52 Weeks, 52 Books – Book 16

I can remember going to Canada’s Wonderland as a young teen in the mid-90’s and being excited to see “Virtual Reality” as an option for an up-charge attraction. I begged my parents to be able to go and try it, until eventually they allowed me to experience it myself. I left underwhelmed by the whole concept, and have never really been all that interested in VR since. I did get interested in Augmented Reality (AR), especially as it relates to emergency response and management, but while promising, none of those technologies have fully come to fruition yet.

I’ve been vaguely aware of Oculus over the years, and knew that their VR product was supposed to be better than before. I’ve never had reason (or funds) to invest in a headset that in my opinion would make me sick while delivering a sub-par product. That being said, it was an interesting tech story that I followed over the years as different stories popped up. When I discovered Blake J. Harris’ “The History of the Future” at my local library, I figured it was worth a shot.

About a year ago, I got excited about the movie Ready Player One, which led me to the book by Ernest Cline. That opened my eyes up to the idea that VR could be more than just a badly rendered, narrow pipe dream and might be something I might enjoy. “The History of the Future” showed me that this is closer than I had expected. It is also a fantastic look at the highs and lows of Silicon Valley startup culture.

From its humble beginnings in a trailer outside Palmer Luckey’s family home, to its sale to Facebook a couple years ago, this is an easy-reading history that Harris has assembled from emails, text messages, oral histories, and other documents through the history of the company. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who is interested in Tech, VR, or Silicon Valley in general!

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