I never know how I’m going to feel about non-fiction books when I pick them up, whether I enjoy the subject or not. They can often be dry, boring, slog-of-a-reads. That wasn’t the case for me with Brian McCullough’s How the Internet Happened.
McCullough takes us through the history of the internet from the founding of Netscape by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark all the way to the present day and the ubiquity of smart phones, which didn’t hit their stride until 2007 with Apple’s iPhone.
McCullough’s voice is conversational, almost peppy. I moved through each chapter with ease, often smiling at his analysis of some of the events I experienced personally as a young person in the early aughts. I still remember when Facebook first made its way through my dorm in 2005. It was an odd feeling knowing I could stay connected to all of the people I had gone to high school with, and it was even odder to recognize that we were able to keep up with each other without ever having to interact at all, without ever having to have a conversation. Go ahead and roll your eyes at me younger people. I know you want to. At that time though, the idea of an online social network was extraordinary.
I enjoyed being able to read about some of the big names behind companies I take for granted today – Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Jerry Yang and David Filo – the yahoos who started Yahoo!, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. And not only that, but it was really interesting to read about the dot-com bubble and eventual burst. I was about 10 when the dot-coms were having their heyday, and about 15 when that bubble burst. Of course, as a kid I had no idea what that internet thing was or the impact it would eventually have on my life.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable and informative read. It has certainly sparked my interest in reading even more accounts of this time period and the phenomenon known as the internet.
Thanks to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for my review copy.
Expected publication: October 23rd 2018 by Liveright