Book: The Intel Trinity

As of today The Intel Trinity,The: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company wins my award for best business book of 2015.

I got an Apple ][ for my bar mitzvah in 1978. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with computers and the computer industry. I obviously missed the 1950s and 1960s, but the history of that time period has deeply informed my perspective, especially the definition of Moore’s law by Gordon Moore in 1965.

I work with many first time and young entrepreneurs who know the phrase “Moore’s Law” but know nothing about the origin story of Intel or the history of how Moore’s Law built the base of an industry that we continue to build on. I also know many experienced entrepreneurs who seem to have forgotten that the phenomenon we experience around innovation, disruption, innovators vs. incumbents, and radical shifts in the underlying dynamics of markets is nothing new.

If you fall into this category, as hard as it may be to acknowledge, get a copy of The Intel Trinity and read it from cover to cover.

Michael S. Malone has written another excellent book (he’s one of my favorite tech history writers) that does more than document the history of Intel and its impact on the universe. The best part of this book is understanding the characters of Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove, especially how they worked together as early co-founders (Noyce / Moore), an initial management troika (Noyce/Moore/Grove), and the subsequent leadership of Intel for 30 years. It’s a powerful example of founding entrepreneurs and their leadership of a company from inception, through several near death events, to sustainable market dominance.

It also gives anyone who says “this time is different” some perspective. Just remember, “All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.”

  • Thanks! Will read. Would you recommend “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks?

  • Doe anyone else have a queue of books to read a mile long? lol

  • James Mitchell

    Brad, assuming one ignores the technical definition of Moore’s law (i.e., the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years), and instead focuses on the popular definition (i.e., computing power doubles every two years), do you think Moore’s law is still correct? It is certainly true for telecommunications speed but I don’t think it is true for computing power anymore.

    And then there are batteries, which get twice as good every 20 years. 😉

  • Isaak Karaev

    Hi Brad,

    I am one of your mostly silent readers. But I just want to thank you for referring to this book. I am reading it already and enjoying it a lot.

  • Hi Brad,
    Thanks for the recommendation. How you ever curated a list of the best 5-10 tech books that we should read?

  • “It also gives anyone who says “this time is different” some perspective.
    Just remember, “All this has happened before, and all of it will happen
    again.””

    Has any book comprehensively covered this cyclic nature of history with regards to the tech/ start-up sector?

    I see common themes and motifs repeating almost every few years:

    – Investment patterns

    – Bad strategy decisions

    – Requirement for a better search. The app stores of today are pretty much like the first iteration of yahoo – an aggregation of apps. Top apps remain top apps. Product Hunt, etc are adding a layer of curation to it, but search on app stores (what kind of app will solve the kind of problems I have) is still broken. So we need a breakthrough search engine on top of the app ecosystem. A modern Google for the Google Play store.

    – Chatting apps becoming the gateway to the internet and replacing browsers on mobile.

    Would love to read your thoughts on other patterns that you have observed.

    • Worthy of a long blog post at some point.

      • Great. Looking forward to it. Meanwhile, have downloaded The Intel Trinity.

  • This is what I think of when it comes to Intel books: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/architectures-software-developer-manuals.html The family jewels, seven volumes of silicon dominance. 😉

  • adams472

    Reading asap. Thanks for the review. “Only the Paranoid Survive” is in my desert-island top 5 for tech/business.

  • Along this vein I also recommend the Intel museum at their headquarters for an interesting perspective on Intel’s impact plus a good primer on what semiconductors are and how they are made. Thanks for the book tip. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-visiting-intel.html

  • Worthy of a long blog post at some point. love quotes

  • zmre

    Nice recommendation. As a suggestion, you might consider swapping out the Amazon link from http://www.amazon.com to smile.amazon.com. Can’t hurt to kick a little more to charity…

    • Good suggestion. Fyi – I’ve been asked about this before. Amy and I contribute a substantial amount of our money to philanthropic organizations so the modest $ that flow through affiliate links are pretty trivial. I primarily use it for the tracking data.
      But pointing the url to smile. Is a good way to get it directly to some charities. I like that approach.

      • zmre

        I don’t begrudge you the affiliate link at all (and my post wasn’t a commentary on that). As far as I can tell from the FAQ, you stills get the affiliate referrals *and* money goes to charity if you change the URL to start with smile. Win-win. For my part, I forget to change the URL for about 50% of my Amazon orders and end up kicking myself afterwards. Here’s that FAQ: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/t61/