Book Briefs: Copies in Seconds

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 07-01-2004

Copies in Seconds: How a Lone Inventor and an Unknown Company Created the Biggest Communication Breakthrough Since Gutenberg

By David Owen
Simon & Schuster, August 2004
320 pages, $24

You can argue with the subtitle—wasn't the telephone a bigger deal than the Xerox machine?—and you can argue that Xerox's poor stock performance over the past decade takes away some potential interest in the topic. But there is no argument that Owen, a staff writer at The New Yorker, has turned in an entertaining history about one of the many technology marvels that we all take for granted. Of particular interest here is the struggle inventor Chester Carlson had in getting any company interested in what he had invented. Even 66 years ago—when Carlson produced the world's first xerographic copy—coming up with a better product was only the first step on the road to success.