been the highly-powered Internet that is in full course today. On the whole, the book is clearly written in a very understandable way which makes it suitable for any kind of person. Someone who is unaware about the PCs could still comprehend it even if you are 15 or 60 years old. ‘The Road Ahead’ is definitely one of the most important books that have tackled about computers and lifted up the cloak that had been obscuring the uninformed part of the public. In conclusion, it is a portion of history marked on paper which would always become a place for everyone to reminisce about the piece of technology that changed it all.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deane Barker

    This book was written 25 years ago, in 1995, right on the cusp of the Internet as we know it today. Bill Gates was the CEO of Microsoft at the time, and this book was really meant to be an look at the exciting things that we coming in the future. It's chapter after chapter about how the "information highway" is going to change our lives. The "Information highway" or "information superhighway" is what we know now as the Internet. Back then, this phrase was thrown around a lot to help people concep This book was written 25 years ago, in 1995, right on the cusp of the Internet as we know it today. Bill Gates was the CEO of Microsoft at the time, and this book was really meant to be an look at the exciting things that we coming in the future. It's chapter after chapter about how the "information highway" is going to change our lives. The "Information highway" or "information superhighway" is what we know now as the Internet. Back then, this phrase was thrown around a lot to help people conceptualize what it was. I still remember the promise of "500 TV channels on the information superhighway," which just blew us away at the time. What amazing about this book is how right Gates got everything. Seriously -- he accurately predicted almost everything that happened in the next 25 years. Back in 1995, he was living in 2020. He knew exactly how things were going to play out. More and more, I think Bill Gates is one of the smartest people who ever lived. This was a fun read. It was kind of a time capsule, and gave me a window back to how things were before the Internet achieved utility-like status in our daily lives, and what things we were dreaming about back then.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Drew Baird

    A solid book. Since I was an MSFT employee from 1995-2002, I had a ringside seat. Now it is a history book! Fundamentally correct Bill made two mistakes. He lagged behind on the phone, not the Pocket PC as the tool of the future. While on one hand, he was wrong but he was right too. The phone morphed into the Pocket PC. Another choice was Bill's decision to do an email app after the fact. Both decisions probably cost MSFT billions. Just my opinion... He and Paul are the men that put a PC on every A solid book. Since I was an MSFT employee from 1995-2002, I had a ringside seat. Now it is a history book! Fundamentally correct Bill made two mistakes. He lagged behind on the phone, not the Pocket PC as the tool of the future. While on one hand, he was wrong but he was right too. The phone morphed into the Pocket PC. Another choice was Bill's decision to do an email app after the fact. Both decisions probably cost MSFT billions. Just my opinion... He and Paul are the men that put a PC on every desk in the world. PS. Apple was great too and Steve/Woz kept Bill/Paul on their toes. :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I doubted myself for a second: why am I reading someone’s prediction 30 years ago?! Now I am very impressed by how accurate those predictions are as we are living in them. You can see Bill’s concepts turning into internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and more to come! We are living in an amazing world and on the way to a fabulous future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason Iyasara

    Fascinating!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Evan Pappas

    Amazing time capsule book, I bought a used copy that had notes from a professor that read through it in 1997. AMAZING to see their thoughts on things like streaming video.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Davis Falk

    Why read this book almost 25 years after it was first published? Well, I just always wanted to, for one thing. And I was interested to know how the author's predictions stood up. It turns out he was right about a lot of things, some of them just coming into fruition this year, like so many people doing their jobs remotely, and "Aspenization" (the flight of urbanites to suburban and rural areas). He was wrong about a couple of things. We're not getting offered money to read emails -- something I w Why read this book almost 25 years after it was first published? Well, I just always wanted to, for one thing. And I was interested to know how the author's predictions stood up. It turns out he was right about a lot of things, some of them just coming into fruition this year, like so many people doing their jobs remotely, and "Aspenization" (the flight of urbanites to suburban and rural areas). He was wrong about a couple of things. We're not getting offered money to read emails -- something I wish he had been right about. And we don't have VCR's that use 100GB tapes. Unlike most prophets, Gates was quite specific in his predictions, though he did not pull them out of the air. He was in a position to know some of the alternatives and possibilities. The internet was entering adolescence, and Microsoft was spending $100 million per year on research. The closest thing to complete realization of his vision of the information highway, I think, is 5G. It remains to be seen if this will be as successful and widespread as predictions indicate. But if it is, it will bring Gates's information highway to nearly everyone, closing economic gaps, and removing cultural boundaries. Whether it makes the world a better place, of course, depends on how we use it, as have all technologies from agriculture to nuclear science to artificial intelligence.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chirag Gupta

    A 1995 book being read in 2014. His idea and vision of information highway is way too awesome. He has already described what Google has been up to for past few years. Too bad, Microsoft couldnt catch up even though Bill Gates had the vision. As for the book, a good read. :)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Atta-Amponsah

    BILL GATES'S book, ''The Road Ahead,'' which is perhaps best characterized as the latest product generated by the Microsoft Corporation, has a surprising amount in common with a typical Microsoft software package. Not unlike, say, Windows 95, the book has long been the subject of gossip and rumors in the computer industry. However, when it finally arrived in bookstores last month, it was a year behind its original publication date. Put together in deepest secrecy, ''The Road Ahead'' was released BILL GATES'S book, ''The Road Ahead,'' which is perhaps best characterized as the latest product generated by the Microsoft Corporation, has a surprising amount in common with a typical Microsoft software package. Not unlike, say, Windows 95, the book has long been the subject of gossip and rumors in the computer industry. However, when it finally arrived in bookstores last month, it was a year behind its original publication date. Put together in deepest secrecy, ''The Road Ahead'' was released with the kind of relentless marketing barrage for which Microsoft is renowned. The book was an instant hit. Text: And, not least, ''The Road Ahead'' turns out to be not nearly as good as other products that are already available. People who know Mr. Gates are quick to talk about the keenness of his insights and the sharpness of his tongue, but the book he has written with Nathan Myhrvold, a vice president at Microsoft, and Peter Rinearson, a freelance journalist, is bland and tepid. It reads as if it had been vetted by a committee of Microsoft executives; chances are, it has been. Ostensibly offering readers Mr. Gates's upbeat views on the coming ''information highway'' (in which your television, personal computer and telephone combine to create that wonderful interactive world we've all been waiting for), ''The Road Ahead'' is in fact little more than a positioning document, sold in book form with accompanying CD-ROM and designed mainly to advance the interests of the Microsoft Corporation. Whether it succeeds in achieving that goal, however, is much in question at this juncture in the history of personal computing. None of this, I suppose, should be very surprising, even if it is disappointing. After all, there is very little Mr. Gates has done in his relatively young life that has not been aimed at advancing the interests of the Microsoft Corporation. Ever since he dropped out of Harvard to found the company some 20 years ago, he has been maniacally focused not just on having Microsoft do well but on having it dominate its industry. That he has succeeded is beyond question: Microsoft today controls around 80 percent of the market for computer operation systems and 50 percent of the market for software applications systems. In the process, Mr. Gates has gained tremendous wealth -- by some counts, he is the richest man in America -- but has also found his company mired in a series of Justice Department antitrust investigations, as the Government has become increasingly suspicious of Microsoft's near-monopoly status. None of which, by the way, merits a mention in ''The Road Ahead.'' What does come through, inferentially at least, is the extent to which Microsoft has been built on Mr. Gates's insights into business rather than into technology. Though he has the pallid, slightly disheveled appearance of a classic computer nerd, he is nothing of the sort and never has been. He has always been a shrewd and calculating businessman. As he himself recounts it, his decision to start Microsoft had mainly to do with his realization that the train was about to leave the station: ''Oh no!'' he recalls saying to Microsoft's co-founder, Paul Allen, upon seeing that a personal computer had hit the market. ''It's happening without us! People are going to write real software for this.'' Years later, when he learned that I.B.M. wanted to contract with a software company to make the operating system for its first personal computer, Mr. Gates maneuvered to get Microsoft the job, even though his small company had no such product. Again, it was the business implications that drove him. ''I.B.M.,'' he writes, ''had a real chance to create a new, broad standard in personal computing.'' This, of course, is exactly what happened. Indeed, Mr. Gates is most convincing in ''The Road Ahead'' when he is musing not on whether, say, hand-held wallet computers will someday be available (he thinks they will be), but on what it takes to create a market for a product like hand-held wallet computers. Again and again, he pulls back from the supposed glories of future technologies to pose the questions that really engage him: how much these technologies will cost, how many people will buy them and how much money can be made from them. Thus, while users of the Internet are enthralled by the fact that so much of the information floating around cyberspace is free, Mr. Gates takes solace from his belief that it can't last. ''Over the next several years,'' he writes, ''there will be new billing options -- monthly subscriptions, hourly rates, charges per item accessed and advertising payments -- so that more revenue flows to the information providers.'' Similarly, the lessons he takes from the 20-year history of the personal computer have nothing to do with the ways computers have changed society, but revolve instead around mistakes technology companies made when they got too big or too smug. Throughout, Mr. Gates comes across as someone who, despite his company's dominance, wakes up in a sweat every night, fearful that it could all fall apart tomorrow. So what is keeping Mr. Gates awake right now? The answer to that question is not only obvious, it's the real reason ''The Road Ahead'' was written in the first place. The answer is the Internet. It has the potential to transform the nature of the computer business, to create a whole new set of corporate winners and losers. And for all his business savvy, Mr. Gates has been caught flat-footed by its sudden emergence. As recently as two years ago, when The New Yorker published a profile of Mr. Gates -- a piece that also dwelled on his vision of the future -- the Internet was barely mentioned. Back then, Mr. Gates was spending most of his time trying to connect Microsoft to the cable television business, on the theory that cable boxes would be the initial way onto the information highway. Now that it looks as if the Internet will be the first serious entry point, Mr. Gates and Microsoft are frantically playing catch-up. At bottom, ''The Road Ahead'' is part of Mr. Gates's extensive effort to force his way back into the game before it's too late. For one thing, his information highway is broader than merely the Internet. (He still has cable television on the brain.) The great bulk of the book is devoted to Mr. Gates's ''vision'' of all the wonderful things that will be available once we can effortlessly journey along this broader information highway; his implicit (and sometimes explicit) message is that, of course, he and his wonderful company will be our tour guides -- and that we'll be happy that they are. Yet this vision is the most disappointing aspect of the book. Precisely because it is driven by Microsoft's short-term business plans, it is a narrow and constricted vision, amounting to little more than a recitation of the emerging conventional wisdom about the information highway. Whatever genuinely interesting thoughts Mr. Gates has about the coming technologies -- and I have no doubt that he has plenty of them -- he has managed to write an entire book without divulging one. So: His chapter on schools is largely devoted to making the tediously obvious point that the information highway will help teachers teach and students learn. Once people can buy things directly from the highway, he writes elsewhere, ''it will be a shopper's heaven.'' In offering his grand summation of the ways the information highway will make life better, he concludes: ''It will enhance leisure time and enrich culture by expanding the distribution of information. It will help relieve pressures on urban areas by enabling individuals to work from home or remote-site offices. . . . It will give us more control over our lives.'' And so on. AND as for problems that might crop up along the way, Mr. Gates glances over them as fleetingly as possible. For instance, if technology will allow upscale workers to flee big-city congestion -- and not only is this true, it is already happening -- won't that mean that cities will become increasingly segregated racially? He admits the possibility and then concludes, ''The net effect, however, is hard to foresee.'' Of course, really grappling with ''the net effect'' of technological change would require writing a real book, and that's not the point of the exercise. ''It's a little scary that as computer technology has moved ahead there's never been a leader from one era who was also a leader in the next,'' Mr. Gates writes toward the end of ''The Road Ahead'' in what may well be the most heartfelt line in the book. ''But,'' he adds, ''I want to defy historical tradition. Somewhere ahead is the threshold dividing the P.C. era from the highway era. I want to be among the first to cross over when the moment comes.'' It is impossible to know at this early stage whether Mr. Gates will, in fact, defy history, or whether Microsoft's dominance will be upended by such Internet upstarts as Netscape, just as I.B.M.'s dominance was once upended by Microsoft itself. While experience tells us that Mr. Gates is a formidable competitor, ''The Road Ahead'' does tend to give one pause. If this book really represents the sum of his vision of the future, then his own road ahead is going to be a long, hard slog

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Bill Gates and Paul Allen understood the potential of developing an information highway long before most entrepreneurs gained a similar vision. Most successful business start ups begin with an idea and require subject knowledge, patience, market timing and luck. Bill's and Paul's development of the DOS operating system was timely and vital to IBM's successful launch of an interactive computer system. Gates and Allen focused on software. IBM limited focus on developing hardware. It was fortuitous Bill Gates and Paul Allen understood the potential of developing an information highway long before most entrepreneurs gained a similar vision. Most successful business start ups begin with an idea and require subject knowledge, patience, market timing and luck. Bill's and Paul's development of the DOS operating system was timely and vital to IBM's successful launch of an interactive computer system. Gates and Allen focused on software. IBM limited focus on developing hardware. It was fortuitous timing for both. Gates's intentions for Microsoft's future are stated in Chapter 9 and in the "Afterward" of this book on page 275. "...the greatest benefits will come from the application of technology to education --formal and informal." To this end Microsoft has developed Common Core..."to aid teachers who are incorporating computers into classrooms." That has led to huge profits for Microsoft but in my opinion, limiting and flawed. Gates is a genius but not an expert on teaching methods or curriculums. I fear the consequences of a software product that guides the process of learning into a standard limited, channeled solution does so at the expense of critical thinking. It ignores the importance of discovery and creativity that incentivize learning. Computers are a just a tool to aid but not influence individual thought and creativeness. The rate of decline in U.S. education system standards compared with other nations is alarming. Common Core is a disastrous experiment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Being written in 1995, this book precedes a heck of a lot of present day computer/internet world but is able to describe a future in a way that made it sound not so far fetched (and actually pretty representative for what we have for today). And with coming from that era, multimedia was a hot topic so with an interactive CD-ROM accompanying this book was a peak mid-90s computer thing to do. A major buzz word back in 1995 was the "Information Superhighway" (I remember). This phrase is practically Being written in 1995, this book precedes a heck of a lot of present day computer/internet world but is able to describe a future in a way that made it sound not so far fetched (and actually pretty representative for what we have for today). And with coming from that era, multimedia was a hot topic so with an interactive CD-ROM accompanying this book was a peak mid-90s computer thing to do. A major buzz word back in 1995 was the "Information Superhighway" (I remember). This phrase is practically mentioned on every page. I found when reading to basically swap this phrase with "internet" and it all seemed to jive a bit better. While the "internet" term was mentioned often throughout the book, it was more of meant to (IMO) describe a computer network for sharing files. One glaring omission with Bill Gates' vision was social media. He described a lot about bulletin boards which I think can loosely be coupled in to present day sites like reddit with specific communities organized by topic. But in retrospect social media didn't come into prevalence until the late-00's and had a lot of stepping stones along the way like MySpace or Friendster. But all in all, a world where you carry around a wallet PC wherever you go and can come home and watch any show on-demand while typing a medical question on the world-wide-web and getting instant answers alongside referencing an online digital repair manual is a world I'd very much like to live in!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joe Michalak

    This was the last of the books that I read from my professor's "Corporate Governance Reading List" - and it was a great one to finish with. I will break the review into 3 parts. Part 1 is the Corporate Governance aspect. You obviously don't start a company like Microsoft (and manage to stay the CEO from startup to behemoth) without not only extraordinary vision, but also keen business discipline. In the case of The Road Ahead, both are on display. Gates makes profound guesses about how computers This was the last of the books that I read from my professor's "Corporate Governance Reading List" - and it was a great one to finish with. I will break the review into 3 parts. Part 1 is the Corporate Governance aspect. You obviously don't start a company like Microsoft (and manage to stay the CEO from startup to behemoth) without not only extraordinary vision, but also keen business discipline. In the case of The Road Ahead, both are on display. Gates makes profound guesses about how computers, networks, and the internet will affect personal and corporate life in "the future." In 2020, I can say that his accuracy rate was very high - and obviously Microsoft had a large role in shaping much of that. But where Gates really shines in observing the role this vision has in shaping Microsoft's path to the future - drawing on historical boom/bust (interactive TV being a key example of this), Gates shows the disciplined risk approach necessary to be a tech company that has survived various bubbles, and continues to be a major player in the space. Part 2 is the Vision aspect. Reading through the book many years after its publication (25, I believe), so many of Gates's predictions have come true. A step ahead of that, discussions about privacy and its interaction with technology are a current topic (and with a renewed interest in the world of re-opening post COVID.) But Gates was able to think about and address these discussions even back in 1995 before they were mainstream topics. Part 3 is the nostalgic aspect. Being not much older than the book, the book goes back to my childhood in terms of technology, but through that reminded me of many things of that era - not just getting the first family computer, but then later using AIM, and first getting DSL internet, then regular broadband after that. I think part 3 is reason enough to read the book, but parts 1 and 2 are also compelling in their own rights.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian

    Bill, an amazing visionary who accurately predicted many technology innovations that exist in the present world (2019). This book taught me from the history of computers, to how they worked and how they developed. Technological influence was predicted to take over people’s lives and indeed it happened. The “Wallet PC” became the phone nowadays, in 1996, they didn’t know the mobile phone would go that far. So, as you can see, reading about these technological predictions come true is interesting, Bill, an amazing visionary who accurately predicted many technology innovations that exist in the present world (2019). This book taught me from the history of computers, to how they worked and how they developed. Technological influence was predicted to take over people’s lives and indeed it happened. The “Wallet PC” became the phone nowadays, in 1996, they didn’t know the mobile phone would go that far. So, as you can see, reading about these technological predictions come true is interesting, to immerse into how they used to think about the future. I would not recommend this book for someone that wants and insight of the future (2020 and above), but I would to someone that is into tech and is willing to listen to these old predictions about the technology we live with on the present world. I’ll leave you with this amazing quote “It's important that both the good and bad points of the technological advances be discussed broadly so that society as a whole, rather than just technologists, can guide its direction”. (Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, 1996)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Arshad KT

    If you haven't read one of the several biographies of Gates, you might find some of the personal tidbits he has included mildly amusing. Gates says he recognized the real power of computers, for example, when he wrote a scheduling program for his school that put him in a class with mostly girls. At age 8, he started to read a set of encyclopedias, finally stopping when he reached the Ps. He talks of virtual dating in which he watches the same film as a girlfriend living in another city and discus If you haven't read one of the several biographies of Gates, you might find some of the personal tidbits he has included mildly amusing. Gates says he recognized the real power of computers, for example, when he wrote a scheduling program for his school that put him in a class with mostly girls. At age 8, he started to read a set of encyclopedias, finally stopping when he reached the Ps. He talks of virtual dating in which he watches the same film as a girlfriend living in another city and discusses it afterward on the cell phone. There's also discussion of his new 50,000-square-foot residence now under construction on the Lake Washington waterfront. Visitors will receive an electronic badge so as they wander around Gates' expansive residence, lights will go on, their favorite music will follow them and any incoming phone calls will be forwarded to the nearest phone. If you ask for Mozart horn concertos once, Gates says, the house might be playing that music the next time you visit.

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