Moore's Law

The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley's Quiet Revolutionary


By Arnold Thackray

By David C. Brock

By Rachel Jones

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Our world today — from the phone in your pocket to the car that you drive, the allure of social media to the strategy of the Pentagon — has been shaped irrevocably by the technology of silicon transistors. Year after year, for half a century, these tiny switches have enabled ever-more startling capabilities. Their incredible proliferation has altered the course of human history as dramatically as any political or social revolution. At the heart of it all has been one quiet Californian: Gordon Moore.

At Fairchild Semiconductor, his seminal Silicon Valley startup, Moore — a young chemist turned electronics entrepreneur — had the defining insight: silicon transistors, and microchips made of them, could make electronics profoundly cheap and immensely powerful. Microchips could double in power, then redouble again in clockwork fashion. History has borne out this insight, which we now call “Moore’s Law”, and Moore himself, having recognized it, worked endlessly to realize his vision. With Moore’s technological leadership at Fairchild and then at his second start-up, the Intel Corporation, the law has held for fifty years. The result is profound: from the days of enormous, clunky computers of limited capability to our new era, in which computers are placed everywhere from inside of our bodies to the surface of Mars.

Moore led nothing short of a revolution. In Moore’s Law, Arnold Thackray, David C. Brock, and Rachel Jones give the authoritative account of Gordon Moore’s life and his role in the development both of Silicon Valley and the transformative technologies developed there. Told by a team of writers with unparalleled access to Moore, his family, and his contemporaries, this is the human story of man and a career that have had almost superhuman effects. The history of twentieth-century technology is littered with overblown “revolutions.” Moore’s Law is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn what a real revolution looks like.





Eli Moore Hears the Call

Eli Moore and his wife, Lizbeth, were bit players in the westward migration, making an initial move from Tennessee to Missouri in 1835. In their late twenties, they already had a growing family. Eli was a man of parts: a farmer and a hunter and skilled in working with wood. Intensely practical, adaptable, simple in his tastes, he had what it took to survive and prosper in the harsh, unforgiving business of heading west. He was a pioneer. Alexander, his eldest son, shared many of Eli’s traits, not least the discernment that would one day characterize even more strongly Alex’s great-grandson Gordon Moore.

Missouri was the stepping-stone to the Far West, to the little-known regions of Oregon and California, with their virgin lands. Jedediah Smith and fellow trappers had been the first Americans to penetrate overland from the East in 1826. A decade later, John Marsh set out from Missouri. He wrote many articles for eastern newspapers, praising the West’s bounteous resources and hyping the ease of travel through the mountains into the Mexican-held province of Alta California. Only a small scattering of American citizens had previously reached that fabled territory, via a perilous sea voyage around South America. In the early 1840s, growing numbers set out overland from Missouri in wagon trains, prepared to face an equally long and risky journey, but at least on dry land.

Alta California was lightly settled, with fewer than ten thousand “Californios.” These Spanish-speaking people, having moved north by land from Mexico, had large ranchos and governed through alliances among leading families. The years of independent Mexican rule from 1821 had been chaotic, as the earlier Spanish system collapsed. Under both, the population of indigenous Californians was badly diminished. The arrival of American settlers served only to further destabilize an already unsettled region. Manifest Destiny was in the air. The term itself was coined in 1845 to denote the belief that all the land between the Atlantic and the “natural” western boundary given by the Pacific belonged to the United States and was there to be settled by Americans. The theory was used to support the expansion plans of President James K. Polk’s administration and to justify war with Mexico. Many who went west were inspired by these views. Others, of Catholic faith like the Moores, were attracted by the scent of opportunity and by the idea of life in a Catholic culture.

Ambitious and enterprising, Eli Moore envisaged Missouri as his jumping-off point, but exactly to where was not clear. He found a mentor in Charles Hopper, who had been in the pioneering Bartleson-Bidwell Party that journeyed by land to Oregon and Alta California in 1841. The group faced extreme hardship, going for two days without water while crossing the Salt Lake flats and at one point being forced to abandon wagons as they pressed on through the Sierra Nevada before the engulfing winter snows. The Donner Party, using a variant route a little later, was not so well prepared in fall 1846, or so lucky. Its fate in the mountains, involving starvation, death, and cannibalism, became legendary.

Eli listened to Hopper’s stories with keen interest, imbibing the pioneer creed: “Do not follow where the paths may lead, but rather lead where there is no path, and leave a trail for others.” In January 1847, he resolved to head west. In anticipation, his eldest son, Alex, now twenty-one, married Adaline Spainhower, also from Tennessee. There was no time for the newlyweds to settle down. The Donner Party’s demise made it plain that travelers must reach and conquer the Sierra Nevada before the snows came in early November. Assuming they covered fifteen miles a day, the journey would take four to six months; May was the latest possible safe departure. Hopper and his family would also be among this party of four hundred, most bound for Oregon.

On May 9, 1847, the entire Moore family—Eli and his wife, son Alex and daughter-in-law Adaline, and Alex’s five younger siblings—joined the wagon train assembling in Independence, Missouri. No matter that Adaline, Alex’s new wife, was well into the second month of her first pregnancy, nauseous and fatigued. In the dawn air, families loaded wagons and readied livestock. Even heavy items, including Eli’s beloved weight clock, would travel with them. Two of Adaline’s sisters were also in the group. Adrenaline masked her anxiety: this was a fresh start, offering possibilities of greater prosperity. The hardships were unknown and unknowable.

By July 4, after roughly two months, the wagon train reached Independence Rock at the edge of the Rocky Mountains (see map “The Journey West in 1847”). Weeks later, its travelers drank from the naturally carbonated water bubbling from the ground at Soda Springs. At nighttime, when they rested, they parked the wagons in a circle, with Alex Moore’s younger brother Tom shooting at targets “to show his ability with a gun, and to scare the Indians away.” At Fort Hall (in today’s Idaho), the group encountered Lieutenant John C. Frémont, who that January had accepted the surrender of Mexican military commander Andrés Pico. Frémont gave the travelers the word that hostilities with Mexico were over. The future belonged to the United States. California was there for the taking.

“The Journey West in 1847.” (Modern state boundaries are shown for convenience.)


California: Land of Opportunity

The wagon train split at Fort Hall. The larger party headed for the Columbia River and Oregon Territory, while Eli Moore and his family joined the remnant that was intent on California. Headed by Hopper, this group comprised fifteen families and twenty wagons. They struck off south for the Humboldt River, traveling past recent notches in trees, above the snow level, that had been made by members of the Donner Party. On October 2, 1847, after a further two months of travel, the wagons finally reached the Pacific Coast delta, at Johnson’s ranch on the Bear River, fifty miles from Sacramento. The wagons continued past Sutter’s Fort, where, a year later, the California Gold Rush would begin.

German-born captain Charles Weber, who had arrived in California with the 1841 Bartleson-Bidwell Party, by now enjoyed an interest in a Spanish land grant and was busy enticing travelers with free land to create a hoped-for settlement (Tuleberg, now called Stockton). Weber, an acquaintance of Hopper, offered each in the group a square mile of land. “Myself, Capt. Hopper and five or six of our party were willing to accept the offer,” Alex recorded. His father had more promising things in mind. Eli had heard that the best land and climate were on the coast. With three or four other families, Hopper among them, he declined Weber’s offer and journeyed on, using makeshift means to ford the San Joaquin River. Here as elsewhere, Eli displayed pioneer strengths. His determination to push on to fresh opportunity and live on the edge of novelty would become a leitmotif in his life, as in California’s culture.

The diminished wagon train finally approached San Jose. There, its members fell in with Isaac Branham, an experienced hunter, who in Missouri had run a sawmill, gristmill, and distillery. Eli and Alex Moore agreed to erect a sawmill in Branham’s settlement of Lexington, in the mountainous area en route to the coast and the Santa Cruz Mission (today a ghost town under the Lexington Reservoir). The party headed into the hills and fixed up cabins, with the intention of wintering there. Despite primitive conditions, it was better than the constant sickening motion of the wagons. In particular, the pregnant and postpartum women needed rest.

The agreement with Branham proved short-lived. Appealing vistas continued to emerge, and the Moore men could not resist moving forward. This time it was Alex who stoked the appetite for risk, opportunity, and adventure. He struck out toward Santa Cruz and—with another pioneer, John Doak—dropped in on two older men well versed in the opportunities afforded by California: Isaac Graham and Joseph Ladd Majors. Graham, five years older than Eli Moore, was in one description a “swashbuckling soldier of fortune, trapper, hunter, rifleman, ranchero, lumberman and litigant.” In 1840 he had been involved in a coup that led to the Graham Affair, a diplomatic crisis involving the rival territorial ambitions of Mexico, the United States, and Great Britain. To the young Alex Moore, he was a glamorous figure. Majors, a mountain man from Tennessee, had come to California with Graham in 1834, via the Santa Fe Trail. Alex returned to his father “very impressed and reported favorably. I liked Santa Cruz better than any portion of California I had yet seen.” Eli was “well pleased with the prospect and climate.” Back in the Lexington settlement, the women in their party—including Hopper’s wife, pregnant with her eighth child—learned the group would head to Santa Cruz around the mountains, a roundabout journey “by way of San Jose and Gilroy, the only route then open for wagons.”

Santa Cruz, Entrepreneurship, and the Gold Rush

Santa Cruz Mission had been secularized in 1834. Secularization became a license for plunder and for exploiting the land, labor, and resources of the Native American population. As Mexican landholdings were traded, split, and acquired by “gringos,” the balance of power shifted to the new arrivals. As early as 1812, Russians had established a base at Fort Ross. In Santa Cruz, Jose Bolcoff (formerly Osip Volkov), a Siberian-born fur trader, assimilated himself into the local culture. By the mid-1830s, he was the administrator of the secularized Santa Cruz Mission. Bolcoff exchanged movable assets and land for liquor with the dwindling remnant of Native Americans, while they in turn raided settlements for horses and livestock, sometimes selling them back to American settlers.

American ways superseded the rancho system, as nimbleness in adaptation and a fearless entrepreneurial spirit were rewarded. The existing social order collapsed, and Eli and Alex Moore were among those well placed to exploit the situation. Arriving before the Gold Rush, they saw an opportunity to make a much better life, if not a fortune. To reach the West and survive, pioneers had to be practically minded, physically robust, innovative, and tenacious. They had to hunt for food, find water, repair broken wagons, lead oxen, and deliver babies. A century later, in an equally open-ended context, the physical and mental traits that kept Eli and Alex in good stead would nourish Gordon Moore, as he dove into the rough-and-tumble of opportunity on the electronic frontier.

On November 15, 1847, the Moore family was among the first Yankee settlers in Santa Cruz itself. They set up camp on the plaza by the mission church and soon moved into an adobe building owned by Bolcoff. Alex and Adaline Moore were content to winter there, planning to build their own cabin the following spring. Their main focus was the arrival of their firstborn son, two weeks before Christmas. They named him Eli Daniel, proud he was “the first male child born in this neighborhood of American parentage.”

Alex’s acquaintance with Joseph Ladd Majors paved the way for Eli to buy from Bolcoff part of Rancho El Refugio, the mission’s former grazing lands. Eli quickly completed the construction of a log cabin (on today’s Front Street) directly east of the adobe home occupied by Alex and Adaline. The first wooden building of any consequence in Santa Cruz, Eli’s redwood cabin was nevertheless primitive, with small windows and low rooms, including one occasionally rented to wayfarers.

Pioneering, risk taking, and entrepreneurial, Eli and Alex—and Eli’s younger sons William and Thomas—looked to enter any potentially profitable venture. They kept several business irons in the fire, as did their descendant Gordon many years later. Time would tell which was best. One strategy was to target the booming lumber market. Early in 1848, they formed a partnership with Doak and Bolcoff to build a sawmill. Bolcoff would own half and underwrite its cost; the others would contribute labor. But as Alex later recalled, “When we were busy getting ready to finish our mill, gold fever broke out, and the help all left us.” The fabled California Gold Rush had begun.

In January 1848, James Marshall found a gold nugget on the South Fork of the American River, at Sutter’s Mill. He tried to keep his find secret, but a San Francisco newspaper, the Californian, published the news. That summer another prospector, Benjamin Woods, discovered gold on a branch of the Tuolumne River. A few mining camps sprang up; lacking a railroad connection, however, California retained its isolation. Even so, within a year, tens of thousands of men were flocking in from Oregon, Hawaii, Latin America, and the East. At first, nuggets could be picked up. Later, prospectors panned endlessly in streams and riverbeds. In all, gold worth tens of billions of dollars was recovered. A few men became rich beyond their wildest dreams. Most did not.

The Gold Rush was a transformative event, sparking a massive surge in population together with the development of commerce and transportation and a boom in ranching and agriculture. These were “headlong, heedless, prodigal years,” notable for the spontaneous social organization that would propel California into statehood in record time. Within six years, San Francisco grew from a small settlement of two hundred people to a town of forty thousand residents. As Kevin Starr, California’s preeminent historian, puts it, “Not for California would there be—or would there ever be, as it turned out—a deliberate process of development. California would, rather, develop impetuously through booms of people and abrupt releases of energy.”


Sources: US Census Bureau; Andrew Rolle, California: A History (Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1987); James Rawls, Indians of California (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986).

The turbulence of the Gold Rush brought with it an era of mining innovations that helped establish California’s reputation in technology. Combining pragmatism, ingenuity, and urgency, the thousands of hopeful miners adapted old, even ancient means to the California landscape, pushing tools such as rockers and sluices to the limits of efficiency. These self-taught entrepreneurial seekers—a breed quite unlike the pedigreed mining engineers of Europe—made novel contributions, notably the breakthrough innovation of hydraulic mining. Many years later, the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley would enjoy similar booms and releases of energy driven by a company known for always being in a hurry: Gordon Moore’s Intel. “We were too darned busy,” Moore would say ruefully of his company’s feverish activity, pursuing the edge of novelty. “A lot could have been learned more efficiently.”

Without the labor to build their sawmill, Eli and Alex scrambled to improvise. Alex went prospecting himself, while Eli invested in the Eldorado Mining Company. Finally, they completed Bolcoff’s mill and began to supply timber to build Long (Central) Wharf in San Francisco and homes in Santa Cruz. As the local population skyrocketed, Alex won a contract to provide eighteen thousand feet of timber for a county jail. Eli became involved in a flour-mill venture on Santa Cruz Creek. The Moores also began to farm their land. Their eastern knowledge impressed the Californios; their grain cradle and a steel plow manufactured in Peoria, Illinois, became objects of wonder. Alex recalled how locals would come “day after day to see our plow, proclaiming in Spanish ‘very good.’”

The coastal land around Santa Cruz was rich with possibilities. Potatoes soon became the new gold. In the fall of 1852, an extraordinary harvest drove men from mines to farms. With spuds selling for high prices, cultivating potatoes became more rewarding than digging for gold. The rush was on again, and Eli headed north along the coast in search of more land. Coming to the Pescadero Creek, he marveled at finding wild oats growing higher than his horse. To him, this remote, unsettled place was not to be grazed, Native style; rather, its rich alluvial soil cried out for cultivation. It was a classic “Eureka” moment, akin to James Marshall’s discovery of gold. “Openly and without shame,” Eli and his fellow Americans “coveted what they saw. They felt California’s present possessors unworthy of their inheritance.” Eli soon purchased an eight-hundred-acre tract for the not inconsiderable sum of six thousand dollars. His great-granddaughter Louise Williamson, Gordon Moore’s aunt, would recall the family’s pride in how Eli sought to buy “as much land as he could survey” in the area’s first sale to a white settler.

Through Eli’s gifts and influence, his sons came to own land in and around the Pescadero area. Eli himself never lived in Pescadero. Instead, in Santa Cruz he was at the center of a growing web of relationships, his status as a father of the town foundational to his reputation and to the security of his family. Since immigrants could display few trusted credentials, preexisting ties—“blood and baptismal relationships”—played a crucial role in cementing business deals. Wagon-borne American families with children began to settle the area in significant numbers. More women appeared as “schools and churches outnumbered saloons and whorehouses,” and Santa Cruz evolved from frontier outpost to settled community.

Pescadero’s place on the map, including original Moore purchase, 1867.


The town owed much to Eli. He served as president of the new town council and became a county supervisor, engendering a tradition of civic engagement and respect for law and order that continued to characterize the Moore family eight decades later, in Gordon’s youth. Eli died in his midfifties, in June 1859. His widow, free to inherit his property in her own name by dint of California’s novel state constitution, lived on for another quarter century, outlasting four of her own children. Eli’s log-frame house remained in use under other owners. Later, his family donated the earlier adobe dwelling to form part of the site for the county’s first courthouse. Today, Moore Creek flows through the old ranch and through the Moore Creek Preserve.

Pescadero Pioneers

Alex and Adaline had settled with their firstborn son in Santa Cruz in 1847. A second son was born there in March 1849 and named Joseph Ladd Majors Moore, with an eye to their influential friend’s further favor. A third son, William, arrived in 1851. When Eli Moore promised Alex part of the acreage in the Pescadero Valley and urged him to move there, it was time to take another calculated risk. “In 1853 I came to Pescadero,” Alex recalled later, “and have lived here ever since.” The family had to pay further moneys to the state when a board of land commissioners finally assessed the validity of Mexican and Spanish land-grant claims, as California settled into statehood. Few grantees emerged with intact holdings. Still, Eli’s prescience and investment established the Moores’ claim.

The little town was close to, but not quite on, the rocky, windswept coast. Sentinel hills kept the stronger winds from the valley, if not the ubiquitous fogs; the climate was rationalized as a “happy mean between the heat that parches and the cold that chills,” with mean temperatures rarely deserting the midfifties Fahrenheit. The dense redwood forests, fresh-scented canyons, and abundant fishing creeks that characterized the coastal range of the Santa Cruz Mountains would provide later tourists with magnificent picnic and camping grounds. Already in the 1860s, a visitor saw the scene as “more lovely than any we had ever looked upon.” Such real estate puffery—an American and California trope—said nothing of the area’s utter remoteness.

If California was “splendidly isolated,” Pescadero was its outermost outpost, barred by the rocky coastline from booming San Francisco to the north and by forests and mountains from the Bay Area flatlands to the east. A special breed lived there, “hardened men, hearty farmers forced to travel miles over impossible roads to get their produce to market, and self-sufficient women willing to forgo ordinary conveniences and comforts.” Adaline, a midwife, traveled by horse along the trails to attend women in labor, sometimes accompanied by one of her children. “We had no roads and little communication with the rest of the world,” reported Alex Moore.

Until the transcontinental railroad opened in 1869, California remained remote; in 1857, from St. Louis, it took twenty-five days of continuous travel to reach San Francisco by Wells Fargo’s fastest stagecoach. Pescadero’s still further seclusion led to an intermarried community. The Moores prospered as no-nonsense settlers, attuned to the unsentimental realities of pioneer rural life. Alex and Adaline had their oxen drag lumber along the coast to build the valley’s first frame house, styled on homes in a New England village. This L-shaped, light-filled residence was substantial and attractive, “built for gracious living,” with eight bedrooms, a two-story veranda, and pierced porch columns that would be widely copied in the town. It made a statement of confidence in the future of Pescadero. Among the furniture Alex installed was the still-functioning weight clock brought west by his father. More than a century later, the house was derelict but upright on its solid foundation.

Adaline Moore, wife of Alexander Moore.

Alexander Moore, 1847.

Alexander Moore (left) in a hunting party.


The Moore home in Pescadero.


By 1860 Alex and Adaline had three more sons—George, John, and David—and a daughter, Ida Jane. A school was sorely needed, and Alex built one at the corner of his orchard. Four of the seven pupils were his children. In 1864 the couple celebrated the birth of their last child, Walter Henry, but tragedy soon followed: siblings George and John died in quick succession. Quietly grieving, their father, Alex, continued his community commitments, helping in the construction of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in 1868. He was also successful in a campaign to remove Pescadero from Santa Cruz County and join it to San Mateo County, with jurisdiction based in Redwood City, over the coastal range to the east. The transfer meant that the long horseback ride to Santa Cruz was replaced by a coach ride from Half Moon Bay to Redwood City, a less taxing if still tedious journey. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors appointed Alex as trustee for the Fifth Township, their freshly acquired precinct. He and his family were the undisputed leaders of small but prospering Pescadero, a community of three hundred souls in the fertile but secluded valley.


Settling Down

For all practical purposes, the pioneer days were over. The task now was not to search for opportunities over the hill, but rather to develop and pursue immediate commercial realities. One option was milling, which became big business as the population increased. The coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, provided a rich if onetime bounty of ideal material. Logging camps along Gazos Creek yielded timber to build the local towns, and San Francisco became “a product of Pescadero’s ancient redwoods.” Farming was also lucrative: the rich soil of the valley nourished dairy, potato, and grain products. In the 1870s, California was America’s leading wheat producer, and half the “ground fruit” (potatoes) consumed in San Francisco came from this part of the coast.

The children of Alex Moore began to make their way. By 1880 only four—William, Ida Jane, David, and sixteen-year-old Walter Henry—were living in the big frame house with their parents. By 1890 all were married and were characterized by the Register of San Mateo County as farmers. Eli Moore’s success, and the bounty of game, fish, woods, and soils in the Pescadero region, enabled his family to be fruitful and multiply. By the twentieth century, seventeen grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren constituted stable networks that framed the third and fourth generations, family members who surrounded Gordon Moore, the grandson of Walter Henry and great-grandson of Alex, in his early years. Eli’s perceptiveness, tenacity, and business sense had established the possibility for their secure life in Pescadero and surrounding San Mateo County.

As the decades progressed, the risk-taking spirit of the pioneer generation transmuted into the settled ways of an established, insular clan. The particular combination of fertile valleys, fecund waters, and redwood forests, coupled with Pescadero’s inaccessible remoteness, led to a consistent set of folkways. If each new and larger generation diluted available assets, basic security and family ties were a given. That fundament of rootedness would become a hallmark of Gordon Moore’s life, as would a rekindling of the pioneer drive displayed by Eli Moore. To these were added an unswerving, persistent attention to business deriving from Josiah Caldwell Williamson, Gordon’s maternal grandfather, who in the 1860s also traveled to Pescadero to make his fortune.

The sons of Alexander Moore. Gordon Moore’s grandfather Walter Henry Moore sits second from the left.


A Sea Passage to Pescadero


  • "I can remember when a transistor radio had one transistor in it--and now a giveaway bottle opener containing 8 billion of them is sitting on my desk. Gordon Moore and a small circle of accomplices, inseparable from the California landscape in which their story took form, were at the center of the most radical transformation in the history of technology. This is a definitive chronicle: authoritative, detailed, and well told."—George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral and Darwin Among the Machines
  • "Almost everyone knows Moore's Law. Almost no one knows the Moore behind this law. Finally a book describing the quiet, unassuming technology godfather of Silicon Valley. A great read about a great man whose work truly changed the world."—Craig R. Barrett, former CEO & chairman, Intel Corporation
  • "The book is stuffed with Moore's recollections of the crises Intel faced and how they were overcome, including early issues with processing, the occasional collapse of the memory market, the arrival of the Japanese as customers and competitor and their dedication to quality, the microprocessor wars--all these are well worth reading."—EE Journal
  • "Thackray, Brock and Jones make a compelling argument that Moore was the most important of the three [founders of Intel].... Moore helped build one of the modern economy's foundational companies and in the process established a template for the Silicon Valley start-up company. It's a remarkable legacy, and one worthy of close study for the lessons it has to teach."—The Deal Pipeline
  • "Moore's Law is an engaging biography and a definitive account of the man behind the famous prediction. The authors are Arnold Thackray, David C. Brock and Rachel Jones--a chemist, a historian and a journalist - whose varied expertise makes for an informed, thorough and readable chronicle.... Gordon Moore's forecast was spectacularly right. Yet, as this compelling biography proves, even if he had never hazarded it, he would remain a legend in Silicon Valley."—Wall Street Journal
  • "With care and color, Moore's Law tells us how Gordon Moore, at the center of the IT revolution, applied his knowledge and insight in a quiet and effective way. When Gordon talked, everyone listened."—George P. Shultz, former U. S. Secretary of State and Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • "A remarkable book about a remarkable man, told with great style and refreshing candor."—Carver Mead, the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science, Caltech and winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Arnold Thackray and his co-authors integrate business history with the history of science and technology with great success, rendering this biography of Silicon Valley's most important revolutionary a captivating and deeply illuminating read. Moore's Law is also a signal contribution to the study of California history, showing how the social and cultural circumstances of the Bay Area enabled Gordon Moore's creativity.—David A. Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor of History, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
  • "Gordon Moore's story is one of disruptive innovation on the grandest scale, practiced by a brilliant technologist. Now at last we have the book that tells the story. Moore's Law offers a compelling, absorbing account of Silicon Valley, and its role in human progress."—Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and author of The Innovator's Dilemma
  • "If you think you know Moore's Law, prepare to be enlightened. If you think you know Gordon Moore, prepare to be enthralled. And if all of this is new to you, prepare for the ride of your life. This is the definitive story of the central theorem of the digital age, the man behind it, and its ongoing impact on us all."—John Hollar, President & CEO, Computer History Museum
  • Arnold Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones transform Moore from a man 'doing something inscrutable in the margins' to a comprehensible, fiercely driven technophile who shaped history from the inside out."—Nature
  • "Thackray, Brock, and Jones run through Moore's multifaceted life with a refreshing lack of tech talk or science jargon, revealing a man who realized his dreams while maintaining a stable, affirming personal life."—Publishers Weekly
  • "[An] admiring, richly detailed book.... [T]echies will be delighted with its full treatment of an important figure often overshadowed by such luminaries as Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Finally, Gordon Moore gets the biography he deserves! One of the foremost pioneers of the digital revolution, he is a visionary, engineer, and revered leader. His 'law' defined and guided the growth of computing power, and his business acumen helped to create Silicon Valley. This is an inspiring and instructive tale of how brilliance and leadership can coexist with humility and decency in a truly extraordinary person."—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

On Sale
May 5, 2015
Page Count
560 pages
Basic Books

Arnold Thackray

About the Author

Arnold Thackray, active in the public life of scholarship, is a distinguished academic and the founding CEO of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

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