Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

Steven Levy, a non-fiction novelist who has taken it upon himself to chronicle the explosive growth of computing and technology from the perspective of those on fringes, wrote a wonderful book about how the hacking movement really began. Hackers begins by detailing the origins of the first generation of hackers, the "True" Hackers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Hardware Hackers of California, and the Game Hackers after that.

The stories are all real, and they come from an irreverent attitude that seems to be fading away. For these people, these Hackers, technology was the key. Learning, was the goal. As technology becomes more prevelant, I'm afraid more and more people aren't going to be seduced by the magic in the machine like these original digital pioneers were. I know I've met very few for whom computing wasn't a ways to a means, but the whole purpose of the excercise.

This is in many ways a history book, but it's written in such a way that it's very interesting, and rarely really drags as many historical books can. If you're interested in the movement that made computers into the household objects that they are today, you need to read this book. Now.